Eastern Nova Scotia and 4X Snow Crab (Chionoecetes Opillio)- Effective as of 2013

Foreword

Image of Snow Crab
Snow Crab (Chionoecetes Opillio)

The purpose of this Integrated Fisheries Management Plan (IFMP) is to identify the main objectives and requirements for the Snow crab fishery in Crab Fishing Areas N-ENS (formerly CFAs 20-22), S-ENS (CFA 23 and 24) and 4X (CFA 24W), as well as the tactics that will be used to achieve these objectives.  This document also serves to communicate the basic information on the fishery and its management to staff of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), legislated co-management boards and other stakeholders. This IFMP provides a common understanding of the basic “rules” for the sustainable management of the fisheries resource.

Through IFMPs, DFO Maritimes Region intends to implement an Ecosystem Approach to Management (EAM) across all marine fisheries. The approach considers impacts extending beyond those affecting the target species and, in this respect, is consistent with the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. Implementation will take place in a step by step, evolutionary way, building on existing management processes. Advances will be made incrementally, beginning with the highest priorities and issues that offer the greatest scope for progress.  A summary of the regional EAM framework is included as Appendix 2 to the IFMP.

This IFMP is not a legally binding instrument which can form the basis of a legal challenge. The IFMP can be modified at any time and does not fetter the Minister's discretionary powers set out in the Fisheries Act. The Minister can, for reasons of conservation or for any other valid reason, modify any provision of the IFMP in accordance with the powers granted pursuant to the Fisheries Act.

Where DFO is responsible for implementing obligations under land claims agreements, the IFMP will be implemented in a manner consistent with these obligations. In the event that an IFMP is inconsistent with obligations under land claims agreements, the provisions of the land claims agreements will prevail to the extent of the inconsistency.

Chris Lorenz
A/Director, Resource Management
Maritimes Region

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Overview of the Fishery
2. Stock Assessment, Science and Traditional Knowledge
3. Social, Cultural and Economic Importance of the Fishery
4. Management Issues
5. Objectives
6. Strategies and Tactics
7. Access and Allocation
8. Shared Stewardship Arrangements
9. Compliance Plan
10. Evaluation, Monitoring, and Plan Enhancement
11. Glossary

1. OVERVIEW OF THE FISHERY

1.1 History of the Fishery

1.1.1 Eastern Nova Scotia

The present-day fishery developed from a small scale, inshore fishery conducted as a supplementary fishery by lobster fishers off the northwestern part of Cape Breton in 1966 using small (7 - 13 m) boats making day trips. By 1976, interest in fishing snow crab had spread to other areas around Cape Breton such that by 1978 a total of seven different fishing areas had been identified and designated for the exclusive use of inshore vessels. Five of these areas (areas 2-6) were in Eastern Nova Scotia (ENS) and in 1981 were defined as CFAs 20 to 24 (Appendix 1). By 1982, sector management was in place in the Department and CFA's 20 to 24 became the responsibility of the Scotia-Fundy Region (currently identified as the Maritimes Region).

The snow crab fishing areas are described in regulations and extend throughout the entire Scotia-Fundy region (Appendix 1). Actual fishable bottom can be very patchy within areas. In the nearshore areas of CFAs 20-22, crab habitat is fairly continuous starting within five miles of shore in some areas and extending out to 15-20 miles. However, in the more southern areas of CFA 22 and in CFAs 23 and 24 fishable bottom is not as evenly distributed and extends much further from shore. In these areas, snow crab is found in gullies, which may occur within 15-20 miles from shore but can extend out to 120 miles.

In CFA 20, anecdotal information suggested that there were some marginal grounds near St. Paul’s Island and outside of traditional grounds. The Department approved a limited exploratory fishery in 1999 however by 2002 this exploratory fishery had proven that there is no sustainable fishery in the outside area.

In 1998, temporary access was introduced outside of traditionally fished areas in CFAs 23 and 24 and continued to expand to include the slope edge area in 2001. This exploration has found patchy commercial areas primarily situated near the channels but no commercial quantities of crab in the shallow depths of the banks between the slope edge and the nearer shore areas.

1.1.2 Southwest Nova Scotia (4X)

Southwest Nova Scotia based vessels conducted a winter/spring exploratory fishery throughout the area in late 1994 and by 1998 had found only one large, commercially exploitable area around the LaHave Basin near the 4X/4W line.

In 1999 and 2002 DFO/fisher surveys were conducted based on a grid patterned fishing effort distribution. These surveys indicated two commercial areas; the known area around the LaHave Basin and farther south around Roseway Basin. In addition, trawl surveys conducted throughout 4X have identified no commercially viable areas except for the two known areas.

Type of Fishery

The Maritime Region snow crab fishery is a commercial fishery with licenses distributed as in Table 1 below. The main objective of the commercial fishery is to maximize net revenues for all license holders while ensuring the sustainability of the stock.

Table 1:  Number and distribution of snow crab licenses in 2013
Geographic Area Licenses
N-ENS - Cape North to Scatarie 78
S-ENS CFA 23 - Scatarie to Kempt Point 62
S-ENS CFA 24 - Kempt Pt. and south 53*
Sub-total 193
4X 9
Total 202
* Millbrook First Nation has 3 licenses within the 53 licenses although they have a set allocation of 250t.

1.3 Participants

1.3.1 Eastern Nova Scotia

During the development of the fishery, as landings increased so did the number of licenses. In 1979, 35 additional licenses were issued by public draw within CFA 20 to 22. Of these new licenses, 20 were restricted to 30 or more miles distance from shore to protect inshore fishers. In 1981, many of the offshore exploratory licenses were cancelled due to inactivity. The remainder blended their activity in the inshore zones. By 1982, there were a total of 113 licenses in the five areas.

Through the early 1980s license distribution in eastern Nova Scotia remained relatively stable. By 1986, it was evident that a large recruitment of young crab into the fishery was occurring; this continued until approximately 1989, and resulted in a resurgence of effort. In addition, in 1989 four new licenses were issued to explore previously unexploited areas beyond 12 miles in CFA 24. These exploratory licenses were converted to regular commercial license status in May 1996.

By 1995, several conditions had combined to produce a large number of requests to DFO to allow new entrants into the snow crab fishery. Market prices for Atlantic snow crab had begun to improve around 1992 with the collapse of the Alaskan crab fishery. Catches in the snow crab fishery were high, while there was a severe decline in groundfish stocks along the Atlantic coast and lobster catches were beginning to decline. The pressure for new licenses was highest in the Newfoundland and Gulf areas.

In the Scotia-Fundy fisheries, DFO identified CFAs 23 and 24 as having been the most productive in terms of catch per trap haul, total harvest and average catch per fisher. Also, the crab grounds in these two areas were the least "crowded" in terms of the amount of fishing ground available per fisher. This resulted in the issuance, for five to ten fishers in each CFA, of one-year (temporary) licenses through a draw process to individual fishers who had been adversely affected by the downturn in the groundfish fishery and First Nations Bands in Eastern Nova Scotia. These temporary fishers were able to fish in any portion of the CFAs and this approach continued from 1995 to 1997.

It must be noted that in 1995 the quota for these temporary permits in CFAs 23 and 24 did not constitute additional effort. The regular license holders agreed to limit themselves to a level, below their recent five-year average catches, on a temporary (one year) basis to make quota available. It was recognized that this approach was, at best, an approximation exercise since the fleet had not been on full dockside monitoring nor on individual quotas during that five-year period and there was no fishery-independent scientific estimate of stock abundance available.

Since 1998, the approach used to provide temporary licenses changed. Licenses were now provided through associations to individual fishers who fished for all eligible fishers in the association who shared in the profits. These temporary allocations were distributed to eligible, adjacent, Core fishers (including TAGS recipients) and Native Communities in units of 25t each.

The temporary licenses, with total allocations of 250t in each CFA, were restricted to non-traditional fishing areas identified by consensus in CFA 23 (outside of 90 miles) and by DFO due to a lack of consensus in CFA 24. This approach was used to provide temporary access during the period of surplus abundance covered by the 2000-2002 IFMP and extended to 2004 while additional consultations occurred on access and allocations. The maximum number of temporary vessels used from 2000-2004 was approximately 120.

Temporary allocations to associations initially totaled 250t in each CFA and through 2000 were continued or expanded within the subareas. The 2000 assessment identified a significant build- up of biomass within CFAs 23 and 24, and the 2000 Total Allowable Catch (TAC) was approximately tripled in comparison with 1999. Access to all associations was established through sharing arrangements and extended to include Core fishers without temporary access within their own CFAs (21 and 22) who were provided non-adjacent access in the outer unsurveyed area of CFA 23.

No commercial quantities of crab were found in these outer unsurveyed areas except on the slope edge. An industry conducted trap survey of four (4) participants, occurred in 2001 and 2002 along the slope edge in CFA 23 and 24 to determine snow crab distribution and obtain initial biological information. In 2001, the commercial fleet from CFA 23 and the exploratory trap survey landed approximately 550t. The opportunity for commercial fishing was removed in 2002 to reduce bias associated with the trap survey. A trawl survey was conducted in 2003 to determine biomass estimates for the slope area. The trap survey was also continued until 2004 with an additional participant introduced in CFA 24 in 2003.

In terms of numbers and types of licenses, the situation in CFAs 20-22 had remained stable in the period of 1982 to 1998. In 1999, four new exploratory licenses with a total allocation of 33.9t were introduced in the outer portion of CFA 20 and distributed to all eligible Core adjacent fishers in CFA 20.

Prior to 1997 the landing or quota levels within CFA 22 were at or above 350t. However, the overcapacity in the fleet had forced the lowering of quota levels in this area. Landings had returned to that level and a long-term goal in CFA 22 was to keep this area above the level of 350t. Fishers had annually selected which subarea they wished to fish. This constant shifting of effort between the subareas made long-term management difficult.

Therefore in 2003 fishers reached an agreement whereby each fisher selected which area they preferred to fish for the next three years. Sixteen (16) fishers chose to fish the Glace Bay Hole while the remaining 21 would fish the inside area. This agreement was to have been added to the long-term plan however no long-term plan was approved in 2004. In 2005, Ministerial approval provided those 16 fishers exclusive access to the Glace Bay Hole for first two weeks of the season in 2005-2007.

Between 2002 and 2004 negotiations on a long-term plan seeking to stabilize access and allocation for both the temporary and permanent fleets reached an impasse.

In March 2004 the Minister released a policy framework which included stabilizing sharing arrangements in most Atlantic fisheries for the long-term. A notable exception was the ENS snow crab fishery where consultations between industry and DFO continued. A consensus could not be reached and in December 2004 an Advisory Panel on Access and Allocation in the eastern Nova Scotia snow crab fishery was announced by the Minister. The Panel consulted with the fishing industry on a number of outstanding management issues and reported its advice to the Minister.

In 2005, all temporary access was converted to permanent status with 5% of the quota in the northern CFAs and ~40% of the southern quota being provided the previous temporary fishers. In addition, the 5 participants in the trap surveys on the slope areas of CFA 23 and 24 were converted to permanent status and were provided access to the entire CFA. The new individualized quota shares were only for fishers with Core status and, within the CFAs, were equal. Fishers holding these new quota shares were then provided the opportunity to consolidate to form Core Companies with up to 1 1/3 the quota holdings of an existing license. Once formed the Core Companies were provided a permanent license and a percentage share of resource depending on the consolidation level.

The establishment of the Core companies was to alleviate concerns within communities that processing firms and other non-license holders would control the fishery. Members of the Core companies determine how their individual quotas are fished and profits distributed. All Core companies may name any registered fisher (Full Time or Part Time) as an operator of the vessel.

In total, four Core companies in CFA 20-22, 22 Core companies in CFA 23 and 16 Core companies in CFA 24 were established converted to permanent status.  

In 2009, another commercial license was added to CFA 23 as per the Minister’s direction.  In 2013, there are 193 permanent licenses in ENS.

1.3.2 Aboriginal

Prior to 1995, there was only one First Nations license in this fishery and that license was owned by the individual not his First Nations community. The Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy of integration of Native communities into the commercial fisheries, where possible, coupled with the opportunity to utilize temporary permits in 1995, led to the inclusion of four First Nations communal licenses that year totaling 40,000 lb. In 1996, that was increased to 60,000 lb.

In 1997, a commercial license in CFA 23 was acquired by the Department under the Allocation Transfer Program and transferred to a consortium of three First Nations Bands (Millbrook, Horton and Valley Bands) on an equal-share basis. This license was operated as a communal commercial license under the auspices of The Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy. In 1997, the Department issued two permanent licenses to Native Communities in both CFA 23 and CFA 24.

In accordance with “Commercial Fisheries Licensing Policy for Eastern Canada, 1996”, DFO gives special consideration to Aboriginal peoples for commercial licenses, when future opportunities arise. In 1998, First Nations received two temporary allocations of 25t in CFA 23. In 1999 this allocation was increased to 75t. First Nations access was increased significantly in 2000 with the introduction of additional temporary access for eligible participants.

In response to the Marshall decision the Department negotiated agreements with most of the First Nation Bands in the Scotia-Fundy region. To fulfill these agreements, in 2002 the department introduced 13 First Nation permanent licenses in CFA 23 and 8 in CFA 24. In addition, the Millbrook First Nation received a permanent 250t allocation (as opposed to a percentage of the TAC) in CFA 24. These licenses were introduced through the conversion of existing First Nation temporary access and the buyback of non-native temporary allocations.

In 2005, the two First Nation exploratory licenses for the trap surveys on the slope areas of CFA 23 and 24 were converted to permanent status. Additionally, a license was provided to the Indian Brook First Nation Band and prior to the 2006 season a buy-back was established to cover the quota required for a long-term license.

In 2013, aboriginal access in the ENS and 4X snow crab fisheries included 20 licenses in CFA 23, 14 in CFA 24 and 3 in 4X for a total of 37 licenses.

1.3.3 Southwest Nova Scotia (4X)

In southwest Nova Scotia a four license, exploratory fishery was started in late 1994 and early 1995 with low initial landing. The four licenses were converted to regular, commercial license status in 2000 and in response to the Marshall decision two (2) aboriginal licenses (Native Council of Nova Scotia and Acadia First Nation) were introduced in 2001. In 2002 another license was provided to the Acadia First Nation fulfilling DFO’s commitments under the Marshall Response Initiative. With the continued increase in abundance, two temporary licenses were also introduced in 2002 and converted to permanent status for the 2005/2006 season with a quota share of 50% of the previous license holders.  In 2013, these 9 licenses continue to prosecute the 4X fishery.

1.4 Location of the Fishery

All snow crab fishing in Eastern Nova Scotia Snow Crab Fishing Areas (CFA) is described in Schedule XI of the Atlantic Fishery Regulations, 1985 (Appendix 1). CFAs 20-22 have been combined and are now known as N-ENS. The Atlantic Fishery Regulations do not yet reflect this change. By regulations, CFA 24 included the 4X area but permanent license holders did not fish this area. The 4X area is near the southern limit of snow crab distribution and located in what is considered marginal environmental conditions. In 1999 a separation of CFA 24 and the 4X fishery at the 4X/4W NAFO boundary line was approved by DFO.

Maritimes Region Crab Fishing Areas (CFAs)
Map of Maritimes Region Crab Fishing areas

1.5 Fishery Characteristics

1.5.1 Gear Type

The mobile snow crab fishery is considered an inshore fishery with vessels less than 65’.  Six or seven foot conical traps are used in all fishing areas.

1.5.2 Management Methods

Limited entry
The Maritimes Region snow crab fishery is a limited entry fishery. Current license holders who wish to exit the fishery may request the reissuance of their license to fishers who meet the general criteria of the Commercial Fisheries Licensing Policy for Eastern Canada, 1996.  

TAC
The fishery is managed using Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for each of the N-ENS, S-ENS and 4X areas. The TAC to be fished is determined from scientific and industry input. Advisory Committees submit recommendations on the TAC based on acceptable exploitation rates that are adjusted based on biological evidence.

ITQ
The approved TAC is distributed based on individual license percentage shares and managed through Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQs).

Trap limits

Effective for the 2013 fishery the trap limits are:

Geographic Area Number of Traps
N-ENS - Cape North to Scatarie 30
S-ENS CFA 23 - Scatarie to Kempt Point - Inner 55
S-ENS CFA 23 - Scatarie to Kempt Point - Outer 75
S-ENS CFA 24 - Kempt Pt. and south 60
4X 60

Through licensing partnerships trap limits are increased as below:

  • In N-ENS, partnerships may be formed between two licenses held by individuals, at which time 1 ½ traps may be requested (45 traps). 3 allocations can be fished allowing another 15 traps for the third allocation for a limit of 60 traps.
  • In CFA 23, partnerships may be formed between two license holders. Partnerships of licenses with 55 traps can request 80 traps.  Partnerships of licenses with 75 traps can request 105 traps.
  • In CFA 24, partnerships may be formed between two license holders at which time 1 ½ traps may be requested (90 traps).
  • Aboriginal communal commercial licenses may partner with other non-aboriginal license holders. The requirements for both the Aboriginal Communal Fishing Licenses Regulations and the Atlantic Fisheries Regulations must be met in order for a partnership to be formed.

Dockside Monitoring
Licence conditions require all landings (100%) to be monitored at dockside.

At-sea Monitoring
The monitoring levels for at-sea observers are ~5% of the TAC in N-ENS and 4X and 10% of the TAC in CFA 23 and 24.  By licence condition, licence holders are required to contract with a certified at-sea observer company.

Vessel Monitoring System (VMS)
VMS coverage is mandatory in CFA 23, CFA 24 and 4X. VMS is not required in N-ENS due to a shorter season and the limited area available.

1.5.3 Timeframe

The ENS snow crab fishing season varies by fishing area with the majority of total weight landed between April and September. In N-ENS there are two separate seasons, the spring fishery and the summer season. The spring fishery is open from early April until mid to late May while the summer fishery opens in mid-July until mid-August. In S-ENS there is a continuous season with the fishery open from early April until the end of September. In contrast, the CFA 4X season spans two calendar years. The season opens November 1 and closes March 31 the following year.

1.6 Governance

1.6.1 Domestic Legislation

DFO oversees Canada’s scientific, ecological, social and economic interests in oceans and fresh waters. It is guided by the Oceans Act, which charges the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada with leading oceans management, and the Fisheries Act, which confers responsibility to the Minister for the management of fisheries, habitat and aquaculture. The Department is also one of three responsible authorities under the Species at Risk Act. All three acts contain provisions relevant to fisheries management and conservation. However, the Fisheries Act is the act from which the principal sets of regulations affecting the licensing of fisheries flow. In the Atlantic, these include the Fishery (General) Regulations (FGR), the Atlantic Fishery Regulations (AFR) and the Aboriginal Communal Fishing Licenses Regulations (ACFLR). The AFR contains provisions for establishing close times, gear restrictions, size limits, fishing quotas and other tactics necessary for the proper management and control of the commercial snow crab fisheries. The tactics are then implemented through license conditions.

1.6.2 Domestic Licensing and Conservation Policies

The management of the commercial fisheries is governed by a suite of policies related to the granting of access, economic prosperity, resource conservation and traditional Aboriginal use. Information on these can be found on the DFO website at http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/policies-politiques/index-eng.htm. Notable policies include the Commercial Fisheries Licensing Policy for Eastern Canada, the New and Emerging Fisheries Policy and policies under the Sustainable Fisheries Framework, such as the policy framework for a precautionary approach to decision-making in fisheries.

1.6.3 Maritimes Framework for an Ecosystem Approach to Management

This management plan has been developed according to a framework for an ecosystem approach to management (EAM). The framework assists DFO with implementing departmental policies related to conservation and sustainable use, as well as with meeting obligations related to integrated management under the Oceans Act. The framework requires that fisheries management decisions reflect the impact of the fishery not only on the target species but also on non-target species, habitats and the ecosystems of which these species are a part. It also requires that decisions account for the cumulative effect of various ocean uses on the ecosystem. Additional information on the framework is included as Appendix 2 to this plan.

1.7 Approval Process

1.7.1 Integrated Fisheries Management Plan

Integrated fisheries management plans are developed by DFO in consultation with the fishing industry, provincial and territorial governments, First Nations communities, advisory bodies and other interested stakeholders and partners. For each CFA the Department convenes consultations twice yearly in an advisory forum known as the Snow Crab Advisory Committee. An early spring meeting focuses on management recommendations for the up-coming fishing season, taking into consideration evaluations from the post-season consultations held in the fall and the objectives for the fishery. The ENS Advisory Committee meetings are chaired by the Resource Manager, ENS while the 4X Advisory meeting is chaired by the Resource Manager, SWNS. Recommendations from these advisory bodies are sent to the Regional Director-General for approval.

2. STOCK ASSESSMENT, SCIENCE AND TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE

2.1 Biological Synopsis

The snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio) is a subarctic species. In the NW Atlantic Ocean, it lives on the continental shelf from northern Labrador to the Gulf of Maine. In the area of interest, the Scotian Shelf Ecosystem (SSE), commercially targeted snow crab (males > 95 mm carapace width (CW)) are generally observed between depths of 60 to 280 m; between temperatures of -1 to 6 C; and on soft mud bottoms. In their benthic stages, snow crabs move an average linear distance of 14.5 km/yr. with a maximum of 280 up to km/yr. The movement of immature and female crab is not known, and little is known of their habitat preferences.

Snow crab eggs are brooded by their mothers for 1 to 2 years. A primiparous female of approximately 57.4 mm CW would produce between 35,000 to 46,000 eggs which are extruded between February and April. Multiparous females are thought to be more fecund with more than 100,000 eggs being commonly observed. Eggs hatch from April to June and become pelagic, feeding upon the plankton for 3 to 5 months after which they settle to the bottom in autumn to winter. Very little is known of survival rates at these early life stages.

Once settled to the bottom (benthic stage), snow crab grow rapidly, moulting approximately twice a year. After the second year in the benthic stage, the frequency of moults decline, occurring about once a year in the spring until they reach a terminal maturity moult. Weight increases approximately 250% with each moult. Terminal moult has been observed to occur between the 9 or 11 years since egg extrusion. The life expectancy of a male is approximately 5 to 6 years in this terminally moulted stage. Up to 10 months are required for the shell to harden (carapace conditions 1 and early 2) and up to 1 year for meat yields to be commercially viable. After hardening of the carapace (carapace conditions 3 to 4) the male is able to mate. Near the end of the lifespan of a snow crab (carapace condition 5), the shell decalcifies and softens, often with heavy epibiont growth. In some warm-water environments (e.g., continental slope areas), epibiont growth occurs at an accelerated rate.

Primiparous females generally begin to moult to maturity at an average size of 60 mm CW and mate while their carapace is still soft (early spring). A second mating period later in the year (May to June) has also been observed for multiparous females. Complex behavioural patterns have also been observed: the male helps the primiparous female moult, protects her from other males and predators and even feeds her (indirectly). Pair formation (a mating embrace where the male holds the female) may occur up to 3 weeks prior to the mating event. Females are selective in their mate choice, as is often the case in sexually dimorphic species, and have been seen to die in the process of resisting mating attempts from unsolicited males. Males compete heavily for females and often injure themselves (losing appendages) while contesting over a female. Larger males with larger chela are generally more successful in mating and protecting females from harm.

2.2 Ecosystem Interactions

Prey items of larger (mature) crab include: echinoderms, polychaete worms and other worm-like invertebrates, detritus, large zooplankton, shrimps, smaller juvenile crabs (Rock crab, Cancer irroratus; Toad crab, Hyas coarctatus; Lesser toad crab, Hyas araneus), ocean quahog (Artica islandica), bivalve molluscs (e.g., Mytilus edulis, Modiolus modiolus), brittle stars (Ophiura sarsi, Ophiopholis aculeata) and sea anemones (Edwardsia sp., Metridium senile). Smaller snow crabs have been observed to feed upon: echinoderms, polychaete worms, large zooplankton, detritus and bivalves (e.g., Mytilus edulis, Modiolus modiolus, Hiatella arctica). Recent studies have also demonstrated that cannibalism is also highly prevalent in intermediately sized (morphometrically) mature female crabs. Most of these food items are part of the detrital food web, and so the proliferation of snow crab may be associated with the proliferation of the detrital subsystem (potentially at the expense of the other parts of the shelf ecosystem, including that of the demersals). The recent proliferation of northern shrimp (Pandalus borealis), another detritivore and also a potential food item of snow crab was co-incident with the rise in abundance of snow crab.

