Notices to Fish Harvesters

Snow Crab - 12B

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Conservation harvesting plan - SNOW CRAB – AREA 12B – GASPE – LOWER ST. LAWRENCE



Approved, March 19, 2019

1. Application

This Conservation Harvesting Plan (CHP)applies to the Snow crab licence holder’s fleet of the area 12B, under individual transferable quotas (ITQ) system.

2. Fishing Area

The area 12B is defined as the snow crab section in area 12 marked off by straight lines connecting the following points in the listed order:


49°51'50'' N

64°31'26'' O


49°40'20'' N

64°54'50'' O


49°00'00'' N

63°00'00'' O


48°30'00'' N

60°00'00'' O


49°05'00'' N

60°00'00'' O


49°05'00'' N

61°42'00'' O


The fishing areas coordinates are listed in the Conditions of licence and are also indicated on the fishing areas maps, which are available at the following address:

 3. Fishing closures

       3.1 Coral and Sponge Conservation Areas in the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence 

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:


      3.2 Banc-des-Américains Marine Protected Area

On March 6, 2019, Fisheries and Oceans Canada created, jointly with the Quebec government, the Banc-des-Américains Marine Protected Area (MPA) in order to the ensure the conservation and protection of this marine ecosystem.


Provisions of the Banc-des-Américains Marine Protected Area Regulations apply to licence holders. In order to comply with them, please refer to the clauses that apply to your fishing activities:


4. Fishing Season

The fishing season will last 12 weeks.

Forecasts of air temperatures below 0 ºC for the first week of fishing and / or ice cover may delay the opening. An opening committee is in place. The opening date will be confirmed by a Variation Order following the final recommendation of the opening committee 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 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

6 licences

6. Quotas

The 2019 total allowance of captures (TAC) is maintained at 125 tons, which is a status quo compared to 2018. This corresponds to a harvest level identified by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) which is expected to generate revenue to cover operating expenses and monitor the area.

7. Management Regime

Individual transferable quotas (ITQ) program

Administrative guidelines for ITQ programs are renewedaccording to the terms and conditions described in the Notice to Fish Harvesters regarding transitional measures for the 2019 fishing season. The Notice to Fish Harvesters is available on the DFO Quebec Region website at the following address:


8. Fishing Gears

Fishers are allowed to use 150 standard traps.

Additional traps may be allocated following the approval of temporary or permanent transfers, as provided in the Administratives Guidelines.

A standard trap (maximum 2.1 m3) may be replaced by two conical base trap having a maximum circular diameter of 1.22 m.

All traps used for fishing must be provided with a biodegradable escape mechanism.

All traps used for fishing must have a single annual tag (purple) with a unique identification number. Fishermen are required to obtain their tags from suppliers approved by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), the list of which is available at the following address: will receive replacement tags (gray) corresponding to 5% of the number of gear allowed, during their initial order. Other replacement tags could be available upon request.

Gear soaking:

It is the responsibility offishers tohauluptheir gearat leastevery 72hours.


9. 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:

    9.1 Amount of Rope Floating on the Surface of the Water

Since 2018, the following requirements are in place to minimize the length of rope floating on the surface of the water and 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.

    9.2 Gear Marking

Licence holders using fixed gear must mark the rope used to attach a fishing gear to a primary buoy with a colour specific to the targeted species and to the fishing area in which they are authorized to fish. Implemented in 2018, this requirement is intended to facilitate the identification of the area where an entanglement has occurred. The following coloured markings are required for each fleet:


Colours for marking

Entry into force

Snow crab, area 12


Mandatory as of 2018

Snow crab, area 12E


Mandatory as of 2018

Snow crab, area 12F


Mandatory as of 2018

Snow crab, area 12A


Mandatory as of 2019

Snow crab, area 12B


Mandatory as of 2019

Snow crab, areas 12C, 13, 14, 15 et 16A


Mandatory as of 2019

Snow crab, area 16


Mandatory as of 2019

Snow crab, area 17


Mandatory as of 2019

Lobster (Gaspé and Magdalen Islands)

To be determined

Mandatory as of 2020


To be determined

Mandatory as of 2020

Other crab species

To be determined

Mandatory as of 2020


To be determined

Mandatory as of 2020


To be determined

Mandatory as of 2020


The rope used to attach a fishing gear to a primary buoy must bear these coloured markings 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 fishing gear to a primary buoy. The requirements for shallow water fisheries will be clarified later.

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 fishing gear to a primary buoy.


    9.3 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 fishing gear. 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:

    9.4 Requirement to report lost and retrieved gear

Since 2018, licence holders must report lost gear to Fisheries and Oceans Canada. This 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.

Licence holders must report any lost fishing gear or the retrieval of any of their own previously reported lost gear to Fisheries and Oceans Canada by completing and submitting the Lost Fishing Gear form or the Retrieval of Previously Reported Fishing Gear form, available online at Retrieval of a fishing gear can only occur under a valid fishing licence and only in relation to the fishing gear authorized by the fishing licence.

The appropriate form must be completed and submitted within 24 hours of discovering that gear has been lost or within 24 hours of retrieving gear previously reported as lost. For fishing trips of less than 5 days in length, the appropriate form must be completed and submitted within 24 hours of arriving at port.

    9.5 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 and 200 meters if the whale is accompanied by a calve. 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. 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 that occur during fishing expeditions including: bycatch, collisions and all sightings of entangled marine mammals. 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.

A copy of the form is attached to the Conditions of licence and can also be downloaded and submitted online at the following address:

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.


11. Hail prior to Departure

The hail prior departure must be placed at least 12 hours before departure.

12. At-sea Observers

The At-sea observers coverage is 15% of fishing trips made by the fleet, spread over the whole area and the fishing period.

13. Dockside Monitoring

Before the beginning of a fishing trip, fishers must have an agreement with a Dockside monitoring company legally designated by DFO whose list is available at the following address:

An hail-in call is required 30 minutes before the expected time of arrival at port.

Dockside monitoring is mandatory for 100% of landings.

Offloading must take place in one of the designated ports identified in the document entitled Designated dockside monitoring ports, available on the Department website at the following address:

14. Catch and effort data declaration

      14.1 Combined form / Logbook

Fishers 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.

      14.2 Electronic logbook

The use of an electronic logbook (Elog) is optional in 2019 and will be mandatory as of 2020. Fish harvesters must use a client application approved by Fisheries and Oceans Canada for the Quebec region for the form ELOG - Logbook - Traps (except lobster). Furthermore, fish harvesters must have obtained and installed their Elog Key in their client application in order to allow data transmission to the Department.

The Elog must be completed for each fishing expedition and “closed” before landing. A fishing expedition means a voyage that commences at the time a fishing vessel leaves a port to engage in fishing and terminates at the time fish caught during that period are offloaded. Hence, when a fisher goes back to port for a reason other than for offloading fish and leaves port again, the fishing expedition goes on until fish are offloaded.

To consult the list of client applications approved by the Department and to obtain you Elog key, visit Fisheries and Ocean’s web page at the following address:

To request a modification to data that has been transmitted to Fisheries and Oceans, you must communicate with the client support service at 1-877-535-7307.

15. Vessel Monitoring System

Fishers must use a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) active and approved by DFO. Data transmission every 15 minutes is required.

16. Discarding of white crab and adolescent crab

The discarding ofwhite craband teenager crab (small claws) is allowed. These mustbereturned to the water, to the placeof their capture, and if they are still alive, in a manner that caused it the least harm.

17. White crab Monitoring Protocol

Closure of the fishery upon reaching a percentage of 20% of soft-shell crab in catches at sea for a period of 14 consecutive days.

18. Simultaneous fishing

During a same fishing trip or different fishing trips, the holder of valid Greenland halibut, Atlantic halibut or Cod licence conditions who also holds valid snow crab licence conditions can conduct both fisheries simultaneously if Greenland halibut, Atlantic halibut or Cod fishery is conducted in subareas 4S1, 4S3, 4S4, 4T3a or 4T4.

19. Vessel

Fishers may use a boatwith a lengthless than19.81m.

A fishermanwishing to rent aboat mustfirst informthe other fishersof thefishingfleet.No vessel rental will be allowed with commercial fishing license holders living outside the Gaspe Peninsula area.

20. Partnership (Buddy-up)

A temporary buddy-up of two licence holders is authorized, provided both license holders are on board the boat used during all fishing operations. The maximum number of traps authorized will be equal to 150% of the number of traps authorized under the Management plan and the Administrative Guidelines in force. A temporary buddy-up may be renewed annually, and both Participants may not avail themselves of this opportunity for more than five years (consecutive or not).

21.Quota reconciliation

DFO is applying the quota reconciliation for snow crab in Area 12B. Thus, any individual quota overrun incurred bya licence holder in aseason will bededucted, of his individualquota forthe following season by a one-to-one ratio. It is the responsibility of fishers to follow their quotas to ensure that catches taken in the course of their fishing operations comply with the quotas allocated to them. The fishers will be notified of the reconciliation of their individual quota by means of an information note attached to their Conditions of licence.

22.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 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 at risk 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).


23.Conditions of Licence

To obtain their Conditions of licence, fishers 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:

Maryse Lemire

Fisheries Management Regional Director

Fisheries and Oceans Canada


For any question regarding this CHP

You may call at : 1-877-898-5559

For additional information

Please visit our website at the following address:


Date modified: