May 17, 2021
2021 SENTINEL GROUNDFISH SURVEY PROTOCOL AND REQUIREMENTS
As per DFO Contract
2.2. TASKS, ACTIVITIES, DELIVERABLES AND MILESTONES
· A maximum of four (4) longline gear vessels will be used along the North shore of the Prince Edward Island Coast. There will be 2 fishing locations per vessel, 1 inshore site and 1 offshore site, making up 1 unit.
· Each vessel will fish at their two sites or unit, which will remain constant over the fishing season. Each vessel will fish its gear a minimum of once per month from late June to late October. Maximum sampling frequency will be determined after contract award based on price of winning bid.
· The inshore and offshore pair making up a fishing unit are required to be fished within 24-36 hours of each other.
· The location of sites will be determined by the Contractor and Contracting officer after contract award to ensure proper spatial coverage.
· After hauling the gear at each fishing site, the fishing vessel crew and the observer will record all information pertaining to the catch. The crew of the fishing vessel MUST assist the observer in conducting the sampling. Fishing operations may have to be slowed down for that purpose. For each site and each time the gear is fished, information on the set location and the complete catch will be recorded. Length frequency measurements (250 fish or the entire catch if less than 250 fish are caught) will be taken for cod using a standard protocol for length distributions.
· Otoliths will be collected by the observer for cod (1 pair of otoliths per cm length increment) according to the scientific protocols. Detailed protocols will be provided. All data will be recorded on standard observer program data sheets; all fields must be completed.
· All Atlantic Halibut must be returned to the water immediately, and where it is alive, in a manner that causes it the least harm
· Water temperature will be monitored using probes supplied by DFO. The probes will be initialized by DFO and one will be assigned to each vessel. Each probe is attached to a longline at a point where it will sit near the bottom of the water column.
2.2. SPECIFICATIONS AND STANDARDS
The following specifications and standards must be met and maintained throughout the contract period:
· A minimum of 1,250 hooks (size 12 circle - 1 fathom apart) and a maximum of 2,500 hooks will be used (divided equally between the two sites). These can be bottom longlines or “floated” longlines (1-3 feet off bottom).
· Prior to the awarding of the contract, the successful Contractor (fishing association or organization) will notify DFO of the vessels involved in the project including the name of the vessel, CFV and the name of the captain and proof of insurance.
· The same vessels MUST be used for the entire project. NO substitution of vessels will be allowed unless the contractor receives written approval from the Scientific Authority for the project or representative.
· Observers MUST be on the vessels whenever the gear is fished (fish are on-board the vessels). Observers will NOT be required during the setting of the gear providing that NO fish are being brought aboard.
· Participating fishermen MUST be holders of a valid groundfish license and MUST have experience in the groundfish fishery.
· A special fishing license will be issued in the name of each fishing Captain hired through the Contractor for the specified vessel.
· Each vessel may be required to activate a VMS and to install a DFO-provided on-board camera for monitoring purpose.
· In accordance with section 2.2 Tasks, Activities, Deliverables and Milestones the contractor MUST ensure:
o that after the haul back at each site, the fishing vessel crew and the observers record all information pertaining to the catch.
o the crew of the fishing vessel assist the observers in sorting the fish and invertebrate species and in conducting the sampling.
o that water temperature is monitored using probes supplied by the DFO and attached to the trawl during fishing operation.
2.3. SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS FOR NORTH ATLANTIC RIGHT WHALES (NARW)
Due to the unprecedented high number of incidents with the NARW in the sGSL in 2017, DFO has
decided to implement new measures aimed to protect the NARW, including a static closure and
temporary management area closures. It is important to ensure that the Sentinel Survey program activities are consistent with the management measures. Therefore, a risk averse approach is necessary, and the following measures will be in effect:
1) Contracts will now include provisions for applying the dynamic management protocol for closures
in the areas subjected to the temporary closures to the entire southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. Each participant will receive a high resolution map with its survey stations and the identification number of each grid subject to the temporary closure protocol. Fixed gear fisheries (which include fixed-gear Sentinel Survey sites) in the Gulf of St. Lawrence will be closed in a designated area for 15 days when at least one NARW is detected. More specifically, DFO will close a total of nine grids to create a buffer area around the sighting location to account for whale movements. For 2021, a right whale will need to be visually or acoustically detected again in the closed area during days 9-15 of the closure before an extension is triggered. In the Gulf of St. Lawrence (including around Anticosti Island, the Cabot Strait, as well as the Straight of Belle-Isle), if a whale is detected again in a closed area during days 9-15, a season-long closure will be implemented; the area will remain closed until November 15, 2021. If a whale is not detected again in a closed area during days 9-15, the area will re-open to fishing after day 15. If a Sentinel Survey site (including its buffer zone of 2.5 nautical miles around the fishing site) is located, or a part it, within an area closed for NARW, that location will be closed. Reopening of closed sites will be decided according to the same protocol used for commercial fisheries. Closures and reopening will be communicated by the biologist responsible for the Sentinel Survey program to the industry association impacted, and the captain of the vessel.
2) Any fishing activity (trip) must be pre-approved by the Project Authority to ensure that this
activity does not conflict with the temporary closure protocol.
3) Any fishing activities canceled due to temporary or seasonal closures will not be postponed and will not be payable under this contract.
4) The soak time of longlines shall be a minimum of 4 hours and shall not exceed 8 hours.
5) Gear marking to identify the region and the fishery is required for all fixed gear fisheries in Atlantic Canada and Quebec. The mandatory colour scheme for non-tended fixed gear fisheries under scientific licenses will provided to contractors one the contract is awarded.
6) Any lost gear will have to be reported immediately to the authorities.
3.4. Location of Work, Work site and Delivery Point
The number and location of sites will be determined after contract award, however, they will consist of 4 units (1 inshore and 1 offshore site per unit) in predetermined inshore and offshore areas (Figure 1). Green grids indicate DFO inshore areas and orange grids indicate DFO offshore areas. Separation of zones is approximate. The location of sites will be determined by the Contractor and the Contracting officer after contract award to ensure proper spatial coverage.