Notices to Fish Harvesters

Snow Crab - 13

SNOW CRAB – AREA 13 - Conservation Harvesting Plan


Approved April 29, 2019


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


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:


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)





Forecasts of air temperatures below 0 ºC for the first week of fishing and / or ice cover may delay the opening. 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. 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 2019 Total Allowable Catch (TAC) has been set to 304.5 tons (without consideration to reconciliation), which is a 25% decrease compared to 2018 and is consistent with DFO’s Science advice (upper scenario). The Quebec licence holders therefore have access to 267.214 tons while 37.286 tons are allocated to eligible fish harvesters from Newfoundland & Labrador (without consideration to reconciliation).


7.     Management Regime




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:




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


8.     Fishing Gear


8.1 Maximum number of traps


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




8.2 Release mechanism


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




8.3 Tagging


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




8.4 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.     Management measures to minimize the risks of interactions with the North Atlantic Right Whale


Management measures to reduce interactions with North Atlantic Right Whales and to report any interactions with marine mammals are now in place in all Quebec fisheries. All the information on these measures has been published in the April 12th, 2019 Notice to Fish Harvesters, available at the following link:


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

Lobster (North Shore)

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. 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


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


12.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.


13.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.


14.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.


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.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.


17.Soft-shell crab monitoring protocol


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




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


19.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.


20.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.


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 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).


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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