Notices to Fish Harvesters

Snow Crab - 13

Conservation Harvesting Plan - Snow Crab - Area 13


Snow crab – AREA 13


Season 2018




Approved May 01, 2018


1.    Application




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


2.    Fishing Areas




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.  




Fishing areas coordinates are detailed in fishing areas maps available at the following address:  


3.    Fishing closures


On December 15, 2017, Fisheries and Oceans Canada created eleven coral and sponge conservation areas in the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence in order to protect areas with high concentrations of sponges and sea pens.


All fishing activities that use bottom-contact gear or gear designed to come into contact with the sea bed, including but not limited to bottom trawls, dredges, gillnets, bottom longlines, bottom seines and traps, are forbidden in the conservation areas.


For more information and maps of the eleven coral and sponge conservation areas, please visit the dedicated DFO website:


4.    Fishing seasons


The following seasons will be in effect for the duration of this CHP. They represent the maximum duration of fishing periods, subject to Variation orders and specific closure periods. .




Opening and closure dates (subject to change)







Duration of the season




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




A committee composed of Industry and Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) representatives is in place to confirm 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.


It should be reminded that it is the responsibility of the captain to acquaint himself with the marine safety notices published by Environment and Climate Change Canada and Transport 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.


5.    Number of licences and access


Area 13 is harvested by 37 fishermen from Quebec holding 87.755% of the quota and by 6 fishermen from Newfoundland & Labrador holding 12.245% of the quota.


6.    Quotas


The 2018 Total Allowable Catch (TAC) has been set to 406 tons, which is the status quo compared to 2017 and is consistent with DFO’s Science advice (Scenario 1). The Quebec licence holders therefore have access to 356.285 tons while 49.715 tons are allocated to eligible fish harvesters from Newfoundland & Labrador.


7.    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.




The Administrative Guidelines of the ITQ Program are renewed as indicated in the Notice to Fishersregarding transitional measures for the 2018 fishing season. This Notice to Fishers is available on the Quebec Region DFO site at the following address :




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


8.    Fishing Gear


Maximum number of authorized traps




Fishermen are authorized to use a maximum of 75 standard traps or 150 Japanese traps.




Release mechanism




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








All traps used for fishing must wear a single permanent (yellow) 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 (pale blue), corresponding to 10% of the number of traps authorized, upon initial order. Other replacement tags may be available upon request.





Gear soaking time




It is the licence holder’s responsibility to make sure the soaking time of his/her fishing gear does not exceed 72 consecutive hours.


9.    New management measures to minimize the risks of interactions with the North Atlantic Right Whale


The following requirements have been implemented in order to reduce the risk of entanglement of North Atlantic Right Whales:


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 North Atlantic Right Whales entanglements:



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 must mark the rope used to attach a 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. 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 fishing area:



The rope used to attach a trap to a primary buoy must bear these coloured markings on a length of 15 cm.


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


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



The shade of the colour used for the markings shall contrast with the colour of the rope used to attach a 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 are required to identify each primary buoy with a sequential number in order to be able to individually identify each 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:





Requirement to Report Lost Gear




Starting in 2018, licence holders must 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 within a 24 hours period following the end of the fishing trip during which the loss of the fishing gear was noted, or within a 24 hours 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) sequential number indicated on the primary buoy attached to each lost fishing gear;


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


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





Temporary closure protocol




In accordance with the Notice to Fishers published on April 27, 2018, a protocol for dynamic fisheries management has been implemented to prevent incidents involving North Atlantic right whales, such as entanglements. This protocol will allow DFO to temporarily close areas specific to fixed gear fishing if the presence of a North Atlantic right whale is confirmed.




What to do if you observe a North Atlantic right whale




First of all, it is important to maintain a minimum distance of 100 meters from the animal. Details regarding sightings of live and free-swimming right whales may be provided to DFO at: or by phone at 1-844-800-8568. If you observe this species, please send us your contact information and information about the sighting (date, time, geographical position, number of individuals, etc.). If possible, you can also send us photos or videos.




