Notices to Fish Harvesters

Snow Crab - 12F

Conservation Harvesting Plan 2016 - modified





 Approved April 7, 2016

Modified April 12, 2016


1.     Application


This Conservation Harvesting Plan (CHP) applies to traditional fish harvesters holding a snow crab license for Area 12F from Quebec and the Gulf Regions.


2.     Fishing Area


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 


 Permanent fishing closures

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


3.     Fishing Season 

From April 13, 2016 at 6:00 A.M. (ADT) to July 14, 2016 at 23:59 (ADT).

An opening committee of industry and DFO is in place.  The opening date will be confirmed at least 72 hours before the start of the fishery. A Variation Order will be prepared following a confirmation by industry representatives.

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.


4.     Quotas 

Area 12F is fished by fishers from Quebec (10) who possess 68.75% of the quota and by fishers from the Gulf who possess 31.25% of the quota. 

Total allowable catch (TAC) for 2016 has been set at 373.69 tons. The Quebec license holders therefore have access to 256.91 tons while 116.78 tons are allotted to eligible fishers from the Gulf.  

Since this TAC is lower than the threshold of the sharing arrangement (544 tonnes), no sharing, as temporary allocations, is in place in 2016.


5.     Management Regime 

Individual transferable quotas (ITQ) program: The terms of ITQ management are contained in the Administrative Guidelines of the ITQ Program. 

Temporary transfers of ITQ: 

Starting in the 2016 snow crab fishery, DFO will authorize quota temporary transfers of up to 50% of licence holders subject to the owner-operator policy within one fishing season.  This decision follows the 2014 Ministerial decision to eliminate temporary quota transfers of up to 100% to line up with the owner-operator policy which states that licence holders are required to fish their licences personally.

Temporary quota transfer mechanisms outlined in administrative guidelines for fleets under Individual Transferable Quota regimes will need to be revised and approved by DFO prior to the 2016 fishery to ensure they are compliant with the new limit.


6.     Fishing Gears 

Number of authorized traps: Maximum 75 standard traps.  Additional traps may be allocated following the approval of permanent transfers, as provided in the administrative guidelines. 

Trap mesh size: maximum 75 mm. 

Trap tagging: One valid tag per trap is required. Tags from previous years must be removed. The color for original tags must be purple, while the color for replacement tags must be grey. Fishermen must obtain their tags from suppliers approved by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) whose list is available at the following address: 

All traps must be equipped with a biodegradable release mechanism. 


7.     Hail prior to Departure 

The hail prior departure must be placed at least 12 hours prior to departure for a fishing trip.  

8.     At-sea Observers 

The at-sea observers’ coverage is funded by the industry and should ensure a minimum of 15% of the fishing expeditions.  


9.     Dockside Monitoring 

A hail-in call is required before the arrival at port. Dockside monitoring is mandatory for 100% of landings.  


10.  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. 


11.  Vessel monitoring system (VMS)

All fishermen must possess a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) active and approved by DFO. The data transmission frequency is established at 15 minutes.


12.  Discarding of white crab and adolescent crab 

The discarding of white crab and teenager crab (small claws) is allowed.  These must be returned to the water to the place from which they were taken and where it is alive, in a manner that causes them the least harm.


13.  Soft-shell crab Monitoring Protocol 

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


14.  Vessel 

Fishermen may use a boat with a maximum length less than 19.81 m. 


15.  Quota reconciliation 

DFO has been applying the quota reconciliation for snow crab in Area 12F since the 2011 season.  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.   

A change in the quota reconciliation procedure is in effect.   DFO will no longer send a letter before the end of the management year to inform those who have experienced quota overruns: 


·         For licence holders in the Gulf Region, the Schedule – Quota Table document sent to licence holders each year prior to the beginning of the fishery will reflect any overrun incurred during the previous fishing season;


·         For licence holders in the Quebec Region, an information note will be attached to their conditions of licence available through the National Online Licensing System will indicate whether or not reconciliation will be applied to their individual quotas. 


16.  Other Management Measures 


Partnership agreements (buddy up) are authorized: Two area 12F regular license holders (traditional fleet) may use a same vessel, with 200% of the number of traps normally permitted.  

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. 


17.  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 Harvesting 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 bycatches of species identified above must be returned to the water and released in the exact capture location and, if the fish is still alive, with as little harm as possible.  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.


18.  Conditions of license 

To obtain their conditions of license, fishermen 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: 

Denis Gros-Louis 

Director, Resource Management, Aquaculture and Aboriginal Affairs 

Fisheries and Oceans Canada 


For additional information 

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