Notices to Fish Harvesters

Snow Crab - 12F

Conservation Harvesting Plan 2017-04-13

Approved April 13, 2017

1.     Application

This Conservation Harvesting Plan (CHP) applies to traditional fish harvesters holding a snow crab license for Area 12F from Quebec and the Gulf Regions.

2.     Fishing Area

In part of Crab fishing area 12 (12F) delimited by the straight lines joining the following points in the order listed:

47º 50' 00''  N            61º 08' 27''  W

47º 26' 45''  N            61º 00' 00''  W

47º 30' 00''  N            60º 43' 20''  W

47º 32' 12''  N            60º 42' 15''  W

47º 18' 30''  N            60º 18' 00''  W

47º 21' 30''  N            60º 16' 00''  W

47º 44' 30''  N            60º 25' 15''  W

48º 02' 30''  N            61º 07' 00''  W

47º 58' 30''  N            61º 07' 30''  W

47º 50' 00''  N            61º 08' 27''  W


Permanent fishing closures

The fishery remains prohibited in a buffer zone that separates Areas 12F and 19.

3.     Fishing Season

An opening committee of industry and DFO is in place.  The opening date will be confirmed by a Notice to Fish Harvesters before the start of the fishery and a Variation Order following a confirmation by industry representatives and an agreement on the opening date.

It should be reminded that it is the responsibility of the captain to acquaint himself with the marine safety notices published by Environment Canada and Transports Canada as well as with the standards and best practices in marine safety and to take all measures necessary to insure a safe fishery during the period where fishing is authorized.

4.     Quotas

A sharing arrangement of the TAC is in place between the traditional fleet and to the eligible fish harvesters from the Quebec Region new access fleet and to multi-species organizations from the Gulf Region representing independent Core fish harvesters. According to this sharing arrangement, the excess of a threshold of 544 t, is shared on a ratio of 60%-40% to the traditional fleet and the temporary allocations respectively. Also, the traditional shares, 68.75% for Quebec Region and 31.25% for Gulf Region, are applied to the temporary allocations.

Total allowable catch (TAC) for 2017 has been set at 680.24 tons. The traditional fleet has access to 625.74 tons (which gives 430.20 tons for the Québec Region and 195.54 tons for the Gulf Region) while 54.50 tons are allotted to temporary allocations holders (which gives 37.47 tons for the Québec Region and 17.03 tons for the Gulf Region) .

5.     Management Regime

Individual transferable quotas (ITQ) program: The terms of ITQ management are contained in the Administrative Guidelines of the ITQ Program.

Temporary transfers of ITQ:


DFO authorizes quota temporary transfers of up to 50% of regular licence holders subject to the owner-operator policy within one fishing season. 

6.     Fishing Gears

Number of authorized traps: Maximum 75 standard traps.  Additional traps may be allocated following the approval of permanent transfers, as provided in the administrative guidelines.

The maximum number of traps authorized for temporary allocations is as follows:

Less than or equal to 11.34 t (25 000 pounds) : 35 traps

Between 11.34 t and 18.14 t (25-40 000 pounds) :        50 traps

Between 18.14 and 31.75 t (40-70 000 pounds) :          65 traps

Above or equal to 31.75 t (70 000 pounds) :                   75 traps


Trap mesh size: maximum 75 mm.

Trap tagging: One valid tag per trap is required. Tags from previous years must be removed. The color for original tags must be pink, while the color for replacement tags must be orange. Fishermen must obtain their tags from suppliers approved by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) whose list is available at the following address:

All traps must be equipped with a biodegradable release mechanism.

7.     Hail prior to Departure

The hail prior departure must be placed at least 12 hours prior to departure for a fishing trip.

8.     At-sea Observers

The at-sea observers’ coverage is funded by the industry and a minimum of 15% of the fishing expeditions is necessary.  

9.     Dockside Monitoring

A hail-in call is required before the arrival at port. Dockside monitoring is mandatory for 100% of landings.

10.  Combined Form (Logbook)

Fishermen 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 (VMS)

All fishermen must possess a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) active and approved by DFO. The data transmission frequency is established at 15 minutes.

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 from which they were taken and where it is alive, in a manner that causes them the least harm.

13.  Soft-shell crab Monitoring Protocol

A protocol for soft shell crab by sector is in place.

14.  Vessel

Fishermen may use a boat with a maximum length less than 19.81 m (65 feet).

15.  Quota reconciliation

DFO has been applying the quota reconciliation for snow crab in Area 12F since the 2011 season.  Thus, any individual quota overrun incurred by a license holder in a season will be deducted from his individual quota for the following season on a one-to-one ratio.  Fish harvesters are responsible for monitoring their quotas to ensure that catches from their fishing activities fall within their allocations.  

16.  Other Management Measures


Partnership agreements (buddy up) are authorized: Two area 12F regular license holders (traditional fleet) may use a same vessel, with 100% of the traps of one licence holder and 50% of the traps of the other licence holder.

An Area 12F license holder from Quebec may, upon request and subject to various conditions, use the vessel of an Area 12 license holder from Quebec to fish in Area 12F.

17.  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 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 bycatches of species identified above must be returned to the water and released in the exact capture location and, if the fish is still alive, with as little harm as possible.  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.

18.  Conditions of license

To obtain their conditions of license, fishermen 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:

Denis Gros-Louis

Director, Resource Management, Aquaculture and Aboriginal Affairs

Fisheries and Oceans Canada


For additional information

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