Notices to Fish Harvesters

Snow Crab - 15

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Conservation harvesting plan 2016 (05-04-2016)


Approved April 5, 2016


This conservation based management plan is aimed at snow crab fish harvesters of area 15. Area 15 groups 32 regular crab licence holders of which one First nations organization. Area 15 licence holders are divided into groups A and B.

Dates and duration of the season (subject to change)

Group A          A pilot project consisting of 2 different periods for the completion of the fishing operations is put in place for 2016. Snow crab license holders in area 15, group A, have the opportunity to choose between the two following options:

Option 1: From April 11 at 5 a.m. to July 17 at midnight;

Option 2: From April 18 at 5 a.m. to July 24 at midnight.

Group B:         From April 18 at 5 a.m. to July 24 at midnight.

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

Industry and Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) representatives will form an Ice Committee responsible for confirming the dates for the beginning of the fishing activities. Dates may be changed as a result of ice conditions preventing access to fishing grounds or presenting potential hazards to the Fleet.

In the eventual change of dates for the completion of the fishing activities, these will be confirmed by a Notice to Fish Harvesters at least 72 hours prior the start of the fishing activities following an agreement from the Ice Committee and by a Variation Order.

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

There will be no extensions of the season for other than exceptional circumstances out of the control of the industry or the DFO.

Total allowable catch (TAC) and sharing agreements

The 2016TAC is established at 789.6 tons, which is a 10% increase compared with that of last year, and is consistent with scenario 2 of the DFO’s Science branch’s perspectives. The sum of the individual quotas following the application of the reconciliation adds up to 787.6 tons for the 2016 season

The initial TAC is distributed as follows:

Group A:                  Group A’s 8 licence holders will have access to 90.7% of the overall allocation equating to 716.2 tons, without consideration to the reconciliation.

Groups B (NA):        Groups B’s 24 licence holders will have access to 9.3% of the overall allocation equating to 73.4 tons without consideration to the reconciliation.

Quota reconciliation

DFO has been applying quota reconciliation in snow crab Area 15 since 2011. Thus, any individual quota overrun incurred by a license 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. Fish harvesters will be informed whether or not reconciliation has be applied to their individual quotas through an information note attached to their license conditions.

Fishing gear

Number of authorized traps:

Group A:                     85 standard traps or 170 Japanese traps.

Groups B:                   75 standard traps or 150 Japanese traps.

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

All traps used for fishing must wear a single permanent (white) 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 5% of the number of traps authorized, upon initial order. Other replacement tags may be available upon request.


Hail-out is mandatory.

At-sea observer coverage

At-sea Observer coverage will be of 10%, at the expense of the industry.

Soft-shell and adolescent crab

Closure of the area upon reaching a rate of 20% of soft-shell crab in at sea catches.

Soft-shell and adolescent crab release is allowed this year, as stipulated in licence conditions.

Dockside Monitoring

Dockside monitoring is mandatory for 100% of landings, at the expense of the industry.

Combined form

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.


License holders may use a boat within the prescribed length as stipulated in the rules for vessel replacement. A maximum length of 19.81 m applies to both group A and group B license holders.

Leasing of boats from outside the North Shore area will not be allowed.

Vessel monitoring system (VMS)

As of 2017, the use of a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) will be mandatory. Boats will have to be equipped with a VMS approved by DFO.

Partnership agreement and temporary transfers

The buddy-up system will be authorized amongst licence holders of the same group and for no more than 2 fish harvesters per agreement. Fish harvesters involved in a partnership agreement are authorised to use the double number of traps individually authorized for their group. Landings will be accounted for according to the pro rata of the individual quotas of the two fish harvesters involved in a partnership agreement.

For the 2016 season, zone 15 group B (NA) licence holders will be authorized to temporarily transfer up to 33% of their individual quota, as stipulated in administrative guidelines. It is important to remember that license holders must be on board the boat to capture their quota or the part of it which has not been transfered.

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

Species at risk act

Pursuant to the Species at RiskAct (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 Management Plan is promulgated, the Gulf of St.-Lawrence and the Atlantic species targeted by these measures are the following ones: Spotted wolffish, Northern wolffish, Leatherback Turtle and Striped Bass (St. Lawrence Estuary population). New species could be added in the course of the year.

All by-catch of species identified above must be returned to the water and released in the exact capture location and, if the fish is still alive, in a manner that causes it the least harm. In addition, information regarding interactions with species at risk, including species mentioned above as well as the North Atlantic Right Whale, the Blue Whale (Atlantic population) and the Beluga Whale (St. Lawrence Estuary population) must be recorded in the Species at risk section of the logbook.

Licence Conditions

To obtain their licence conditions, licence holders must log on to the National Online Licensing System (NOLS) and place a request. Group A request must indicate which season option (1 or 2) has been chosen. Licence conditions 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.

For National Online Licensing System assistance, please contact customer support by phone at 1-877-535-7307, or by email at

Approved by:

Andrew Rowsell
Area Director
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
North Shore

For additional information

Fisheries and Oceans Canada
North Shore Area
418 962-6314
Isabel Calderón
Act. Chief, Resource Management, Aboriginal Affairs, Aquaculture and Species at Risk
Daniel Dickner
Act. Area Chief, Conservation and Protection

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