Notices to Fish Harvesters

Snow Crab - 17




Approved March 18, 2019


1.     Application  

This Conservation Harvesting Plan (CHP) applies to members of Group A (Traditional and First Nations) and Group B (New Access) fleets that are licensed to fish for snow crab in the area 17 under individual transferable quota (ITQ). 

2.     Fishing Area

 Crab Fishing Area 17 is defined as the area to the southwest of the line connecting the following in the order listed:



49°19'00" N

67°22'52" W


49°19'00" N

65°41'30" W


49°13'15" N

65°53'30" W


 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

 That portion of the Saguenay River situated upstream of a straight line connecting the following points:



48°07'24" N

69°43'00’’ W (Pointe Noire)


48°08'06" N

69°42'06" W (Pointe Rouge)


4.     Fishing seasons

From March 27 at 5h to June 22 at 24h (to be determined)

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


Group A : 20 licences (5 shared by 3 First Nations) 

Group B : 19 licences


6.     Quotas

The total allowable catch (TAC) for 2019 is set at 2,230 tons, a decrease of 15% from 2018, which corresponds to the intermediate scenario of the Science Advice.

Group A: 88% of access, for a total of 1962.4 tons in 2019.

Group B: 12% of access, for a total of 267.6 tons in 2019.


7.     Management Regime

 Individual transferable quota (ITQ) for Group A and Group B.

Administrative guidelines for ITQ programs are renewed according 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 Gear

Number of traps allowed:


- Group A: Maximum of 85 standard traps or 170 Japanese traps. Additional traps may be allocated following the approval of permanent transfers in accordance with the procedures set out in the Group A Administrative Guidelines.


- Group B: Maximum of 50 standard traps or 100 Japanese traps.


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

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: Fishermen 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.

All traps must be equipped with a biodegradable escape mechanism. The biodegradable escape mechanism shall be installed in an unobstructed horizontal opening made on a length of three meshes, located on the side of each bin from the first vertical mesh of the lower part of the cage, with either 1) a galvanically degrading attachment of 100 days or less attached to each eyelet by an interlaced rope in each of the mesh of the opening and attached to the ends; or 2) an untreated soft cotton rope # 60 or # 96 or equivalent (5 mm thick or less) attached to one end of the stitches, interlaced in each of the stitches and attached to the other end of the opening.

Lifting of gear:

It is the fishermen's responsibility to lift their fishing gear at least every 72 hours.


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 trap (or each trawl of snow crab traps). This additional requirement will help identify and retrieve lost gear and could also help identify the sector where a whale 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 North Atlantic 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 North Atlantic 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 to departure must be placed before 7 pm the day before departure. 

12.At-sea Observer  

Observer coverage at sea is 4.5% of fishing trips made from opening until the end of April, 5% from May 1st to May 15th, 15% from May 16th to May 31st and from 20 % for the rest of the season. This percentage of coverage must be spread over the entire area and can be modified to meet unexpected conservation needs that may occur during the fishing season. 

13.Dockside Monitoring  

Prior to the start of a fishing trip, fishers must have an agreement with a legally designated dockside monitoring company listed at
A call for entry is required at least 30 minutes prior to arrival at the dock.
Dockside verification is mandatory for 100% of landings.
Landings must be made at one of the designated dockside monitoring harbors, the list of which is available at the following address:


14.Catch and effort data declaration


14.1     Combined form / Logbook

Fishers must purchase their Combined Forms booklet from the pre-qualified supplier by DFO at: 

The Logbook section must be completed prior to arrival at the dock 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  

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 his 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: 

16.Release of white crab and adolescent crab 

Release of white crab and adolescent crab (small claws) is allowed. They must be returned to the water, at the place of their capture and, if they are still alive, so as to hurt them as little as possible. 

17.Follow-up protocol for white crab 

Closure of the fishery as soon as 20% white crab is reached in the catch at sea for a period of 14 consecutive days before May 1st and a period of 7 consecutive days after May 1st. 

18.Simultaneous fisheries  

On a single fishing trip or on different fishing expeditions, the license holder/vessel operator who holds both valid License Conditions for Greenland halibut, Atlantic halibut or ITQ Cod and valid Snow Crab License Conditions may practice both fisheries simultaneously if the Greenland halibut, Atlantic halibut or cod fishery is conducted in 4S1 or 4T4 Subareas. 


Fishers can use a boat with a maximum length of less than 19.81m for Group A and 15.24m for Group B.


20.Partnership (combining of licences)  

Partnerships between two Group B license holders are permitted. Both license holders must be on board for all fishing expeditions of the target species and will be held jointly responsible for illegal actions in fishing activities, if any. The agreement must be submitted to DFO via the National Online Licensing System prior to the opening of the fishery and, unless there are exceptional reasons, DFO will not issue replacement licenses to fishermen involved in a partnership  agreement. Landings are accounted for in proportion to the respective ITQs. The maximum number of combined traps of the two license holders is 75. 

21.Quota reconciliation  

DFO applies quota reconciliation to the area 17 snow crab fishery. Thus, any individual quota override incurred by a license holder in one season will be deducted, on a one-to-one basis, from his quota. established for the next season. It is the responsibility of fishermen to monitor their quotas to ensure that catches made in the course of their fishing activities respect the quotas allocated to them. Fishermen will be notified of the reconciliation of their individual quota by means of a note of information attached to their License Conditions. 

22.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 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, 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

Approved by: 

Maryse Lemire 

Fisheries Management Regional Director 

Fisheries and Oceans Canada 


For any question regarding this CHP  

Please contact:  

North Shore sector: 1-800-463-1729 

Gaspe peninsula - Lower St. Lawrence Area: 1-877-898-5559


For additional information

Please visit our website at the following address:

Date modified: