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The Quebec Region Bulletin
Volume 9 – Number 2 – April - May 2006

Picture - Marc Demonceaux, Director general for Quebec Region
Mr. Marc Demonceaux

On March 6, the Quebec Region of Fisheries and Oceans Canada welcomed a new Director General: Marc Demonceaux, formely the Associate Regional Director General of DFO.

Mr. Demonceaux holds a Master’s degree in public administration from the École nationale d’administration publique. He began his career in the federal public service in 1978 when he joined the Canadian Coast Guard in the City of Québec. He worked for the Telecommunications Group until 1995, when he held the position of Superintendent, Marine Communications and Traffic Services.  From 1995 to 1997, he was the Director of Coordination and Special Projects for the Coast Guard, with particular responsibilities for operational and business planning.  In May 1998, after ten months as the Acting Director of the Operational Services Branch, he was appointed Director of Marine Programs, a position he held in the Regional Coast Guard Branch for more than six years.  Finally, in August 2004, he was named Acting Associate Regional Director General, Quebec Region.

For the past five years, Marc Demonceaux has been the federal co-chair of the St. Lawrence Action Plan's Sustainable Navigation Coordination Committee, which consists of public, industry, environmental and community stakeholders whose mission is to implement a sustainable navigation strategy for the St. Lawrence.

Mr. Demonceaux succeeds Jean-Guy Beaudoin, who has recently been appointed Special Advisor to the Deputy Minister and official in charge of reviewing Fisheries and Oceans Canada.



By Hubert Desgagnés

On December 13, 1990, the Quebec City Marine Rescue Centre received a call from Rivière-au-Renard. Fishers were concerned about the fate of the Le bout de ligne fishing vessel, which had not arrived from Cap-aux-Meules. Despite intensive search and rescue efforts co-ordinated by the Coast Guard and involving a number of vessels and aircraft, there was no sign of the vessel or its three crew members. Since that ship went down, other fishing vessels have disappeared in Canadian waters without a trace. Like the Le bout de ligne, they were equipped with VHF and cellular units, but did not have an emergency locator transmitter. All of the incidents occurred less than 20 miles from shore.

Emergency locator transmitters: an invaluable tool  


Mariners who equip their vessels with an emergency locator transmitter (ELT) have  a device that transmits a continuous signal (without manual operation) including the vessel’s identification code to a Cospas-Sarsat satellite on the 406 MHz frequency. The transmitter, which is activated manually or automatically in the event of trouble, operates around the clock and in all weather conditions, regardless of the vessel’s location, be it off the coast of Rimouski, in the Arctic or in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

The transmitter also sends a signal on another frequency to facilitate tracking by search and rescue vessels and aircraft and emits a flashing white light.

Unregistered transmitters cannot identify vessels in distress

Transmitters are not registered when they are first sold. Although those sold in Canada include a country code, the rest of the code, which corresponds to the vessel name, has to be added. Transmitters can be registered free of charge simply by contacting the National Search and Rescue Secretariat (see box below). In 2005, more than half of the 88 ELT alerts received were from unregistered transmitters, making it extremely difficult to identify the vessels in distress. Transmitters must be registered under the vessel name. When a distress signal is received by the Cospas-Sarsat system, the database retrieves the name of the vessel and the contact information of its owner.

Picture - Sinking ship

In the event of a change in the transmitter’s status (e.g. the transmitter is sold, the vessel acquired already has a transmitter, or the transmitter is damaged or lost), the National Search and Rescue Secretariat must be notified so that the database can be updated.

Class A and B transmitters (121.5 MHz) will be obsolete in 2009

The international Cospas-Sarsat secretariat has announced that, effective February 1, 2009, satellites will no longer pick up signals from first-generation of transmitters that operate solely on 121.5 MHz, owing to the limited reliability of that frequency. Only one in 50 alerts involves a real distress situation. 

Current transmitters (406 MHz) cost approximately $1,000 (between $800 and $1,200). The next generation of ELTs is expected to cost less, as manufacturing specifications will be less exacting. Some new transmitters also feature a GPS processor, which instantly reveals the vessel’s position. However, as the previous model, identified as class A or B transmitters (121.5 MHz only) remains available at a discounted price and will be obsolete by 2009, mariners must be sure to equip their vessels with category I or II transmitters (406 MHz).

Canadian Beacon Registry System National Search and Rescue Secretariat


The International Satellite System for Search and Rescue

The Cospas-Sarsat International Satellite System for Search and Rescue was developed in the early 1980s through collaboration among the United States, Canada the USSR and France. Satellites launched by the United States and the  USSR were fitted with equipment for relaying signals from emergency locator transmitters using the 121.5 MHz frequency. In 1984, the system began to be used to save human lives, as it rapidly alerted search and rescue officials as to the locations of vessels in distress.

Soon afterwards, however, the 121.5 MHz frequency was deemed to be rather weak. New transmitters operating on a dedicated frequency (406 MHz) were developed. The signals transmitted were now digital, much more powerful (5 watts) and able to transmit an identification code that made each transmitter unique and enabled search and rescue officials to identify units in distress (vessel, aircraft or person).

Between 1982 and 2004, 406 MHz transmitters played a key role in saving the lives of more than 18,000 people around the world in some 5,300 incidents.

For a few years now, geo-stationary communications and navigation satellites have also been fitted with Cospas-Sarsat components. Whereas earlier, it took about two hours for the signals from emergency locator transmitters to be received, they are now picked up almost instantaneously.



Scientists at Fisheries and Oceans Canada regularly review the status of Canadian fish stocks. Here are the summaries of reports that have recently been published by DFO.

Stock status reports are available on the Canadian Stock Assessment Secretariat Web site at the following address:

Cod in the Northern Gulf of St. Lawrence (3Pn, 4RS)

• The 2005 TAC was established at 5,000 tons. Preliminary catches in January totalled 4,334 tons.

• The four 2005 abundance indices dropped slightly or remained stable. Fixed gear catch rates are nevertheless among the series' highest (1995-2005).

• Yields as well as the geographical range observed by the commercial and sentinel fisheries suggest to fishermen that abundance and biomass are much more significant than what was estimated by the recent assessment.

• According to an analytical model, spawning stock abundance and biomass are still low. The spawning stock biomass reached a high of 378,000 tons in 1983 and dropped to 9,000 tons in 1994. During the first moratorium, this stock's biomass increased to 29,000 tons in 1998. Since the reopening of the fishery in 1997, spawning stock biomass has fluctuated between 25,000 tons and 38,000 tons, without any evident sign of recovery.

• Estimated abundance dropped by 6% between 2005 and 2006. However, spawning stock biomass increased by 12% between 2005 and 2006 to reach 42,000 tons.

• Tagging experiments conducted in 2004 and 2005 helped evaluate annual exploitation rates (harvested proportion). Most of the estimates were above 12%, which is slightly higher than idependent results from the sequential population analysis.

• Results of a study using counting fences indicate that 61% of cod over 55 cm in length tagged with transmitters migrated from 3Pn, 4R to the western portion of 3Ps in winter. However, there are few catches in winter in 3Ps other than those from the Halibut Channel.

• Spawning stock biomass estimates are below the conservation limit for this stock. Recruitment contribution towards stock productivity is also concerning.

• According to the risk analysis, it is expected that without the fishery, the spawning stock biomass should increase by 7% at the end of 2006. With a 5,000 tons fishery, this biomass is expected to drop by 5%. A 3,000 tons fishery in 2006 would produce no increase in spawning stock biomass.

• In order to promote the increase of the stock's biomass, it is recommended that captures remain at a very low level.

Cod in the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence (4T)

• In 2005-2006, the TAC was 4,000 t. As of December 31, 2005, 2,815 t had been landed.

• Current abundance indices indicate that stock status has not changed markedly over recent years. The 2005 points in the research vessel and both sentinel surveys are the lowest in the series.

