2017 Recreational Groundfish Fishery Season (Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec’s Lower North Shore) and Next Steps for Atlantic Canada

News Release

Holyrood, Newfoundland and Labrador – Ken McDonald, Member of Parliament for Avalon (Newfoundland and Labrador), on behalf of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, today announced the recreational groundfish (cod) fishing season for Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec’s Lower North Shore, along with the management measures for this fishery. In 2016, the fishing season was extended by 14 days to allow a total of 46 fishing days. These measures will remain in place for the 2017 season.

On behalf of the Minister, Mr. McDonald also announced the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ (DFO) decision not to implement a licence and tags regime for this fishery in 2017. DFO, Newfoundland and Labrador Region consulted widely on this matter, holding community meetings in November 2016, and heard strong opposition to the potential introduction of a tags system for the annual recreational groundfish fishery. The Department listened to the public’s views, and has taken all feedback into account in making this year’s management decision.

Recreational fisheries constitute a strong economic development sector for Canada. DFO will therefore continue to assess options to strengthen the management of all marine recreational fisheries across Eastern Canada, with the goal of improving economic return and the reliability of catch estimates, and making science assessments of the stocks more robust.

As part of this process, DFO will engage with Canadians in the Atlantic Provinces and Quebec in the coming months on the possibility of introducing a marine recreational fishing licence regime, without the use of tags, for 2018. 

Photo legend:  Ken McDonald, Member of Parliament for Avalon (Newfoundland and Labrador), on behalf of Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard today announced the 2017 recreational groundfish fishery.


“I have heard you loud and clear – there is very little public appetite for the use of tags, and we will therefore not be implementing that regime. We will, however, keep working toward establishing a management approach that meets our conservation objectives while also ensuring fair access to recreational fishing opportunities for Canadians. I look forward to the same quality of engagement and feedback in upcoming consultations.”

The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, P.C., Q.C., M.P., Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“This management decision recognizes the feedback heard from Newfoundland and Labrador last fall. Our goal is to strengthen the management of the recreational groundfish fishery and to improve our science and reporting abilities. Hearing the views of Canadians across Atlantic Canada and Quebec will help us achieve this.”

Ken McDonald, Member of Parliament for Avalon (Newfoundland and Labrador)

Quick Facts

  • The fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec’s Lower North Shore will open from July 15 to August 6, September 23 to October 1, as well as all weekends throughout July and August, including the Canada Day and Labour Day long weekends. This provides a total of 46 days of fishing.

  • All previous management measures remain in place. Harvesters must keep what they catch and are not authorized to discard groundfish, with the exception of Atlantic halibut and species at risk (i.e. northern and spotted wolfish). These species must be released in a manner that maximizes the survivability of the fish.

  • For 2017, tour boat operators will be eligible to apply for a licence to seek an increased trip limit. This licence will have harvest reporting requirements to inform DFO Science of the amount of removals.

  • In November 2016, DFO held a series of regional consultations, eight public meetings (St. John’s, Clarenville, Gander, Corner Brook, Mary’s Harbour, Plum Point, Carbonear and Marystown), a consultation with Indigenous communities, as well as an online consultation process from    November 1-30, seeking public input on the proposed tags regime for the recreational groundfish fishery

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Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Laura Gareau
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister
Fisheries and Oceans Canada


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