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Mackerel personal-use bait fishery reopening in Atlantic Canada, Quebec

By Jacob Moore Apr 25, 2024 | 10:12 AM

The mackerel fishery is partially opening up again in Atlantic Canada and Quebec.

Starting this spring, fishers will be able to catch up to 470 tonnes of mackerel for personal-use bait.

But any fish caught under a license can’t be sold or traded, according to a news release from the Department of Fisheries.

“This Atlantic mackerel bait fishery will help licence holders supply their other fisheries with bait without jeopardizing the ongoing rebuilding of this stock,” the release says.

The department will release the fishery in two parts to allow fishers from different regions the chance to catch the fish as they migrate, according to a news release.

However, commercial mackerel fishing will remain closed through 2024.

The recreational limit of 20 mackerel, put in place in 2021, will continue this year. The Department of Fisheries says First Nation communities can also still fish for mackerel for food, social and ceremonial purposes.

The Department of Fisheries will also maintain a 20 tonne bluefin tuna bait exemption and a 20 tonne scientific sampling allocation for 2024.

The government originally closed the mackerel fishery in 2022 to help the population “rebuild,” the release says.

The department says it has a plan to help the mackerel population grow, but it will be released later on its website.