Notices to Fish Harvesters

Snow Crab - 13

Conservation Harvesting Plan 2017-08-17






Approved May 3 2017


Modified August 17 2017

1         Application  

This Conservation Harvesting Plan (CHP) for snow crab applies to the Area 13 snow crab licence holders from Quebec and Newfoundland & Labrador Regions.


2         Fishing area  

Subject to any Variation Order and based on valid Conditions of licence, the authorized fishing area is the Snow crab Area 13 situated in the northeastern part of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, as stipulated in the Atlantic Fishery Regulations, 1985.


3         Fishing season  

Opening and closure dates (subject to change):



Duration of the season: In all cases, the duration of the season is of 14 weeks.


Industry and Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) representatives will form a committee responsible for confirming the dates for the beginning of the fishing activities. Forecasts of air temperatures below 0 ºC for the first week of fishing or ice conditions may delay the opening.


The dates of the fishing activities will be confirmed by a Variation Order and a Notice to Fish Harvesters following an agreement by the committee.


Also, it should be reminded that during the period where fishing is authorized, it is the responsibility of the captain to acquaint himself with the marine safety notices published among others by Environment and Climate Change 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.


Due to the exceptional circumstances out of the control of the industry or the DFO that prevailed during the season, and following a request by the industry, the 2017 fishing season is extended for snow crab licence holder of area 13 from Quebec Region. The fishery will remain open until August 31st, 2017 at midnight (EDT) for them.


To obtain their Licence conditions taking into account the extension of the fishing season, licence holders must log on to the National Online Licensing System (NOLS) and place a request. Licence conditions will be available through the NOLS at the latest 48 hours before the date formerly planned for the closure.


4         Quotas  

Area 13 is fished by fish harvesters from Quebec holding 87.755% of the quota and by fish harvesters from Newfoundland & Labrador holding 12.245% of the quota.


The 2017 Total allowable catch (TAC) has been set to 406 tons, which is an increase of 20% compared to 2016 and is consistent with DFO’s Science advice. The Quebec license holders therefore have access to 356.285 tons while 49.715 tons are allocated to eligible fish harvesters from Newfoundland & Labrador.


5         Management Regime  

Individual transferable quota (ITQ) for the fish harvesters from Quebec. The terms of ITQ management are contained in the Administrative Guidelines of the ITQ Program.


Individual quotas (IQ) for the fish harvesters from Newfoundland & Labrador.


6         Fishing gears  

Number of authorized traps: The maximum number of traps is 75 standard traps or 150 Japanese traps.


All crab traps must be equipped with a biodegradable release mechanism as described in licence conditions.


All traps used for fishing must wear a single permanent (white) valid tag with a unique identification number.


Fishermen must obtain their tags from suppliers approved by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) whose list is available at the following address:


Fishermen will receive replacement tags, corresponding to 5% of the number of traps authorized, upon initial order. Other replacement tags may be available upon request. Please note that as of 2018, the use of annual tags will be mandatory.


Please note that starting in 2018 annual tags will be compulsory.


7         Hail Prior To Departure  

The hail prior to departure is mandatory. It must be performed at the latest at 19:00 the night prior the fishing expedition.


8         At-sea Observer  

Industry-funded at-sea observer coverage at a minimum of 2.5% applies to this group.


Before the beginning of a fishing trip, the licence holder must have entered into an agreement with a company designated by DFO with regard to at-sea observer coverage.


9         Dockside monitoring  

The Dockside Monitoring Program (DMP) applies to 100% of the landings.


Before the beginning of a fishing trip, the licence holder must have entered into an agreement with a dockside monitoring company legally designated by Fisheries and Oceans Canada for the hail in and the landing of fish.


10      Combined form / Logbook / Purchase Slip 

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)  

Starting in 2017, the use of a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) approved by DFO is mandatory. Each licence holder must register his DFO-approved VMS unit prior to the beginning of fishing activities. Data transmission every 15 minutes is required.


The current list of DFO-approved VMS units and the procedure and form to register a VMS unit are available at the following address:


12      Discarding of white crab and adolescent crab  

The discarding of white crab and adolescent 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      White crab Monitoring Protocol  

Closure of a sector or the area upon reaching a rate of 20% white crab in catch at sea.


14      Vessel  

Fish harvesters may use a vessel with a maximum length less than 19.81 m.


15      Quota reconciliation  

Quota reconciliation is applied in this fishery. 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. Fish harvesters of the Quebec region will be informed whether or not reconciliation has be applied to their individual quotas through an information note attached to their conditions of license.


16      Partnership agreements and temporary transfers  

The buddy-up system will be authorized amongst licence holders for no more than 2 fish harvesters per agreement. Fish harvesters involved in a partnership agreement are authorised to use the double number of traps individually authorized. Landings will be accounted for according to the pro rata of the individual quotas of the two fish harvesters involved in a partnership agreement.


For the 2017 season, Quebec zone 13 licence holders will be authorized to temporarily transfer up to 25% of their individual quota between themselves, as stipulated in administrative guidelines. It is important to remember that licence holders must be on board the boat to capture their quota or the part of it which has not been transferred.


To take advantage of a partnership agreement or a temporary transfer, licence holders must place their request via the National online licencing system.


17      Other management measures 

Following the recent right whales deaths in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence, additional measures must be taken to protect this endangered species. Fisheries and Oceans Canada – Quebec Region informs permit holders that an additional clause has been added to their conditions of licence, prohibiting the setting of fishing gear where right whales have recently been observed. Furthermore, set fishing gear must be retrieved when right whales are observed in the same zone.


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 Management 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, Striped Bass (St. Lawrence Estuary population) and Great White Shark (Atlantic 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, 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      Licence conditions  

To obtain their Licence conditions, licence holders must log on to the National Online Licensing System (NOLS) and place a request. Quebec licence holders request must indicate which season option (1 or 2) has been chosen. Licence conditions according to the request will be available through the NOLS following payment of the licence and at the latest 48 hours before the opening of the fishery.


For NOLS 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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