Notices to Fish Harvesters

Snow Crab - 12F

SNOW CRAB – AREA 12F - Conservation Harvesting Plan

 Approved April 10, 2019


1.     Application  

This Conservation Harvesting Plan (CHP) of snow crab of area 12F applies to traditional fish harvesters and to eligible fish harvesters in accordance with temporary allocation program from Quebec and the Gulf Regions. 

2.     Fishing Areas 

In part of Crab fishing area 12 (12F) delimited by the straight lines joining the following points in the order listed: 


47º 50' 00'' N

61º 08' 27'' W


47º 26' 45'' N

61º 00' 00'' W


47º 30' 00'' N

60º 43' 20'' W


47º 32' 12'' N

60º 42' 15'' W


47º 18' 30'' N

60º 18' 00'' W


47º 21' 30'' N

60º 16' 00'' W


47º 44' 30'' N

60º 25' 15'' W


48º 02' 30'' N

61º 07' 00'' W


47º 58' 30'' N

61º 07' 30'' W


47º 50' 00'' N

61º 08' 27'' 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.     Permanent fishing closures  

The fishery remains prohibited in a buffer zone that separates Areas 12F and 19. 

4.     Fishing seasons 

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. 

The fishing will end on June 30, 2019 at 24:00 (ADT). All traps must be removed from the water at the end of the day of June 30, 2019.  

5.     Number of licences and access  

Traditional: 10 licences in Quebec and 5 licences in the Gulf. 

Temporary allocations: 22 licences and Magdalen Islands lobster industry part in Quebec region and 10 accesses for Nova-Scotia associations and First Nations. 

6.     Quotas  

A sharing arrangement of the TAC is in place between the traditional fleet and the eligible fish harvesters. When the TAC is higher than 544 tons, the excess is shared on a ratio of 60%-40% to the traditional fleet and the temporary allocations respectively. Also, the traditional shares of 68.75% for Quebec Region and 31.25% for Gulf Region are applied to the temporary allocations.  

Total allowable catch (TAC) for 2019 is set at 1,158.09 tons. The traditional fleet has access to 912.45 tons (which gives 627.31 tons for the Québec Region and 285.14 tons for the Gulf Region) while 245.64 tons are allocated to temporary allocations holders (which gives 168.87 tons for the Québec Region and 76.76 tons for the Gulf Region). 

7.     Management Regime  

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:

 Temporary transfers of ITQ 

DFO authorizes temporary transfers of up to 50% of the quota for a regular licence holder subject to the owner-operator policy within one fishing season.   

8.     Fishing Gear 

Number of authorized traps 

Licence holders are allowed to use 75 standard traps. Additional traps may be allocated following the approval of temporary or permanent transfers, as provided in the Administratives Guidelines

The maximum number of traps authorized for temporary allocation is as follows: 

Less than or equal to 11.34 t (25,000 pounds):

35 traps

Between 11.34 t and 18.14 t (25-40,000 pounds):

50 traps

Between 18.14 and 31.75 t (40-70,000 pounds):

65 traps

Above or equal to 31.75 t (70,000 pounds):

75 traps


 Maximum trap mesh size 

Maximum trap mesh size is 75 mm. 

Trap tagging 

All traps used for fishing must bear a single annual valid Royal blue tag with a unique identification number. Fish harvesters must obtain their tags from suppliers approved by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) whose list is available at the following address: Fish harvesters will receive grey replacement tags, corresponding to 10% of the number of traps authorized, during their initial order. Other replacement tags may be available upon request. 

Biodegradable release mechanism 

All traps must be equipped with a biodegradable release mechanism. 

Gear soak time 

It is the responsibility of fish harvesters to lift their gear at least every 72 hours.

9.     Management measures to minimize the risks of interactions with the North Atlantic Right Whale (NARW) 

The requirements that have been implemented in order to reduce the risk of entanglement of North Atlantic Right Whales area summarized below: 

Details of these measures can be found in licence conditions, as well as in a separate Notice to Fish Harvesters

9.1         Amount of Rope Floating on the Surface of the Water  

Since 2018, the following requirements have been implemented in order 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 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: 

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 (Quebec Region) or the Marine Animal Response Society at 1-866-567-6277 (Gulf Region) 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.Dynamic management protocol 

DFO will apply its dynamic management protocol to further minimize risks to North Atlantic right whales.  More information  on the dynamic management protocol is published in a separate Notice to Fish Harvesters.


Map illustrating the static closure zone (in yellow) and the areas subject to the dynamic management protocol (in grey).



11.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 trips 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. 

12.Hail Prior To Departure  

The hail out call prior departure must be placed at least 12 hours before leaving for each fishing trip for Quebec region and 10 hours before leaving for each trip in Gulf region

13.At-sea Observer 

The at-sea observers coverage is funded by the industry and is minimum 15% of fishing trips. 

14.Dockside Monitoring 

Before the beginning of a fishing trip, licence holders must have an agreement with a dockside monitoring company legally designated by DFO; a list is available at the following address: for licence holders from Quebec Region. For licence holders from Gulf Region, the list of dockside monitoring company legally designated by DFO is available at the following address: 

A hail-in call is mandatory at least 1 hour before arriving at port. 

Dockside monitoring is mandatory for 100% of landings.  

Offloading must take place in one of the designated ports identified in a list available at the following address: licence holders from Quebec Region. For licence holders from Gulf Region, the list of designated ports is identified in licence conditions.

15. Catch and effort data declaration  

15.1     Combined form / Logbook 

Licence holders must acquire their booklet of Combined Forms from a prequalified supplier, identified by DFO. 

The Logbook section must be completed before arrival at port and the completed form must be sent to DFO after each fishing trip.


15.2     Electronic logbook 

The use of an electronic logbook (Elog) is optional in 2019 and will be mandatory in a near future (2020 in Quebec region). Fish harvesters must use a client application approved by Fisheries and Oceans Canada for their respective DFO region for the form ELOG - Logbook - Traps. 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 arriving at port/landing. A fishing trip commences at the time a fishing vessel leaves a port to engage in fishing and terminates at the time fish caught are offloaded. Hence, when a fish harvester 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.

16.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 5 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:

17.Discarding of white crab and juvenile crab 

The discarding of white crab and juvenile 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. 

18.Soft shell crab Monitoring Protocol 

A protocol for soft shell crab by sector is in place. 


Fishermen may use a boatwith a maximum lengthless than19.81 m (65 feet). 

20.Partnership (combining of licences or Buddy-up)  

Partnership agreements (buddy up) are authorized: Two area 12F regular license holders (traditional fleet) may use a same vessel, with 100% of the traps of one licence holder and 50% of the traps of the other licence holder. An Area 12F license holder from Quebec may, upon request and subject to various conditions, use the vessel of an Area 12 license holder from Quebec to fish in Area 12F. 

21.Quota reconciliation 

DFO applies the quota reconciliation for snow crab in Area 12F. Thus, any individual quota overrun incurred bya licence holder in aseason will bededucted, from his individualquota forthe following season by a one-to-one ratio. It is the responsibility of licence holders to track their quotas to ensure that catches taken in the course of their fishing operations comply with the quotas allocated to them. 

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 you may call at:

Îles-de-la-Madeleine office: 418-986-2095

Antigonish office : 902-863-5670


For additional information: 

Please visit our website at the following address:


Date modified: