Notices to Fish Harvesters

Snow Crab - 12B

Warning! This document is an archive. It is not in application and is made available to you for consultation purpose only. If you wish to see the active documents, please consult the Publications to Fish Harvesters

Conservation Harvesting Plan 2017


Approved, March 17, 2017


1. Application

This harvesting plan applies to the Snow crab licence holder’s fleet of the area 12B, under individual transferable quotas (ITQ) system.

2. Fishing Area

The area 12B is defined as the snow crab section in area 12 marked off by straight lines connecting the following points in the listed order:


49°51'50'' N

64°31'26'' O


49°40'20'' N

64°54'50'' O


49°00'00'' N

63°00'00'' O


48°30'00'' N

60°00'00'' O


49°05'00'' N

60°00'00'' O


49°05'00'' N

61°42'00'' O

3. Fishing Season

The usual fishing season of 12 weeks will be extended by 10 days in 2017 to give more flexibility.

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.

4. Quotas

Following the industry recommendation, the 2017 total allowance of captures (TAC) is of 175 tons, which is a 44 % decrease from 2016. This corresponds to a 9% decrease of harvest level form 2016 and to a harvest level identified by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) which is expected to generate a high exploitation level that could lead to a decrease in the biomass available in 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 150 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 trap 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 multi-year tag (white) valid with a unique identification number.

Fishers must obtain their tags from suppliers approved by DFO whose list is available at the following address:

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.

Gear soaking:

It is the responsibility of fishers to haul up their gear at least every 72 hours.

7. Hail prior to Departure

The hail prior departure must be placed at least 12 hours before departure.

8. At-sea Observers

The At-sea observers coverage is 15% of fishing trips made by the fleet, spread over the whole area and the fishing period.

9. 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:

An hail-in call is required 30 minutes before the expected time of 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:

10. 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:

The Logbook section must be completed before arrival at port and the completed form must be sent to DFO after each fishing trip.

11. Vessel Monitoring System

Fishers must use a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) active and approved by DFO. Data transmission every 15 minutes is required.

12. 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.

14. Vessel

Fishers may use a boat with a length less than 19.81 m.

A fisherman wishing to rent a boat must first inform the other fishers of the fishing fleet. No vessel rental will be allowed with commercial fishing 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 150% of the number of traps authorized under the Management plan and the Administrative Guidelines in force. A temporary buddy-up may be renewed annually, and both Participants 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 12B 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

Simultaneous fishing:

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, 4S3, 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


Approved by:

France Simard

Area Director

Gaspe – Lower St. Lawrence Area

Fisheries and Oceans Canada


For additional information

Please visit our website at the following address:


Date modified: