Notices to Fish Harvesters
Snow Crab - 12A
Conservation Harvesting Plan 2017
Approved, March 17, 2017
This harvesting plan applies to the Snow crab licence holder’s fleet of the area 12A, under individual transferable quotas (ITQ) system.
2. Fishing Area
The area 12A is defined as the snow crab section in area 12 marked off by straight lines connecting the following points in the listed order:
3. Fishing Season
Forecasts of air temperatures below 0 ºC for the first week of fishing and / or ice cover may delay the opening. The opening date will be confirmed by a Notice to Fishers at least 72 hours before the start of the fishery following a confirmation by industry representatives and an agreement on the opening date.
Also, it should be reminded that during the period where fishing is authorized, it is the responsibility of the captain to acquaint the marine safety notices, among others by Environment Canada and Transport Canada, as well as the standards and the best practices in marine safety, and to take all measures to insure a safe fishery.
Following the industry recommendation, the 2017 total allowance of captures (TAC) is of 98,6 tons, which is a 7% decrease from 2016. This corresponds to a 3% decrease of harvest level from 2016 and to a harvest level identified by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) that could result in a high exploitation level and lead to a decrease in the biomass available to the fishery for 2018.
5. Management Regime
Individual transferable quotas (ITQ) program.
The terms of ITQ management are contained in the Administrative Guidelines of the ITQ Program (2012-2017) which will be renewed for the 2017 season.
6. Fishing Gears
Fishers are allowed to use 75 standard traps.
Additional traps may be allocated following the approval of temporary or permanent transfers, as provided in the Administratives Guidelines.
A standard trap (maximum 2.1 m3) may be replaced by two conical base traps having a maximum circular diameter of 1.22 m.
All traps used for fishing must be provided with a biodegradable escape mechanism.
All traps used for fishing must wear a single annual tag valid with a unique identification number.
Fishers must obtain their tags from suppliers approved by DFO whose list is available at the following address: http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/sdc-cps/nir-nei/tags-supplier-region-eng.htm.
Fishers will receive replacement tags, corresponding to 10% of the number of traps authorized, upon initial order. Other replacement tags may be available upon request.
7. Gear soak time:
It is the responsibility of fishers to up their gear at least every 72 hours.
8. Hail prior to Departure
The hail prior departure must be placed before 19:00 the day before each fishing trip.
9. At-sea Observers
The At-sea observers coverage is 10% of fishing trips made by the fleet, spread over the whole area and the fishing period.
10. Dockside Monitoring
Before the beginning of a fishing trip, fishers must have an agreement with a dockside monitoring company legally designated by DFO whose list is available at the following address: http://www.qc.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/peches-fisheries/surveillance/programme-program-eng.html.
An hail-in call is required before the arrival at port.
Dockside monitoring is mandatory for 100% of landings.
Offloading must take place in one of the designated ports identified in the document entitled Designated dockside monitoring ports, available on the Department website at the following address: http://www.qc.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/peches-fisheries/surveillance/port-eng.html.
11. Combined Form
Fishers must acquire their booklet of Combined Forms from a prequalified supplier, identified by DFO, whose list is available at the following address: http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/sdc-cps/nir-nei/log-suppliers-eng.htm.
The Logbook section must be completed before arrival at port and the completed form must be sent to DFO after each fishing trip.
12. Vessel monitoring system (VMS)
Fishers must use a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) active and approved by DFO. Data transmission every 15 minutes is required.
Discarding of white crab and adolescent crab
The discarding of white crab and teenager crab (small claws) is allowed. These must be returned to the water, to the place of their capture, and if they are still alive, in a manner that caused it the least harm.
13. White crab Monitoring Protocol
Closure of the fishery upon reaching a percentage of 20% of soft-shell crab in catches at sea for a period of 14 consecutive days.
Fishers may use a boat with a length less than 15.24 m. No vessel rental will be allowed with commercial license holders living outside the Gaspe Peninsula area.
15. Partnership (Buddy-up)
A temporary buddy-up of two licence holders is authorized, provided both license holders are on board the boat used during all fishing operations. The maximum number of traps authorized will be equal to the sum of the number of traps initially authorized to each of the two licence holders under the Harvesting Plan and the Administrative Guidelines in force. A temporary buddy-up may be renewed annually, and both fishers may not avail themselves of this opportunity for more than five years (consecutive or not).
16. Quota reconciliation
In compliance with the Notice to Fishers issued on March 17, 2011, DFO is applying the quota reconciliation for snow crab in Area 12A since the 2011 season. Thus, any individual quota overrun incurred by a licence holder in a season will be deducted, of his individual quota for the following season by a one-to-one ratio. It is the responsibility of fishers to follow their quotas to ensure that catches taken in the course of their fishing operations comply with the quotas allocated to them. The fishers will be notified of the reconciliation of their individual quota by means of an information note attached to their Conditions of licence.
17. Other Management Measures
During a same fishing trip or different fishing trips, the holder of valid Greenland halibut, Atlantic halibut or Cod licence conditions who also holds valid snow crab licence conditions can conduct both fisheries simultaneously if Greenland halibut, Atlantic halibut or Cod fishery is conducted in subareas 4S1, 4S4, 4T3a ou 4T4.
18. Species At Risk Act
Pursuant to the Species at Risk Act (SARA), no person shall kill, harm, harass, capture, take, possess, collect, buy, sell or trade an individual or any part or derivate of a wildlife species designated as extirpated, endangered or threatened.
At the time this Conservation Harvesting Plan is promulgated, the Gulf of St.-Lawrence and the Atlantic species targeted by these measures are the following ones: Spotted wolffish, Northern wolffish, Leatherback Turtle and Striped Bass (St. Lawrence Estuary population). New species could be added in the course of the year.
All by-catch of species identified above must be returned to the water and released in the exact capture location and, if the fish is still alive, in a manner that causes it the least harm. In addition, information regarding interactions with species at risk, including species mentioned above as well as the North Atlantic Right Whale, the Blue Whale (Atlantic population) and the Beluga Whale (St. Lawrence Estuary population) must be recorded in the Species at risk section of the logbook.
19. Conditions of licence
To obtain their Conditions of licence, fishers must access the National Online Licensing System. For National Online Licensing System assistance, please contact customer support by phone at 1-877-535-7307 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gaspe – Lower St. Lawrence Area
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
For additional information
Please visit our website at the following address: http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/sdc-cps/index-fra.htm.
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