Predators of snow crab include: Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus), skates (especially thorny skate, Raja radiata), Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua), seals, American plaice (Hippoglossoides platessoides), squids, and other crabs. In particular, Atlantic cod and thorny skate have been noted for their potential to weaken recruitment and therefore stock productivity. Gut analysis of fish species sampled on the SSE suggests that at present, there are no predators that specialize upon snow crab. The fish species found to most frequently prey upon snow crab was the Atlantic wolfish (3.5% of the guts sampled since the year 2000 contained snow crab, n=253 guts). However, as total predation mortality is dependent upon the numerical abundance of the predator, and as the abundance of Atlantic wolfish and sculpins are thought to be low, their overall influence upon snow crab mortality is likely to be minimal. The formerly numerically more dominant groundfish likely exerted greater total predation mortality upon snow crab than these more specialized predators. Amongst these potential predators of snow crab, only cod, American plaice and Yellowtail flounder are found in co-association with snow crab. A strong negative relationship with snow crab was, however, only found with wolfish species, possibly associated with differing habitat preferences and requirements.

Seals are considered by fishers to be a potential predator of snow crab and their continued increase in abundance is a source of concern for many fishers. While they have on occasion been observed with snow crab in their stomachs, it should also be emphasized that the highest densities of snow crab are currently found in the immediate vicinity of Sable Island, an area where the abundance of grey seals are extremely high. The actual evidence indicating that seals have a negative influence upon the snow crab population, therefore, seems to be minimal. In fact, it is quite possible that seals may be having a positive influence by physically importing food and food waste (organic matter) from other more outlying areas to the immediate vicinity of Sable Island and so indirectly “feeding” the snow crab and also removing potential predators of crab (in both early pelagic and benthic stages).

The diet of snow crab overlap in many ways with that of groundfish, thus the demise of groundfish in the late 1980s and early 1990s would have been doubly beneficial to snow crab: reduction in predation pressure and also resource competition. The spatial distribution of snow crab overlaps with that of basket stars, sea cucumbers, sand lance, capelin and Toad Crab. Some of these species may be competitors of snow crab for food and habitat space. A strong negative relationship was not found between snow crab and other by-catch species, suggestive of little competitive interactions.

2.3 Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK)

Traditional ecological knowledge about the biology of the snow crab has been incorporated into the assessment of the snow crab in the Maritimes Region. Many of the early management measures such as size limits, fishing seasons and avoidance of soft-shelled crab were derived from the lessons learned by traditional fishers. Indeed, the start of the fishery in the area can be attributed to the observation of snow crab as by catch in Danish seines in the early 1970s. Since that time, fisher knowledge of locations where high commercial catches, females and immature snow crabs has informed the assessment process. Knowledge related to snow crab biological cycles, reproductive and moulting, have also been assimilated. Fisher experience and observations from both the aboriginal and non-aboriginal sources continues to inform the stock assessment directly through at-sea-observed data, and anecdotes shared through numerous meetings and communications as well as through focused, Industry-funded, Joint Project Agreements.

2.4 Stock Assessment

The stock assessment process utilizes data derived from targeted research vessel surveys conducted annually. The surveys were initiated and funded by snow crab fishers from the late 1990s until 2006. In 2007 until 2012, DFO contributed partial funding under the Laroque Relief Funding Program. In 2013, the trawl survey and assessment is once again funded completely by the licence holders.  Spatial coverage in the survey is extensive, going well beyond all known commercial fishing grounds; and intensive, with a minimum of one survey station located pseudo-randomly in every 10 × 10 minute area. Since 2004, approximately 400 stations have been sampled with the same vessel and captain. “Potential habitat” for fishable snow crab was modeled using data from snow crab trawl surveys, snow crab fisher logbook records and RV groundfish surveys. A nonlinear Bayesian state space stock assessment model (simple biomass dynamics model) is used to estimate the population parameters and projections. More methodological information can be found in the current stock assessment report.  http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/csas-sccs/Publications/SAR-AS/2012/2012_050-eng.html

2.5 Stock Scenarios

Stock prospects are considered to be positive and stable for the near future (five year time frame) for most areas. If exploitation strategies continue to be precautionary at approximately 20% of the fishable biomass, there is an expectation of stabilization of fishable biomass within this time frame. Long-term harvest rates between 10% and 30%, depending upon the strength of recruitment and mortality, are considered to be part of the strategy for sustainability in this fishery.

Potentially high catches of soft-shelled crab will continue to be an issue in the 5 year time frame. Handling of soft-shelled crab represents not only a potential source of unnecessary mortality to the fishable biomass but also a reduction of associated with the loss of growth potential, as there is a more than a doubling of weight with each moult. Localized over-depletion increases the likelihood of capture of soft-shelled crab. Most fishing areas are now able to manage soft-shell capture due to alterations in the timing of fishing season. In 2008, N-ENS fishers began their season in April rather than June. Soft-shelled crab capture was decreased significantly and CFA 23 and 24 followed suit by 2010.

2.6 Precautionary Approach (PA)

In the context of natural resource management, the precautionary approach (PA) identifies the importance of care in decision making by taking into account uncertainties and avoiding risky decisions. This is because natural ecosystems are intrinsically complex and unexpected things can and often do happen (e.g., Choi and Patten 2001). The origin of the PA is diffuse but has its first precursor in Rachel Carson’s 1962 book, Silent Spring, which caused widespread concern about the use of synthetic pesticides and eventually resulted in the abolition of DDT in many parts of the affluent world. The Stockholm Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (UNCHE 1972) was the first international environmental law recognizing the right to a healthy environment. This was taken a little further by the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED or the Brundtland Commission’s Report, Our Common Future, 1987) which highlighted the need for sustainable development. Subsequently, another conference was undertaken in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1992) which attempted to establish international agreements to protect the integrity of the environment while recognizing state sovereignty and therefore state responsibility for providing equitable resources for both present and future generations. Sustainable development, public participation in the decision making process, environmental impact assessments and management in particular of environmental pollution and degradation especially when harmful to human health were key points of agreement.

Many other international agreements were undertaken that re-affirmed these positions: the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982) that recognized territorial jurisdiction with a pollution focus in the EEZ; the FAO (1995) Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries emphasizing conservation and the precautionary approach, promoting selective fishing gear and responsible fishing methods; the UN Fishing Agreement (UNFA 2001) dealing with straddling and highly migratory fish stocks; the UN Convention on Biological Diversity which identified Ecosystem-Based Management as a global responsibility; the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD 2002) in Johannesburg reaffirmed the common agreement to "maintain or restore stocks to levels that can produce the maximum sustainable yield with the aim of achieving these goals for depleted stocks on an urgent basis and where possible not later than 2015”.

Canada, as a signatory to these international agreements, has a legally binding obligation to manage natural resources using a Precautionary Approach (DFO 2005, 2006; Shelton and Sinclair 2008). Ultimately, a PA means to not risk the long-term sustainability of the resource in focus and the ecosystem in which it is embedded. Fortunately, fostering the long-term sustainability of a natural resource in a fishery context also has the direct consequence of fostering the highest possible catch rates (CPUE) and associated socio-economic benefits of an efficient and vigorous fishery. Fostering the long-term biological and ecological sustainability can, therefore, foster the long-term socio-economic sustainability of the dependent industry.

Implementing a PA to resource management requires the careful consideration of all sources of information relating to the sustainability of both the resource in focus and the ecosystem in which it is embedded: scientific and traditional information and associated uncertainties. A further requirement is a transparent way of synthesizing this information to somehow measure the sustainability of the resource. The latter is required in order to provide feedback upon the success or lack thereof of specific management actions. To address this requirement, DFO (2006) suggested the use of spawning stock biomass (SSB) as a measure of “sustainability”. High levels of SSB were to be considered “healthy” and low levels “unhealthy”. Similarly, in the snow crab fishery, the focus is naturally upon the exploitable component: the “fishable biomass”. If the relative abundance of fishable biomass is high, most fishers, fisheries managers and fisheries scientists would consider it to be in a more “sustainable” state, and vice versa.

Unfortunately, this perspective is problematic. High abundance can cause a destabilization and collapse of a population through over-crowding, habitat degradation, disease and other density-dependent mechanisms. Well known examples include deer on islands that eventually overpopulates and eat themselves to extinction; humans on Easter Island that have over-harvested trees leading to population, societal and ecological collapses; or, the over-dominance of species (monocultures in farms and forests) than results in disease or fire outbreaks and eventually large-scale collapse (Diamond 2005). A high abundance does not necessarily equate to high sustainability. The problem lies with not the metric, but rather the focus upon a single indicator. Sustainability is a multidimensional concept that requires reliance upon a broader set of criteria that describes both the resource status and relationships between the focal resource and the surrounding ecosystem (Choi and Patten 2001).

For example, a sustainable snow crab population requires, at a minimum: stable and positive levels of egg production, recruitment and stable and comparable levels of natural mortality and ecosystem structure and function. “Natural mortality” and it's converse, “recruitment” are of course catch-all terms that are actually quite complex, involving age and size structure, sex ratios, genetic diversity and numerous ecosystem-level interactions (e.g., habitat variability, resource availability, predation, contaminant loads, disease prevalence, nutrient regeneration and mixing, carbon flux, control of invasive species). Any rapid change in one or more of these potential determinants of sustainability can undermine the long-term sustainability of snow crab. As all of these factors are variable in time and space, the stock assessment of snow crab in the ESS is highly attentive of these potential determinants of population and ecosystem sustainability.

The primary tools of fishery management are the control of fishing catch and effort. Generally, by reducing catch and effort, stock status and/or ecosystem context is expected to improve. However, the lack of recovery of cod since the cod-moratorium in the early 1990s in Atlantic Canada, suggests that even this “universal” expectation of fisheries control is more a belief than reality. A more risk-averse management approach would therefore seem to be prudent. For the snow crab fishery, the need for additional precaution is further demanded by the fact that the Scotian Shelf is the southern-most limit of the spatial distribution of snow crab. If environmental fluctuations occur in oceanographic currents and bottom temperatures, this is the area that can be expected to be most significantly influenced by such changes.

Ultimately, a population that is “sustainable” is one that is able to maintain the tenuous balance between the various conflicting demands placed upon it by the ecosystem in which it resides, in addition to the humans that influence or exploit it. The maintenance of this balance operates on many space-time scales and therefore requires adaptability (long-term – evolutionary processes) and resilience (short-term – ecological and population dynamic processes). To increase the chances that fishing practices and management actions will result in a sustainable resource, the fisheries influence must simply be small enough that the ability of a population to maintain this balance (adaptability and resilience) is not overtly disturbed or damaged. This requires that the footprint of the fishery (i.e., magnitude of its influence upon this ability) be small, relative to the biological footprint of the population (i.e., magnitudes of egg production, recruitment, “natural” mortality, and numerous other ecosystem-level processes).

Significantly, as the footprint of a fishery is itself context dependent (i.e., population & ecosystem), the use of fixed biological limit reference points of a single indicator is not at all PA-compliant as they are not sensitive to natural and human-induced alterations in the ecosystem context. To determine appropriate thresholds and reactive/mitigative measures for each ecosystem trait is also untenable due to the sheer size and complexity of the SSE and the longevity of the snow crab. However, relevant indicators are evaluated to at least detect rapid alterations. This information is used qualitatively and quantitatively to provide the context by which the snow crab fishery footprint is assessed. The magnitude of the fishery footprint is minimized aggressively when greater uncertainty is associated with this context (environmental variability, age and size structure irregularities, etc.). For example, if recruitment is poor or environmental conditions erratic, then a more conservative approach (lower exploitation rate) is adopted. Further, all scientific information is brought forward and deliberated in an open and transparent manner with scientists, managers, fishers, aboriginal groups and various stakeholders, as per the Rio Accord (UNCED 1992).

2.7 Reference points

Many pre-existing management measures and fishing practices in the snow crab fishery of area 4VWX are precautionary as they are based upon the known life history characteristics of snow crab:

  • Reproductive potential of the spawning stock biomass is not disrupted as only mature males are exploited. The fishery does not remove females.
  • Mature males are exploited mostly after the mating season (spring), reducing the possibility of sperm-limitation and potential genetic selection towards earlier (i.e. smaller) size at maturity.
  • Conservative exploitation strategies have generally been the norm, especially in recent years. Harvest rates are amongst the lowest in the NW Atlantic, usually ranging from 10% to 30% of the fishable biomass. This precaution is warranted as this stock is at the southern-most limit of the spatial distribution of snow crab in the western Atlantic. If fluctuations occur in environmental factors such as oceanographic currents and/or bottom temperatures, this area could be significantly influenced. Further, the persistent collapse of groundfish in the area suggests that species in this area may be susceptible to collapse and subsequent existence in a collapsed state.
  • Refugia from directed fishing pressures exist in the Gully MPA, along the continental slope, and much of the western inshore portion of CFA 24. Movement within all subareas has been observed, with mean distance traveled being 10-20 km / annum, with high variability (> 200 km / annum maximum).
  • Sub-legal (< 95mm CW) mature males and immature males are able to mate. As a result, even if the abundance of commercially exploitable mature males were severely depleted, this would not be a conservation issue. This is especially the case as female crabs are not exploited.
  • Immature and soft-shelled (newly-moulted, easily damaged) crab are not harvested and handling mortality is minimized via earlier seasons, area closures and at-sea observer monitoring of soft-shell incidence helping to maximize the potential yield per animal to the biomass.
  • Traditional and fishers' knowledge is incorporated by science into assessment approaches; fostering self-knowledge and long-term sustainability perspectives / stewardship by industry. This is achieved through open and transparent consultations and communications between all stakeholders' (fishers, aboriginal groups, NGOs, managers and scientists).
  • This fishery is well monitored through 100% dockside monitoring, at-sea-observer coverage (5-10% of landings) and mandatory VMS (Vessel Monitoring System) usage in most areas.

To reiterate, the primary objective of the above management measures and practices attempt to balance the stability processes operating on long-term (adaptability) and short-term (resilience) (see Choi and Patten 2001) in order to maintain the sustainability of the snow crab population as a whole and the fishery that is dependent upon it. It is therefore explicitly PA-compliant.

Even with these measures, knowledge of biological reference points for the targeted fraction of the population (mature males > 95 mm CW) are required to guide annual TAC advice and related management measures. There is no 'correct' or 'best' choice of reference points, especially given the fact that the underlying carrying capacity is variable over time; recruitment has been episodic and the SSB remains protected. In other words, the 4VWX snow crab population is not at, nor near any equilibrium state. As a result, the parameter estimates from the logistic biomass dynamics model provide only first order estimates of the true biological reference points (see methods). 

The current estimates (Choi et al. 2012) of “carrying capacity” of snow crab fishable biomass {with 95% CI} are:

  • NENS: 6.52 {5.07, 8.49} kt
  • SENS: 70.0 {48.8, 98.1} kt
  • CFA4X 1.25 {0.91, 1.75} kt

The following biomass-based reference points have been suggested for the snow crab fishery in NAFO area 4VWX:

  1. Lower Reference Point ( LRP): 25% of Carrying capacity
  2. Upper Stock Reference ( USR): 50% of Carrying capacity

Historically, when fishable biomass was between LRP and USR (in the “cautious” zone), more precautionary approaches towards harvest rates were deliberated and implemented (NENS: 2005-2008; SENS: 2005-2006; CFA 4X: 2004). When the fishable biomass declined to values approaching approximately 25% of carrying capacity (in the context of poor recruitment and poor reproductive output), discussions of fishery closures occurred (NENS: 2005-2008).

