Fisheries & Aquaculture News

New Exploratory Lobster Fishing Licenses on Quebec’s North Shore Announced

In the context of climate change and the resulting warming of the oceans, it is more important than ever for the Government of Canada to be agile and explore every new economic opportunity for the benefit of coastal communities. This is why Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is committed to evaluating the feasibility of increasing commercial lobster fishing on the North Shore and elsewhere in Quebec.

The Honorable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, announced the implementation of a data collection plan for Lobster Fishing Area (LFA) 18 on Quebec's North Shore.

For several years, harvesters have noticed a significant increase in lobster in LFA 18, which stretches from Tadoussac to Natashquan, Quebec. Despite this encouraging sign, available information on the state of the stock remains limited. Data collection is critical to better understand lobster stocks and determine if an increase in commercial fishing efforts is sustainable in the long term.

To inform accurate data collection on the sustainability of lobster in LFA 18, DFO has approved a total of 25 new exploratory fishing licenses for both First Nations and commercial license holders. Fisheries management measures for exploratory license holders are similar to those already in place for existing commercial harvesters working in the same LFA. Like commercial license holders, those fishing with exploratory licenses are permitted to use 250 traps in a precise sub-area of LFA 18 for an 11-week fishing season. These exploratory licenses could be renewed by DFO next year based on compliance with participation requirements, including data collection and the results obtained. These licenses could also be converted to commercial permits, subject to data that confirms the stock is sustainable.

With these new exploratory licenses, harvesters will be able to sell their landings to generate revenue for themselves and bring greater economic benefit to the local fishing industry and communities.

“The North Shore is an integral part of Quebec's blue economy, and the government firmly believes in its development. With today's announcement, we are generating concrete economic opportunities for rural regions, as well as advancing reconciliation, all while acquiring more data to better understand the local lobster stocks. As the first lobster boats set sail in the coming days, I wish everyone, from Tadoussac to Natashquan, a prosperous first season,” the Honorable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.

Quick Facts

  • Twenty-five new exploratory licenses have been issued for lobster fishing in Lobster Fishing Area 18 (LFA 18) in 2024.
  • LFA 18 extends from Tadoussac to Natashquan, Quebec, and is divided into several sub-areas.
  • As a general rule, new fisheries involve a feasibility stage, an exploratory stage, and a commercial stage. The objective of the exploratory stage is to determine whether a stock can sustain a commercially viable operation and to collect biological data.
  • Once a decision on licensees for a new fishery is made, license conditions for the new fishery are established, including fishing areas, gear restrictions, licensing period, and more.

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