• Abundance is low and spawning stock biomass is estimated to be at the lowest observed level since 1950. The current estimate of spawning stock biomass is about 55,000 t at the beginning of 2006, similar to 2005 biomass.

• Spawning stock biomass is estimated to be well below the limit refernce point for this stock (80,000 t). Below the limit reference point, a stock is considered to have suffered serious harm because the probability of poor recruitment is high.

• Year-classes in the 1990s are estimated to be below average. Some recent year-classes (1998-2000) are estimated to be amongst the lowest on record.

• The 2001 and 2002 year-classes are estimated to be larger than the ones produced in the preceding several years but the firs estimate of the 2003 year-class is very low.

• Natural mortality remains high (about 0.4). Fishing mortality in 2005 was 0.07.

• If landings in 2006 are similar to those in 2005 then there is about a 67% probability of some decline in spawning stock biomass. At that level of catch, the estimated decline in spawning stock biomass would be about 1%.

• At the current high natural mortality rates and low growth rates, rebuilding of spawning stock biomass will require improved recruitment and low catches.

• Given the current stock status, the application of the precautionary approach would require that removals in 2006 be set at the lowest possible level.

Lobster of the Gaspé Peninsula (LFAs 19, 20, and 21)

Picture - Lobster of the Gaspé Peninsula

• In 2005, landings and CPUEs in the Gaspé Peninsula dropped in most of the sampled sub-areas. Weather factores can partially explain these drops, but in some areas, they can also be the result of a decrease in recruitment.

• The average sizes and weights have stabilized since the end of the increase in minimum legal size, up to 82 mm in 2004. The size is now 7% lager and the weight 25% higher than before 1997, when the minimum legal size was 76 mm.

• Marked differences were observed between the size structures of males and females due, among other things,to a decrease in female growth when they reach their sexual maturity and to the fact that females that spawn enter the fishery a year later than males.

• The 2004 exploitation rates calculated for males in the commercial portion were above 80% in the Gaspé Peninsula. A lower fishing mortality level is desirable.

• The abundance of berried females is significantly higher than it was before the increase of the minimum legal size; during the same period, the egg pordution index doubled. The number of multiparoius females also increased, but their proportion compared to primiparouis females did not change significantly between 1996 and 2005.

• In order to decrease exploitation rates, measures to reduce fishing effort by 15% have been proposed to the industry for most of the fishing sub-areas of the Gaspé Peninsula. This would therefore make it possible to reduce the fishery's dependence on annual recruitment, to increase the levels of egg production per recruit, to increase the proportion of multiparous females in the population, and to ensure their reproductive success by keeping balanced sex ratios.

• In the specific case of LFA 21B, it is recommended to limit the annual fishing effort so that it does not exceed the historical levels for this area, by taking into account the greater effectiveness of the traps used during the fall fishery when calculating the total effort.

Greenland Halibut in the Gulf of St. Lawrence (4RST)

• Greenland Halibut landings from divisions 4RST in 2005 remained mostly the same as in 2004, reaching 3,967 tons.

• After standardizing, catch rates by traditional gillnetters using 6-inch mesh nets increased from 2001 to 2003, and then dropped by 13% in 2004 and 4% in 2005. However, the model used for standardizing the catch rates only explains 20% of the data's total variability.

• Catches were mostly made up of females in a proportion exceeding 85%. The average size of the fish caught, which had been dropping between 1997 and 2002, increased until 2004 and remained more or less the same in 2005, reaching approximately 47 cm. The number of Greenland halibut captured per ton is comparable from 2004 to 2005.

• Biomass indices obtained from data collected on board the CCGS Alfred Needler show an upward trend until 2005. However, there is a significant drop in catch rates (kg/tow) from 2003 to 2005 (no data for 2004). The lenght frequency shows a significant presence of the 2004 year class (17 cm).

• Biomass estimates from the July sentinel fishery survey have shown an increase since 1995.

• The size at which 50% of males reach maturity has dropped from 40 cm to 34 cm and females from 50 cm to 46 cm since 1996.

• Survey data suggests that recruitment to the fishery in 2006 should be similar to recent years.

• Considering the stability of abundance indicators, the status quo is recommended for the 2006 TAC.

Shrimp in the Estuary and Gulf of St.Lawrence

• The landings went from 36,000 t in 2004 to 31,000 t in 2005. This decrease is due to a reduction in fishing effort related to a deterioration of the market conditions.

• The catch per unit of effort (CPUE) was higher in 2005 than the 1990-1999 mean in the four areas while the fishing effort was similar or lower than the mean. The CPUE was higher in 2005 than in 2003 in Esquiman and Anticosti and was similar in the two other areas.

• The biomass index of the 2005 research survey conducted on the CCGS Alfred Needler was higher than the mean in the four areas. It was similar to the 2003 index in Anticosti and lower in the three other areas.

• In 2005, the abundance index of prerecruits was in general higher than the mean but in diminution relatively to 2003. The catch rate of female recruits was higher than in 2003 at a level above the mean. The mean size of females has been stable since 2003 at a level below the mean.

• The expoitation rate index in 2005 was lower than the mean in all areas. It was higher than the 2003 index.

• The spawning stock abundance and fishery catch rate in the four areas should be higher than the mean in 2006. However, the spawning stock abundance should be lower than the 2003 value in all areas except for Esquiman while the catch rate should be similar or lower. The size of females in 2006 should stay below the mean.

• In 2006, catches equal to the 2005 TAC should generate an increase in the exploitation rate near the historic mean. Consequently, the status quo is recommended in all areas for the 2006 TACs.



By Michel Plamondon

Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Quebec Region has released the names of people who have received fines for violations of the Fisheries Act.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada continues to strictly enforce its zero tolerance policy on violations of the Fisheries Act. The Department has a mandate to protect and conserve fishery resources and is ever vigilant in its efforts to prevent poaching of marine resources. Fisheries and Oceans Canada also encourages the public to report poaching incidents by calling 1-800-463-9057. All calls are confidential.




Sentencing Date



Welsh, Thomas


Possession of undersize lobster and an egg-bearing female.

December 7


Jean-Paul Décoste

Chevarie, Jérome


Possession of undersize lobster.

December 7


Jean-Paul Décoste

Bourgeois, Daniel


Fishing for lobster without a licence, possession of undersize lobster and an egg-bearing female, fishing for Atlantic halibut during a close time.

December 7


Jean-Paul Décoste

Vigneau, Rodrigue


Seal hunting without a licence.

December 7


Jean-Paul Décoste

Richard, Damien


Fishing for lobster without a licence and fishing in a lagoon.

February 1


Embert Whittom

Richard, René


Fishing for lobster without a licence and fishing in a lagoon.

February 1


Embert Whittom

Chevrier, Richard


Fishing for lobster without a licence, possession of undersize lobster and an egg-bearing female, fishing for Atlantic halibut during a close time.

February 1


Embert Whittom

Cornelissen, Alexander (Netherlands); Southern, Megan (US); Fritz, Georges (US); Hammarstedt, Peter (Sweden); Casanave, Andre (US); Schwartz, Matthew (US); Vlasak, Jerry (US); Shalom, Lisa (Pierrefonds); Dakin, Laura (Bermuda); Goyette, Ryan (US); Biroc, Colin (US)

Being within a half nautical mile of a sealer on the ice.

January 17

$1,000 Each

Nancy Orr



Possession of an egg-bearing female lobster.

October 27


Jean-Paul Décoste

Collin, Robert


Landing snow crab without getting it weighed by a dockside monitor.

Allowing the use of one’s boat for unauthorized fishing.

December 12





Embert Whittom

Nicolas, Gilbert


Possession of undersize lobster.

January 31


Julie Dionne

Pelletier, Camille

New Carlisle

Fishing for rock crab without a licence.

January 31


Luc Machildon

Pelletier, Roger

New Carlisle

Fishing for rock crab without a licence.

January 31


Luc Machildon

Delarosbil, Fernand


Fishing for rock crab without a licence.

January 31


Luc Machildon

Roberge, Ghislain


Softshell clam harvesting in a closed area.   January 31

Suspended sentence and 6 months’ probation, ordered to keep the peace and be of good behaviour. Prohibited from being in a closed area.

Luc Machildon

Marcoux, Jean-Marc


Failure to hail out before a fishing trip.

January 3


Luc Machildon

Castiloux, Bruno


Fishing for lobster without a licence.  February 13 $2,500

Possession of egg-bearing females and undersize lobster.

100 hours of community service and 3 years’ probation. Prohibited from going on wharfs at Chandler and Newport, or coming within 200 metres of the wharf infrastructure.

Embert Whittom

Sim, Gérald


Baie des Sables


Softshell clam harvesting in a closed area.                                                   September 13         $500

Prohibited from going onto the flats between Trois-Pistoles and Baie des Sables for a period of 36 months. Forfeiture of seized goods.

Jean-Paul Décoste

Gaudreault, Carol



Fishing without a licence.    September 22      $3,000 

Forfeiture of the proceeds of the fish sold. Forfeiture  of the vessel.

Raoul Poirier

Lévesque, Patrick



Possession of illegally caught fish.


  September 22

$500 and $500 in costs

Raoul Poirier

Les Équipements Verreault inc.

Les Méchins

Habitat alteration, disruption or destruction.

January 9


Marc Gagnon

Hébert, Jean-Marc




Breach of licence conditions.

Exceeding the turbot quota.

January 16




Julie Dionne

Daraiche, Bertrand


Possession of undersize lobster.

September 12


Jean-Paul Braun

Quinn, Katy


Fishing for lobster without a licence. 

December 20


Louise Gallant

Roberge, Charles


Fishing for lobster without a licence.

December 20


Louise Gallant

Diognard, Mario


Possession of crabs with their carapace (shell) removed and exceeding the temporary crab allocation.

November 21


Michel Parent 

Knight, Claude


Landing Atlantic halibut without having it weighed and possession of halibut under 81 cm.

November 21


Michel Parent 

Crabiers du Nord


Conspiring with two Sept-Iles fishers to possess Stimpson’s surf clams and exceed their quota. Failure to provide statistical data to Fisheries and Oceans Canada (keeping parallel accounts).

December 22


Michel Dionne

Chamberland, Elphège


Breach of licence conditions.

Fishing for Atlantic halibut during a close time.

December 8


Serge Francoeur

Ross, Rosaire



Breach of whelk licence conditions.

  • Extra traps
  • Fishing in a closed area
  • Invalid tags

      December 20

$1,200 and costs of $100. Forfeiture of goods seized, i.e., $600.80 of whelk

Michel Parent

Gendreau,  Michel

Rivière Portneuf

Harvesting softshell clams in a closed area.

December 20


Michel Parent

Émond, Stéphane

Rivière Portneuf

Breach of conditions of whelk licence.

  • Untagged traps (20)
  • Unmarked fishing gear (buoy)
  • 20 extra traps

December 20


Confiscation of 20 whelk traps.

Michel Parent



Shellfish harvesting is prohibited in closed areas pursuant to orders made under the Management of Contaminated fisheries Regulations.

In addition, shellfish harvesting is prohibited within 200 metres of a wharf.

Eating contaminated shellfish is dangerous and may lead to paralysis and even death. Fish dealers are being asked to co-operate with the Department by checking the source of the shellfish they purchase.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada continues to stricly enforce its zero tolerance policy on violations of the Fisheries Act. The Department, whose mandate is to protect and conserve fishery resources, is ever vigilant in its efforts to prevent shellfish harvesting in closed areas and to protect public health.

The Canadian Shellish Sanitation Program Web site provides information on the status of shellfish beds (open and closed areas) and makes inter-active maps available.

