Notices to Fish Harvesters

Snow Crab - 12B

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Notice to harvesters (Interactions with North Atlantic Right Whales)

SNOW CRAB – AREA 12a, 12b, 12c, 13, 14, 15, 16 et 17

2018 SEason

 

SUBJECT: Announcement of new management measures to minimize the risk of interactions with North Atlantic right whales

 

Quebec– March 15, 2018 

Fisheries and Oceans Canada – Quebec Region announces the new management measures that will come into effect in 2018 in snow crab fishing areas 12A, 12B, 12C, 13, 14, 15, 16A, 16 et 17. 

The increase in North Atlantic Right Whale (NARW) sightings in the Gulf of St. Lawrence is due to a change in the distribution of this species’ population in recent years. In order to minimize the risk of interactions with this species that is listed as endangered under the Species at Risk Act, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is announcing the introduction of significant changes regarding fishing gear configuration in the snow crab fishery in areas 12A, 12B, 12C, 13, 14, 15, 16A, 16 and 17, starting in 2018.

 

Amount of Rope Floating on the Surface of the Water 

The following requirements will be in place to minimize the length of rope floating on the surface of the water in order to reduce the risk of NARW entanglements:

-           A maximum of 6.4 metres (3.5 fathoms) of rope shall be used when attaching a secondary buoy to a primary buoy.

-           No rope attaching a crab trap to a primary buoy shall remain floating on the surface of the water after the crab trap has been set. 

Note: A primary buoy is defined as a buoy or other floating device attached to a fishing gear. A secondary buoy is defined as a buoy or other floating device attached to a primary buoy.

 

Gear Marking

Licence holders will be required to mark the rope used to attach a crab trap to a primary buoy with a colour specific to the fishing area in which they are authorized to fish. This measure will be implemented on a voluntary basis in 2018 for snow crab fishing areas 12A, 12B, 12C, 13, 14, 15, 16A, 16 and 17. However, during the 2019 fishing season, fishing gear marking will be mandatory. This new requirement will help officials to better identify the sectors where a NARW may have become entangled. The following coloured markings will be required for each crab fishing area:

  • 12A (green);
  • 12B (blue-orange);
  • 12C, 13, 14, 15, 16A (green-orange);
  • 16 (red); and
  • 17 (black).

The rope used to attach a crab trap to a primary buoy shall have coloured markings specific to the fishing area (as described above) that are 15 cm in length. 

Starting from the primary buoy, the coloured marking shall be permanently affixed every 27.4 meters (15 fathoms) along the rope attaching a crab trap to a primary buoy. 

The markings shall be made by using coloured twine or coloured tape:

-           When using coloured twine, it shall be interlaced within the rope in such a manner that it remains permanently affixed to the rope.

-           When using coloured tape, it shall be affixed to the rope in such a manner that it permanently remains. 

The shade of the colour used for the markings shall contrast with the colour of the rope used to attach a crab trap to a primary buoy.

 

Additional Identification of Buoys

In addition to the current regulatory requirement to mark buoys with the vessel registration number (VRN), licence holders will be required to identify each primary buoy with a sequential number in order to be able to individually identify each crab trap. 

This additional requirement will help identify and retrieve lost gear and could also help identify the sector where a NARW may have become entangled. 

The sequential number shall be solid block Arabic numerals:

-           Without ornamentation;

-           Written in a smaller or bigger font size than the VRN so as to be capable of differentiating the number from the VRN; and

-           In a colour that contrasts with the buoy’s colour.

 

Requirement to Report Lost Gear

Starting in 2018, licence holders will be required to report lost gear to Fisheries and Oceans Canada. This new management measure will allow the amount of gear lost annually to be quantified, and help identify the need to increase efforts to retrieve gear that has been lost, which would reduce the risk of whale entanglements. 

The information specified below must be reported by email to DFO at MPO.QUE-Engins-perdus-Lost-Gear-QUE.DFO@dfo-mpo.gc.ca within a 24-hour period following the end of the fishing trip during which the loss of the fishing gear was noted, or within a 24-hour period following an arrival at port if the fishing trip is not yet finished : 

a) the name of the licence holder / fishing vessel operator;

b) vessel registration number;

c) target species;

d) number and type(s) of gear lost;

e) sequential tag number attached to each lost fishing gear;

f) identification number indicated on the primary buoy attached to each lost fishing gear;

g) latitude and longitude of the last known position of each lost gear, if known; and

h) the last date on which the lost gear was set or lifted.

 

Other management measures could be announced at a later time. 

For additional information

 

You can obtain additional information on management measures and fishing areas on our website at http://www.qc.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/peches-fisheries/commerciale-commercial/index-eng.html. For more information, please call the numbers below: 

Magdalen Islands Area Office: 418-986-2095

North Shore Area Office: 1-800-463-1729

Gaspé and Lower St. Lawrence Area Office: 1-877-898-5559

Quebec Regional Office: 418-648-5883 


Maité Chavez

Resource Management

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Quebec (Quebec)

 

Caroline Leclerc

Resource management

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Gaspé and Lower St. Lawrence (Quebec)

 

Mathieu Morin                                                

Resource Management     

Fisheries and Oceans Canada  

North Shore (Quebec) 

 

Josée Richard

Resource Management

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Magdalen Islands (Quebec)

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