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Quebec Bulletin
April - May 2013/Volume 16/Number 2

Individual Transferable Quota Program in the Lower North Shore Region

Kegaska fishing harbour
Kegaska fishing harbour

Since the fall of 2011, the Association des pêcheurs de la Basse-Côte-Nord and Pêcheurs polyvalents Old Fort–Blanc Sablon have worked closely with Fisheries and Oceans Canada to implement an individual transferable quota program for the Greenland halibut fishery in the Lower North Shore region.

The creation of a working group consisting of industry and Department representatives has made it possible to develop and implement this project initiated by the two associations.

Fishing operations in the Lower North Shore region, where several species are fished during a short period, posed a yearly challenge. Apart from snow crab, the other fisheries were managed in a competitive manner. It was increasingly difficult to agree on the seasons and durations for the various fisheries, taking into account the particularities related to migration or to the availability of processing services. This situation resulted in tension among the various groups.

The program's priorities are to:
  • provide individual transferable quota holders with more flexibility to organize their fishing seasons;
  • provide them with a certain degree of economic stability;
  • improve safety at sea;
  • add value to businesses;
  • enable individual quota reconciliation in the event of annual overruns.

Using the most inclusive reference period possible (1985–2010), the application of different criteria ensures that 86 fishers in the program are grouped into 22 individual transferable quota levels ranging from 1000 to 30 000 pounds, depending on their individual history.

The program includes administrative rules that govern, among other things, partnership agreements, vessel rental, and temporary and permanent transfers.

In June 2012, the program was accepted by a vast majority following public consultations in various localities in the Lower North Shore region and by a vote of the 86 fishers concerned. Therefore, as of the 2012 season, several businesses were able to fish other species present, such as cod, snow crab or herring, based on arrangements made with processing plants. These businesses then had the opportunity to fish their individual Greenland halibut transferable quota because of the flexibility that this type of management gives them.

This new measure should enable fishers to manage their fishing activities more easily, thereby contributing to the economic prosperity of coastal communities.

Martin St-Gelais
North Shore Area

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