Notices to Fish Harvesters

Snow Crab - 16A

ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE CLOSURE PROTOCOL FOR QUEBEC REGION FIXED GEAR FISHERIES IN CASE OF NORTH ATLANTIC RIGHT WHALE PRESENCE.

 

SUBJECT: ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE CLOSURE PROTOCOL FOR QUEBEC REGION FIXED GEAR FISHERIES IN CASE OF NORTH ATLANTIC RIGHT WHALE PRESENCE.

 

 Quebec City – April 27th 2018

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) – Quebec Region announces the implementation of a protocol for the dynamic management of fisheries in 2018 when the presence of North Atlantic Right Whale (NARW) is confirmed. This protocol will allow the DFO to temporarily close specific areas to fishing activities carried out with fixed gear in order to prevent incidents with NARW, such as entanglements. If NARW are present in the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence, the DFO will close fishing grids that are used for closing the snow crab fishery according to the soft shell crab protocol, among other uses. These measures could be adapted as needed during the season.

Observations inside a potential foraging area

When at least one NARW is observed inside a foraging area, the DFO will close a total of nine grids to create a buffer area around the sighting location to account for whale movements.

 

Closing and reopening of the areas

Closures will be in force for a minimum period of 15 days and will be extended by 15 days from the last NARW sighting in the closed area. If no NARW are seen in the closed area during at least two aerial surveillance flights during the 15 days period, the nine closed grids will be automatically opened at the end of the period. Closures and openings will be regulated through Variation Orders and Notices of Closure, among other tools. When licence holders are notified of a closure by a notice issued on a commercial or maritime radio station, by a notice transmitted electronically or by a notice given orally by a fishery officer or a fishery guardian, he will have 48 hours to retrieve fishing gear from the area prior to closure.

 

Static closure

DFO will implement a static closure in an area where 90% of the NARW observations occurred in 2017 in order to create a large area free of gear for the NARW, thus reducing the risk of a NARW interacting with fixed gear and traps. The fishing closure will be in effect on April 28, 2018. The coordinates for the closed area are as follow:

 

Points

 

Latitude

 

Longitude

 

1. (north-west corner)

48 ° 00 ' 00 ' '

64 ° 20 ' 00 ' '

2. (north-east corner)

48 ° 00 ' 00 ' '

63 ° 10 ' 00 ' '

3. (south-east corner)

47 ° 20 ' 00 ' '

63 ° 10 ' 00 ' '

4. (south-west corner)

47 ° 20 ' 00 ' '

64 ° 20 ' 00 ' '

The reference coordinates are based on the North American Datum 1983 (NAD83) geodesic system and are expressed in degrees, minutes and seconds.

 

  

Figure 1: Map showing the static closed area that will come into effect on April 28, 2018.

 

For more information

You can obtain additional information concerning the management measures and the fishing areas on our website at http://www.qc.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/peches-fisheries/commerciale-commercial/index-eng.htmland information concerning changes to service delivery at http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/sdc-cps/index-eng.htm. For more information, please contact:

 

Maryse Lemire

Regional Director, Fisheries Management

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Quebec (Québec)

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