The PEI Fishermen’s Association is seeking a maximum of 17 participants to assist in the 2023 4RST Halibut Longline Science Survey.  Participants will be assisting in the collection of data on the abundance, distribution and biology of Atlantic halibut in the Gulf of St. Lawrence through a scientific longline survey and tagging program.  PEI Independent Core fishers in possession of a valid groundfish license may apply to assist in one of the 17 specific stations proposed to be completed between August 15 and October 15, 2023. 

 The PEIFA will be accepting registrations for interested Captains followed by a draw.  Please see registration details below.

Each fisher will indicate the site (s) they are interested in surveying (see map below). You can put your name in for multiple sites but only if you are serious about travelling to the sampling site should you be chosen.  All names will be drawn for each sampling site, and the winners will be contacted. IF you are drawn first for more than 1 sampling site you can chose which site you would prefer and the next person on the list will get the second sampling site. The first 5 names drawn out at each site will be posted online. The winner at each site will receive a call within 24-48 hours of the draw and a decision must be made at that time if they wish to participate. If the fisher choses to opt out the sampling site goes to the next person on the list. A fee of $600 will be required from each participant selected in the draw and chooses to participate.

This project is funded through use of fish and each station comes with an allotment of 600 kg (1322 pounds), of Atlantic Halibut (pending approval from DFO).  The fisher is permitted to go to a location of their choice after the scientific sampling is complete to catch their 1322 lbs allotment. An approved observer is required for all scientific trips. Any trip to catch the remainder of the allotment will require regular commercial observer coverage (10%). 

Registration Dates/Times:    8:30AM Wednesday, July 26th, 2023 to 4:30PM Wednesday, August 2nd, 2023.

Location:                                Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue, Charlottetown

Registration Fee:                   No fee for registration of the draw. 

Observer coverage:              100% on scientific stations, 10% on remaining trips

How to Register:                   Preferred method of registration is ONLINE at www.peifa.org. Other methods of registration are: in person, by phone or arrangements can also be made with the buyers/coops with proper authorization.

Online registration opens Wednesday, July 26th, 2023 and closes Wednesday, August 2nd, 2023.

Required Information:         Captain’s name, phone #, FIN #, Groundfish license #, vessel name, VRN# and preferred site (s) are required. Vessels must be transferred into the participants names and vessel registration fees must be paid before DFO can issue a licence.

Draw Date:                            August 3rd, 2023 after the completion of the Registration. 


 Sampling Protocol/Fisher Requirements:

Each fisher selected is required to complete one scientific station according to the protocol.

1.)   Fishing:

a.     500 circular hooks size # 14/0 (15.4 mm);

b.     Longline is set starting 0.5 nautical miles from the station and continuing in a straight line passing through the station coordinates.

c.     Fishing must be carried out during the day (4:30am – 9:30pm)

d.     Immersion time (soak time) will be between 4-6 hours (ALTERNATE OPTION: Set 1000 hooks, 500 of which are immersed for 4-6 hours and 500 hooks are immersed for 2 hours)

e.     Condition of each hook will be noted on the catch sheet (hook with bait, hook without bait or capture)

f.      When a Halibut, cod or redfish comes on board the observer records length at the fork (to the nearest centimeter) of all captured fish and then they are returned to the water.

g.     All capture halibut in good condition at the sampling station must be tagged and returned to the water

h.     When retained the sex of the fish must be recorded (male, female, immature, unknown)

i.      Note in comments any predation as well as any other important information

j.      Survey stations need to be completed between August 5th and October 15th, 2021.  When the station duties are completed, there may be additional time granted to obtain the allocated amount of halibut (up to 1058 pounds).  After completion of station duties, the Captain may fish for the remainder of the allocated halibut in areas outside the station in locations of the Captain’s choosing. 

2.)   Other responsibilities

a.     The Captain will be responsible to cover much of the cost of station completion. The Captain will pay the advance fee of $600.00 to the PEIFA which assists in covering the cost of observer coverage, admin and tagging/project costs. This advanced fee will need to be paid within 3 days of Captain selection. 

b.     The Captain is expected to cover the costs of the following (but not limited to); crew, vessel, fuel, bait, dockside monitoring fees, etc.  Captain will supply the longlines and hooks as per protocol. 

c.     The Captain is required to assist the observer in data collection and halibut tagging when possible.

d.     The Captain agrees that he shall maintain third party liability insurance on his vessel (in the amount of $2,000,000.00 per occurrence on his vessel).

e.     The Captain will be required to sign a contract with the PEIFA agreeing to the DFO protocol, advanced fee and insurance requirements.


*Disclaimer: Certain fishing gear requirements (length of gangions and distance between gangions) and will be decided at a later time and shared via this protocol when decisions are made by DFO. Site 125 and 123 are also still waiting confirmation from DFO. As per previous years site 125 will need to be fished on a Sunday after September 15th because it overlaps with the LFA 25 fishery.


If you still have questions please contact Melanie Giffin at the PEIFA Office: (902) 330-4466.