For the latest information on shellfish harvesting please call one of the following numbers:


From Île-aux-Coudres to Baie-Trinité: 1-800-463-8558

From Baie-Trinité to Blanc-Sablon: 1-800-463-1736


From Saint-Rock-des-Aulnaies to Cap Gaspé: 1-800-463-0607

From Cap Gaspé to the Matapédia River: 1-800-463-4204

MAGDALEN ISLANDS: 418-986-3882



By Martin St-Gelais

Picture - Scallop

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) recently announced a pilot project for scallop management that is to be carried out for one year in the Minganie region, in Subareas 16E, 16F and 18A. It also announced the management measures that will be applied during the 2006 fishing season.

Presently, the scallop fishery in Areas 16E, 16F and 18A is managed through a Total Allowable Catch (TAC). The TAC needs to be adjusted each year in keeping with variations in the biomass available to the fishery. The approach proposed under the pilot project involves managing the fishery by controlling the fishing effort; this will be done by applying a quota of days at sea. Fishing effort will be held constant, that is, it will not change from one year to the next; however, scallop landings may fluctuate. The objectives of the pilot project are to help reduce fishing enterprises’ operating costs while continuing to protect the resource.

The following management measures will be used:

•   The current boundaries of the fishing areas will be maintained;

•   The present number of licences for each fishing area will be maintained;

•   The fishing season will run from April 17 to November 30;

•   Fishermen can have access to authorized subareas by requesting that a condition be added to their licence (one area at a time);

•   No global quota for subareas 16E, 16F and 18A;

•   Days-at-sea quota for each fisher and each authorized subarea;

•   Specified number of hours of fishing per day;

•   Hails are mandatory before setting out and before returning from fishing trip;

•   10% at-sea observer coverage;

•   Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) is mandatory for Areas 16E, 16F and 18A;

•   Logbook use is mandatory;

•   Total width of baskets is limited to 24 feet.


For more information on this pilot project, please contact Martin St-Gelais at 418-962-6315.



By Julie Lavallée

In 2005, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) gathered information on the operating costs and earnings of some 2,000 enterprises as part of a national survey of the operating results of Canadian fishing enterprises. The data are currently being processed, and the findings should be available in summer 2006. By fall 2006, DFO, Quebec Region will release the detailed results for Quebec fleets that took part in the survey. All Quebec fishermen who participated in the survey will receive a copy of the results for their respective fleets. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the fishermen who took part in the national survey.



By Richard Lessard

In March, the Government of Canada took part in the fifth symposium of the Regroupement des mariculteurs du Québec, which was held in Gaspé.

This major conference included a dozen presentations given by researchers from Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Maurice Lamontagne Institute, who discussed some of the scientific aspects of mariculture. An exhibition accompanying the conference also gave participants the opportunity to learn more about the federal government’s involvement in mariculture, i.e. scientific research, resource conservation, water quality, navigable waters protection and business guidance.

Mariculture is a growing socio-economic activity in coastal Quebec communities. The Government of Canada plays a key role in promoting the expansion of the Canadian aquaculture industry. It supports the development of sustainable sea farming operations that respect the environment and human health, and that promote the acquisition of new knowledge and the harmonious co-existence of various users of the marine environment.



Fisheries and Oceans Canada has announced that the Northern bottlenose whale (Scotian Shelf) and the channel darter will be added to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. Four species will not be listed under SARA, including three populations of Atlantic cod (Newfoundland & Labrador, Laurentian North and Maritimes). Comprehensive recovery plans for cod will be completed and DFO will continue to pursue strong conservation measures with the provinces, fishers and key stakeholders.



April - May 2006
Volume 9
Number 2

Published by:
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Quebec Region
Communications Branch
104, Dalhousie St.
Quebec (Québec)  G1K 7Y7
Telephone: 418-648-7747

Acting Director:
Marcel-M. Boudreau

Viviane Haeberlé

Visual Coordinator:
Denis Chamard