Government of Canada doubles experimental fishery for Unit 1 Redfish in preparation for future commercial fishery

News release

June 21, 2023

Ottawa, Ontario - The Government of Canada is committed to safeguarding our fish stocks so they are sustainable for future generations. Canada’s commercial Redfish fishery in the Gulf of St. Lawrence has been closed since 1995 to help redfish stocks rebuild to healthy levels. Since that time, Redfish stocks have rebounded significantly, and the Government of Canada is positioned to re-open the Unit 1 Redfish commercial fishery in Atlantic Canada and Quebec in the near future.

Today, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Joyce Murray, announced that in preparation for a pending commercial fishery, the 2023 experimental fishery for Unit 1 Redfish will be increased from 2500t to 5000t. The experimental fishery, which has been in place since 2018, provides important data on Redfish stocks and gives participating harvesters the opportunity to test sustainable fishing gear that protect the stock, such as gear that minimizes capture of undersized fish.

This year, Fisheries and Oceans Canada received unprecedented interest in the Unit 1 Redfish experimental fishery. Twenty-four individuals and groups from Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador have been approved to participate, five of which are Indigenous groups.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is committed to ensuring a fair and sustainable commercial fishery for Unit 1 Redfish. The Department will work closely with stakeholders, through the Redfish Advisory Committee (RAC), to finalize the next steps in operationalizing the commercial fishery. 


“The rebound of Redfish stocks is a true success story, and shows how conservation efforts are critical to maintaining fisheries. I’m looking forward to working with stakeholders in Atlantic Canada and Quebec to promote a prosperous and sustainable commercial fishery.”

The Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Quick facts

  • There are two species of Redfish in Atlantic Canada: Sebastes mentella and Sebastes fasciatus.

  • Due to strong survival rates in 2011, 2012, and 2013, the biomass in Unit 1 has grown substantially to reach an average volume of 2.8 million tonnes for S. mentella and 420,000 tonnes for S. fasciatus.

  • The 2023-24 Unit 1 Redfish management plan includes a 5,000t experimental fishery (up from 2500t in 2022-23) and a 2,000t index fishery, which has occurred each year since 1999.

  • No decision has been made yet on the allocations for a reopened commercial redfish fishery.

  • The application process was open from May 1 to May 14, 2023. All applicants will receive experimental quota.

Associated links


Matthew Dillon
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

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