If you see a right whale entangled in fishing gear, you should not under any circumstances attempt to release it on your own. The behaviour of an entangled individual is unpredictable and dangerous. You should contact "Marine Mammal Emergencies" at 1-877-722-5346 as soon as possible to share information that will help to organize an appropriate response by experts (time and position of the entangled animal, behavior of the individual, details on the weather and the state of the sea, etc.).


10. Hail Prior To Departure


Hail prior to departure is mandatory. It must be performed at the latest at 19:00 the night prior the fishing trip.


11. 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 concluded an agreement with a company designated by DFO with regard to at-sea observer coverage.


12. 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 concluded an agreement with a dockside monitoring company legally designated by Fisheries and Oceans Canada for the hail in and the landing of fish.


13. 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.


14. Vessel Monitoring System


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:


15. 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, where they were captured, and if they are still alive, in a manner that causes them the least harm.


16. White crab Monitoring Protocol  


Closure of a sector or the area will occur upon reaching a rate of 20% of white crab captures at sea, if necessary.


17. Boat


Fish harvesters may use a vessel with a maximum length less than 19.81 m (65 feet).


18. Partnership agreement and temporary transfers


Buddy-up is authorized among licence holders for no more than 2 fish harvesters per agreement. Fish harvesters involved in a partnership agreement are authorized to use twice the number of traps individually allowed. Landings are accounted for according to the pro rata of the individual quotas of the licence holders involved in a partnership agreement.




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


19. Quota reconciliation


DFO applies Quota reconciliation in this fishery. Thus, any individual quota overrun incurred by a licence 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, and to make the necessary arrangements prior to a fishing trip in order to have the necessary quota to cover the catches that are likely to be made during the fishing trip.


20. Marine mammal interaction reporting


In order to comply with the implementation of the US Marine Mammals Protection Act (MMPA) regulations, licence holders must now provide information regarding all interactions with a marine mammal including: bycatch, collisions and all sightings of entangled marine mammals that occur during fishing expeditions. To do this, the Marine Mammal Interaction Form must be completed and submitted by email to within 48 hours after the end of a fishing trip.


The information provided on this form will be used by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to estimate levels of accidental mortality and injury to marine mammals. This information will allow DFO to better assess the types of threats that may affect Canada's marine mammals and to develop mitigation strategies.


In addition, if you observe a dead or distressed animal, please contact Marine Mammal Emergencies as soon as possible at 1-877-722-5346. If possible, do not hesitate to take photos or videos that will allow DFO to assess the situation and identify the species.


21. Species At Risk Act


Pursuant to the Species at Risk Act, 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 Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence species susceptible to being captured are the following: the Spotted Wolffish, the Northern Wolffish, the Leatherback Turtle and the Striped Bass (St. Lawrence River population). New species could be added during the course of the year.




All incidental captures of species identified above must be immediately returned to the water where they were captured and, if the animal is still alive, in the manner that causes it the least harm. All incidental captures of species at risk must be recorded in the « Species at Risk » section of the logbook. Furthermore, all interactions with species at risk, notably the North Atlantic Right Whale, the Blue Whale (Atlantic population), the Beluga Whale (St. Lawrence Estuary population) and the White Shark (Atlantic population), must be recorded in this section of the logbook.




These requirements are additional to any obligation to declare an interaction with a marine mammal using the prescribed form (see section Marine mammal interaction reporting).


22. Conditions of licence


To obtain their Conditions of licence, fish harvesters 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




Quebec licence holders request must indicate which season option (1 or 2) has been chosen. Conditions of licence 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.




Approved by:




Maryse Lemire


Fisheries Management Regional Director


Fisheries and Oceans Canada




For any question regarding this CHP


You may call at :




Secteur Côte-Nord: 1-800-463-1729


For additional information


Please visit our website at the following address:






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