Redfish Unit 1 Fishery


The commercial Redfish fishery in the Gulf of St. Lawrence (Unit 1) has been closed since 1995 to help redfish stocks rebuild to healthy levels. Before 1995, a commercial fishery existed since 1953, harvested by different fleets, gear classes and vessel classes from all regions in Atlantic Canada and Quebec.

Many changes in the fishery took place during that time, including to the allocation. In 1994 the total allowable catch (TAC) was reduced by 50 per cent to 30,000 tonnes (t), from the highest TAC of 60,000 t in 1993. This was due to a reduction in biomass of redfish. Since the 1995 closure, Redfish stocks have rebounded significantly.

There are two redfish species in this area - Deepwater redfish (Sebastes mentella) and Acadian redfish (Sebastes fasciatus). An annual 2,000 t index fishery has been in place since 1999. The index fishery allowed for the continued collection of fishing and biological data.

Since 2018, an experimental fishery has been in place to collect important fishery data, such as capture of undersize fish, species identification, and bycatch, and to test fishing gear and fishing methods to inform management measures for a reopened commercial fishery. In 2023, the experimental fishery quota for Unit 1 Redfish was increased from 2500 t to 5000 t.

2024 Redfish Unit 1 Access and Allocation

Since 2021, the Department has consulted with industry stakeholders, Indigenous communities and organizations, provincial partners, and other stakeholders through the Redfish Advisory Committee (RAC) on access and allocation for a re-opened commercial Redfish fishery in Unit 1.

2024 Redfish Unit 1 Access and Allocation
Fleet Allocation (in percentages)
Offshore mobile gear (MG) fleet sector (vessels >100') 58.69
Inshore MG fleet sector (vessels <65') 14.84
Midshore MG fleet sector (vessels 65-100') 5.72
Inshore fixed gear (bycatch) 0.75
Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence (ESGL) Shrimp Harvesters 10.00
Quota dedicated to Indigenous communities 10.00

Page details

Date modified: