Fisheries and Oceans Canada

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Issue Date


The Minister has announced a continuation of the closure of Atlantic mackerel commercial and bait fishing in Atlantic Canada and Quebec for the 2023 season to allow the stock to rebuild.

The results of the 2023 Canadian stock assessment found that Atlantic mackerel declined further in the critical zone since the last assessment, with spawning stock biomass at its lowest-observed value. The stock rebuilding potential is currently limited by a collapsed age structure due to overfishing, low recruitment, and high predation pressure.

Please be advised that the recreational and food, social and ceremonial fisheries will remain open. The exemption for the Bluefin tuna fleet to fish for live Atlantic mackerel bait will continue and alternative bait trials will begin this summer. The Department will monitor these fisheries to ensure that removals do not undermine the goal of rebuilding Atlantic mackerel.

Given the current closure in place, fish harvesters holding licences are not required to renew their licences as long as the fishery remains closed. The Department has no intention to cancel any mackerel licence as a result of the continued mackerel fishery closure. Mackerel licence eligibility will continue to be connected to the current licence holders and tracked in the Department’s licensing systems.

The Department is optimistic that the Atlantic mackerel stock can rebuild, and we are committed to supporting the future re-opening of the Atlantic mackerel commercial and bait fisheries.

For information, contact:

Erin Dunne
Resource Manager - Pelagic Fisheries
Tel.(709) 772-3600