Such prolonged periods (observed from 2003 to 2007) of little to no recruitment into the fishable biomass represent the worst case scenario. Long-term conservation issues did not exist as females and small males continued to survive and reproduce. The declines in fishable biomass were due to the episodic nature of recruitment versus the longevity of the terminally moulted crab (~ 10 years between pulses with 3-5 years individual longevity). In such conditions, the fishable biomass on the tail-end of a recruitment pulse must sustain the fishery until the next recruitment pulse (i.e., “bridge the gap”). The maximum amount of time this can last is approximately 3 to 5 years (the known longevity of terminally moulted males). Using 4 years as an approximation, the expected turnover rate is approximately 1/4 or 25% per annum. Harvest rates of 10% to 30% have been arrived upon by trial and error in this fishery as reasonable levels. Such rates will result in depletion (natural + fishing) rates of 35% to 55% per annum. After 4 years, this would result in 18% to 4% of the starting biomass. As the starting biomass near the tail-end of recruitment pulse is likely less than K, the biomass levels after 4 years will be much less than LRP. Therefore, the following exploitation-based reference points are suggested:

  1. Removal Reference (RR): not to exceed FMSY as stock collapses have been observed with this practice
  2. Target removal reference (TRR): 20% of the fishable biomass (F=0.22), with secondary, contextual indicators altering harvest rates between 10 and 30% of fishable biomass (F=0.11 to F=0.36) where F is defined as the fishing mortality of the legal sized mature male population

Figure 1: Harvest control rules for the SSE snow crab fishery.

Harvest control rules for the SSE snow crab fishery

The target removal reference helps ensure the greatest longevity/sustainability of the fishery in this worst case-scenario. This optimization procedure follows from the optimal game-theoretic solution to “complex” (see below) scenarios: Nash's MiniMax Equilibrium which suggests that in the absence of knowledge of the optimal solution, minimizing losses (e.g., fisheries closures) will maximize overall gains (e.g., fishery sustainability and longevity). The “complex” referred to above are as a result of:

  •  this area being the southern-most distribution of snow crab
  • previous observations of extended periods of little to no recruitment
  • previous observations of extended periods of little to no mature female abundance
  • ecosystem uncertainties associated with predators / prey and environmental change
  • complex biology/behaviour and longevity

The current estimates (Choi et al. 2012) of FMSY {and 95% CI} are:

  • NENS: 0.25 {0.16, 0.36}
  • SENS: 0.35 {0.18, 0.60}
  • CFA4X: 0.64 {0.43, 0.94}

Operating under these target removal reference levels should also help maximize economic sustainability in that maintenance of high catch rates should result in an optimal (long-run) cost-benefit for fishery performance. The effectiveness of the precautionary approach and the reference points included in this IFMP will be reviewed and updated as required.

2.8 Future research priorities associated with reference points:

Many sources of uncertainty/challenges are associated with these reference points and the underlying biological model:

  • The fishery projection model is extremely simplistic and focused upon a limited fraction of the total population; intraspecific and interspecific compensatory dynamics are completely ignored. It is a “tactical” model for short-term projections rather than a “strategic” model for biological description and comprehension of longer-term conservation requirements associated with the precautionary approach.
  • Large changes in carrying capacity have been observed in the area: pre- and post-collapse of groundfish precludes an expectation of a single K (carrying capacity) estimate with associated reference points.
  • large spatial and temporal variations in recruitment strength precludes a simple r-parameter estimation.
  • large spatial and temporal variations in environmental conditions increase uncertainty in abundance indices and precludes any reasonable assumptions of fixed natural mortality/intrinsic rate of increase.
  • strong spatial and temporal variations in predator abundance, especially of pelagic and early (juvenile) benthic life stages of snow crab, precludes a simple assumption of fixed natural mortality/intrinsic rate of increase.
  • cannibalism, especially by mature females upon early benthic stages results in greater dynamical instability and precludes a constant natural mortality/intrinsic rate of increase assumption .
  • Anecdotal sources suggest illegal landings in SENS might be large (10 - 20 % of TACs) and variable over time. This is not accounted for.
  • Alteration of survey timing from spring (pre-2004) to fall (post-2004). Sampling at different points of annual biological cycles creates variable catchability/bias issues.
  • Life cycle is complex.

As a result, the following research priorities exist with regards to formulating more appropriate reference points:

  1. Describe environmental influence upon biological cycles (moulting, mating, egg production) and integrate into a more biologically reasonable model
  2. Refine the fishery model and survey index
  3. Incorporate predators and prey to the fishery model
  4. Incorporate growth and variable r, K parameters
  5. Identify core spawning and nursery grounds
  6. Refine larval production estimates
  7. Describe benthic and pelagic movement / connectivity
  8. Describe the role of environment/climate and predator-prey interactions upon pelagic and benthic larval survivorship

3. SOCIAL, CULTURAL AND ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE OF THE FISHERY

3.1 Landings, landed value and average price

Over the last 20 years, the Maritimes Region snow crab fishery has grown significantly in value and regional importance. From 1990 to 1999, the total value of snow crab ranged between $2 million and $13 million, accounting for up to 2.6% of the Region’s total landed value across all fisheries. Commencing in 2000, the fishery’s total landed value increased considerably. By 2003, the total value of the Region’s snow crab fishery had reached $71 million, contributing approximately 9% to the Region’s total landed value across all fisheries. Preliminary 2010 data suggests a snow crab landed value of approximately $55 million or 9.0% of the Region’s total landed value.

Maritimes snow crab landings are also a significant contributor to total Canadian snow crab landings. Since 2000, the Region’s share has averaged approximately 18% of total Canadian landings. The contribution of Canadian snow crab landings to total global production has also strengthened, increasing from less than 21% in 1990 to approximately 50% in 2008.

3.1.1 Maritimes Region Snow Crab

The Maritimes Region snow crab fishery experienced a period of growth starting in 1998 fuelled by large increases in the TAC and a doubling of fishing effort. This coupled with a landed price of $6.65/ kg led value to peak at approximately $71 million in 2003. Following this high in landed value poor recruitment and lower catch rates led to a 50% reduction in TAC. During the same period, price resistance in the United States and Japan led to an inventory build-upFootnote 1 causing landed price to drop to approximately $2.85/ kg in 2006. As a result total landed value fell to approximately $15 million that year.  Since 2006, the overall TAC and landed price has risen with a 2009 and 2010 preliminary total landed value in Maritimes Region estimated at $37 million and $55 million, respectively.

Figure 2: Maritimes Region Snow Crab Landings and Landed Value 1995-2010p

Bar graph of Maritimes Region Snow Crab Landings and Landed Value 1995-2010p

Source: Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Maritimes Region

The Maritimes Region snow crab fishery is managed as three main areas: Southern-Eastern Nova Scotia (S-ENS), Northern-Eastern Nova Scotia (N-ENS) and Crab Fishing Area (CFA) 4X.

3.1.2 South-Eastern Nova Scotia

In 2010, more than 93% of the Maritimes Region total landed value was caught in S-ENS. In 2003, the combination of high landings and an increased landed price led to a landed value of more than $58 million. This was followed by a steady decline with landings decreasing from 8,900 t in 2003 to 4,500 t in 2006. The drop in total landings occurred at the same time as the area’s landed price declined to $2.87/ kg leading to a low in landed value of $13 million for that year. Landings have since recovered, with preliminary 2010 data indicating landings of over 12,000 t. Landed price has also rebounded resulting in a total landed value of just over $50 million.

Figure 3:  S-ENS Snow Crab Landings and Landed Value 2000-2010p

Bar graph of S-ENS Snow Crab Landings and Landed Value 2000-2010p

Source: Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Maritimes

3.1.3 North-Eastern Nova Scotia

Following a period of high snow crab abundance and subsequent increases in TAC, landings in N-ENS reached a high of approximately 1,500 t in 2003. This resulted in a total landed value of more than $10 million. Immediately following this peak a reduction in TAC was implemented as a result of indications of poor recruitment and consistently lower catch. For N-ENS, this led to a greater than 50% reduction in TAC, and in 2007 landings fell to a low of 233 tFootnote 2. During the same year, landed value declined to just over $1 million. Since 2007, the TAC has risen and preliminary 2010 data estimates landings of 580 t and a total landed value of over $2.3 million.

Figure 4:  N-ENS Landings and Landed Value 2000-2010p

Bar graph of N-ENS Landings and Landed Value 2000-2010p

Source: Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Maritimes Region

3.1.4 Crab Fishing Area 4X

Landings in CFA 4X experienced minimal fluctuation from 2000 to 2010 with the majority remaining between approximately 200 t and 350 t. A high in landed price led to a peak in total landed value of over $2 million in 2003. Since then, landed price has decreased with preliminary data estimating a landed value of approximately $1.1 million in 2010.

Figure 5: 4X Snow Crab Landings and Landed Value 2000-2010p*

Bar graph of 4X Snow Crab Landings and Landed Value 2000-2010p*

Source: Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Maritimes Region
*Note: Landings by calendard year

3.2 Average Price and Landings Patterns

The average landed price of Maritimes Region snow crab has fluctuated considerably since 1995. Wide swings in price can be largely attributed to changes in global supply. The high landed price of $7.73/ kg, achieved in 1995, coincided with a decline in the Alaskan Crab fishery which significantly reduced global supply. Following an increase in Maritimes Region landings and a high in global snow crab production the landed price in the Region dropped to $2.98/ kg in 1998. Landed price began to increase once again reaching $6.65/ kg in 2003 due to decreased global supply and a strengthening US dollar. In the years following this high, the market experienced some price resistance in the United States and Japan. Low sales and the purchase of substitute products led to an inventory build-up and a drop in prices. By 2006, landed price had fallen to a 15 year low of $2.85/ kg.Footnote 3 Price remained relatively constant at approximately $4.50/ kg between 2007 and 2008. 2010 data indicates a drop in landed price to $3.97/ kg. Preliminary 2011 and 2012 landed value show an increase over 2010 data.

Table 2: Maritimes Region Snow Crab Landings, Landed Value and Price ($/ kg)
Year Landings (t) Price ($/ kg) Value ($000)
1995 1,565 $7.73 $12,093
1996 1,613 $6.59 $10,631
1997 1,688 $5.18 $8,740
1998 2,364 $2.98 $7,052
1999 3,673 $3.45 $12,688
2000 9,902 $5.30 $52,454
2001 10,435 $4.08 $42,593
2002 10,852 $5.75 $62,381
2003 10,779 $6.65 $71,732
2004 9,923 $6.61 $65,634
2005 8,149 $4.25 $34,642
2006 5,343 $2.85 $15,232
2007 5,396 $4.54 $24,517
2008 8,870 $4.58 $40,626
2009 11,604 $3.18 $36,905
2010 13,999 $3.97 $55,576
2011 13,032 $5.53 $72,067
2012p 12,435 $4.98 $61,926
Source: Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Maritimes Region
Note: Landings by calendar year.

3.3 Employment

In 2009, there were an estimated 168 vessels fishing snow crab in Maritimes Region. Over 61% of these vessels fished in S-ENS, another 35% fished in N-ENS while the remainder was in CFA 4X. Based on an estimated crew size of three in N-ENS and four in the other two areas, 614 individuals were employed at some point during the year.

Table 3 Employment by Fishing Area, 2009
Fishing Area Vessels Crew Size Employment
S-ENS 103 4 412
N-ENS 58 3 174
4X 7 4 28
Total 168   614

It is assumed that those working on snow crab vessels would be employed for the duration of the fishing season. This translates into six months of employment in S-ENS (April-September), four months of employment in N-ENS (April-May or July-August) and seven months of employment in CFA 4X (November-May).

3.3.1. Fleet Costs and Earnings

Average Landed Value by License Holder

The average landed value of snow crab earned by license holders varies greatly by fishing area.

Those fishing in S-ENS earned, on average, the highest landed value per license holder in any given year over the period examined. In 2009, the average value in the area was $347,000. This was a decrease from close to $400,000 in 2004 but marked a 25% improvement from 2000 when the landed value was, on average, $278,000.

Figure 6: Average Landed Value by License Holder

Bar Graph of Average Landed Value by License Holder from North East Nova Scotia, 4 X, and South East Nova Scotia from 2000-2009

Source: Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Maritimes Region
Note: Figures are based on the total number of licences

In CFA 4X, the average landed value per license holder has fluctuated since 2000. From 2004 to 2009 value decreased from $190,000 to $108,000.

In 2009, the average landed value per license holder in N-ENS was approximately $34,000. This was significantly lower than earlier in 2004 when landed value averaged $119,000. The fall in average landed value coincided with reductions in TAC and reductions in landings.

3.3.2. Harvesting Costs

Detailed information on operating expenses for snow crab harvesters in the Maritimes Region is not available. The Department’s most recent attempt to gather information on expenses was through its 2004 national Cost and Earnings Survey. This survey was voluntary and collected information on activities related to fishing operations, fishing effort, fishing and other revenues, vessel acquisition costs, operating and maintenance expenses, other revenues and long-term debt position for the 2004 fishing season. The response rate for Maritimes Region snow crab harvesters was very low, with only 23% responding in N-ENS and 14% responding in S-ENS. This translated into three and four partially and fully completed questionnaires for those fishing in N-ENS and S-ENS, respectively.Footnote 4 This low response rate was not statistically significant to make any inference about the costs and earnings performance of the snow crab fleets in the Maritimes Region.

However, results from the same survey provided information on snow crab harvesters operating in Gulf, Newfoundland and Quebec Regions. According to this survey, the biggest expenses for harvesters were labour, fuel and bait. In 2004, labour costs were the largest expense for harvesters in the three regions ranging from 50% to 75% of total operating and maintenance expenses. Fuel costs were estimated at between 3% and 11% of total operating and maintenance expenses. It should be noted that the price of diesel has increased significantly since then, with current fuel price approximately 30% higher than the 2004 average. Bait expenses varied by fleet from approximately 1% to 10% of total operating and maintenance expenses.

3.4. Dependency

County Dependency

Landings from the snow crab fisheries have become an important contributor to total landed value across all fisheries for Richmond and Cape Breton County.

In 2009, the majority of the Region’s snow crab was landed in Richmond, Cape Breton and Guysborough counties, which correspond to the area adjacent S-ENS and N-ENS. Richmond and Cape Breton County are most dependent on snow crab with the species contributing approximately 46% and 31%, respectively, to each county’s total landed value.

Table 4 Landed Values by County, 2009
County Landed Value ($million) Snow Crab % of Total
Snow Crab Total – All Species
RICHMOND $12.0 $26.3 46%
CAPE BRETON $13.6 $44.2 31%
GUYSBOROUGH $8.2 $45.9 18%
HALIFAX $1.3 $22.6 6%
OTHER $1.8 $176.7 1%
Total $36.9 $315.7 12%
Note: Other includes Queens, Victoria, Lunenburg and Shelburne Counties

Participant Dependency

Dependency on snow crab varies considerably by fleet, with some almost entirely dependent while others have less than one third of their total value coming from the snow crab fishery.

Southern-Eastern Nova Scotia

Participants in the S-ENS snow crab fishery are highly dependent on the species. On average, 85% of the participants’ total landed value came from snow crab in 2009. Furthermore, over half of all participants were 100% dependent on snow crab during that year. Participants not solely fishing snow crab also harvested species such as lobster, shrimp, groundfish, sea scallop and rock crab.

Crab Fishing Area 4X

Participants in the CFA 4X fishery were dependent on snow crab landings for approximately 60% of their total value in 2009. All participants also reported landing other species with lobster the most common, followed by various groundfish species.

Northern-Eastern Nova Scotia

Those fishing snow crab in N-ENS were least dependent on the species. On average, approximately 47% of their total value came from snow crab and less than 10% of participants were entirely dependent on the fishery in 2009. The majority of those fishing other species participated in the lobster fishery. Other species commonly caught include mackerel, herring, sea scallop and other types of crab.

Aboriginal Communities

In 2009, there were 8 Mi’kmaq communities and one aboriginal community that fished 37 commercial snow crab licenses. All participants also fished other species with snow crab contributing approximately 56% to the total landed value. The majority of participants also fished lobster, while some fished other species such as groundfish, shrimp and sea scallops. These licenses are also included in the individual fleet sections.

3.5. Global Landings, Trade and Markets

Global Trade

Information regarding global trade of snow crab is not available for all countries as the species is often combined into a more general crab category. As a result, an accurate estimation of exports and imports of snow crab is not available.

More broadly, the total exported value of all crab by all countries was estimated to be over $2 billion (USD) in 2007. Canada was the largest exporter of crab with 25% of the value of global exports originating from the country. This was followed by China and Russia exporting 16% and 11%, respectively.

Nova Scotia Export Market

In 2009, approximately 8,500 t of snow crab valued at over $72 million was exported from Nova Scotia. The US was the largest consumer with approximately 81% of the value destined for the country. Japan was the next largest market with 14% of the total, with the remaining value distributed amongst eight other countries. In recent years, the majority of snow crab exports have been minimally processed with over 98% frozen, in shell (including boiled and peeled).

Figure 7: Nova Scotia Snow Crab Export Value, 2009

Pie chart of Nova Scotia Snow Crab Export Value, 2009

Market Preferences

The two main markets for snow crab are the United States and Japan. According to Gardner Pinfold’s 2006 report, Overview of the Atlantic Snow Crab Industry, the United States market prefers sections or clusters of legs with the majority of exports in the frozen section form. There are three main food service segments: mid-price restaurants lower priced Asian and Seafood buffets and casinos. All three food service segments are highly price sensitive and will quickly switch to lower cost alternatives following an increase in price.

The Japanese market is more varied with snow crab supplied live, whole frozen, in gas and brine sections, and as crab meat for the sushi market. Canadian exports to Japan are mostly in the frozen section form with meat extractions occurring in plants in China or other southwest Asian countries. In Japan, snow crab is viewed as a more high-end product with food service segments consisting of vacation or luxury restaurants serving whole crab or crab sections, and sushi restaurants serving crab meat. The retail segment is primarily department stores that promote snow crab during gift-giving seasons. 5

Processing sector

In Nova Scotia, of the 155 plants licensed to process snow crab, only 12 have ever been active in the industry. Half of these active plants started processing snow crab between 1999 and 2000 following an increase in TAC and landings on the eastern Scotian Shelf.

Almost all snow crab goes through some form of processing with the majority processed into sections or clusters of legs. Processing involves four steps: butchering, cooking, freezing and packing. The processing capacity varies by plant with smaller plants capable of producing 5,000 lbs. /hour (live weight) and the larger ones upwards of 20,000 lbs. /hour (live weight).

In 2005, there were ten active plants in Nova Scotia that processed an estimated 14,427 t of snow crab over a six-eight week period. This resulted in employment for between 1,075 and 1,435 workers at some point during the year (Table 3). These estimates are average weekly figures for the main part of the season, total production and employment may have been higher during peak periods.

Table 5 Estimated Employment in Snow Crab Processing, 2005
Plants # (1) Live Weight
tonnes (2)
Output tonnes (3) Hours
worked
‘000s (4)
Plant
operations 
# weeks (5)
Person
weeks # (6)
Number
employed # (7)
10 14,427 8,945 430-570 6-8 8,600-11,500 1,075-1,435

Notes
1. Plants active in 2005
2. Assumes all or most of landings in province stay in province
3. Assumes section production with 62% yield
4. Based on 30-40 hours per tonne live weight
5. Based on landings data
6. Derived from hours assuming 5-day week at 10 hours/day, with plants working six-day weeks and double-shifting
7. Derived by dividing person weeks by number of weeks worked. The figures represent plant workers actually engaged in processing crab.

These figures may differ from provincial employment estimates based on total workers employed in plants processing crab as well as other species.

Source: Overview of the Atlantic Snow Crab Industry

REFERENCES:

DFO. (2007). Costs and Earnings Survey 2004: Atlantic Region Report (Catalogue No. Fs23-501/2004E; DFO2006-1143). Economic Analysis and Statistics Division, Ottawa.

DFO. (2005). Eastern Nova Scotia Snow Crab. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Sci. Advis. Rep. 2005/032.

Gardner Pinfold. (2006). Overview of the Atlantic Snow Crab Industry.

4. MANAGEMENT ISSUES

4.1. Fisheries Issues

4.1.1. By-catch of snow crab in other fisheries

The by-catch of snow crab by other fisheries remains an area requiring attention. The inshore lobster fishery may represent a source of juvenile and adult female snow crab mortality in some areas due to their capture in lobster traps and illegal use as bait. Additionally, by-catch of snow crab in Danish seines has been reported historically from flatfish fisheries.

4.1.2. By-catch in the snow crab fishery

At-sea observed estimates of by-catch of other species in the commercial catch of the SSE snow crab fishery can be extrapolated to the entire fleet based on landings and the proportion of landings observed. In ENS, a total of 13,717 t of snow crab were landed in 2010 with associated estimates of by-catch at 2.4 t (0.018% of snow crab landings). CFA 4X shows an order of magnitude higher by-catch rates, with a total estimated by-catch of 0.4 t associated with 229.4 t of snow crab landings (0.17 %). The low incidence of by-catch in commercial catch of the SSE snow crab fishery can be attributed to: trap design – top entry conical traps excludes many fish species; the passive nature of fishing gear as opposed to other gear types such as trawl nets, which also increases survival of by-catch discards; and large mesh-size of trap netting, a minimum 5.25” knot to knot. The majority of by-catch for all areas is composed of other invertebrate species (e.g., Northern stone crab and American lobster) for which higher survival rates can be expected after being released as compared to fin fish discards.

4.1.3. Gear Conflict

Beginning in 2000, the snow crab fishery located off of eastern Nova Scotia started approximately two months earlier and ending one month later in the fall then historical fishing patterns. The expansion of the season length has increased the potential of gear conflict between the snow crab fleet and the shrimp fleet in Crab Fishing Areas (CFAs) 23 & 24. Both fleets use the same geographical location and the May-June time period is particularly important to the shrimp fishers as 75% of their catch is traditionally caught during those months. This gear conflict became more prominent during 2010 when the snow crab season was opened in early April. It is expected that the snow crab season will continue to open in early April.

Negotiations between the fleets led to large areas from which the snow crab fleet voluntarily restricted their fishing until late July. Further co-operation has been able to produce smaller areas of closure for the snow crab fleet which are enforced by DFO through license conditions. Discussions on optimizing the closed areas continue.

The closed areas will continue to be in place at the start of the snow crab season, and will be modified through negotiation between the fleets in an attempt to minimize conflict.

4.2. Oceans and Habitat Consideration:

4.2.1. Effect of climate regime change on stock status

Environmental influences upon snow crab include substrate type, temperature variations, and oxygen concentrations. The spatial extent of potential snow crab habitat has been mostly quite stable in the historical record. In N-ENS, the surface area of predicted snow crab habitat has varied between 1.4 to 3.5 × 103 km². For S-ENS, the surface area of potential habitat has varied with similar oscillations, ranging from between 25 to 44 × 103 km². In CFA 4X, the southern-most limit of the distribution of snow crab, potential habitat has been highly variable, ranging from 0 to 2.2 × 103 km². Within the area that may be considered potential snow crab habitat, average bottom temperatures were generally quite stable: 3.2, 3.3 and 6.2 C in N-, S-ENS and CFA 4X, respectively. Rapid climate change can directly influence spatial distributions and therefore stock productivity and recruitment.

4.2.2. Oil and gas exploration and exploitation

Oil and gas exploration in the SSE near to, or upstream or even directly over major crab fishing grounds and population centers has been identified by numerous fishers as a source of concern. Seismic exploration activities continue even though the potential effects of these seismic methods of exploration upon vulnerable components of the snow crab population are not known. Snow crab are known to jettison legs or die when physically shocked (i.e., dropped onto the deck of a boat). This is an important unknown especially as pressure waves can be amplified and wavelengths of pressure waves altered when moving through media of differing densities (e.g., when they are burrowed in mud). Further, the long-term effects of drilling and extraction can influence : reproductive success arising from damage to eggs and/or modification of reproductive behaviour; soft-shelled crab are particularly sensitive to physical trauma; immature snow crab are found in shallower waters where the magnitude of seismic energy reaching the bottom will be much greater than in offshore applications. Being a very long-lived species, the snow crab is exposed to environmental hazards for up to 16 years since egg extrusion. As such, the following are additional concerns: exposure to anoxic conditions from drilling; and bioaccumulation of heavy metals and toxic organic chemicals.

4.3. Gear Impacts

The impacts of trap line gear such as that used in the snow crab fishery are reviewed in the DFO CSAS publication: “DFO. 2010. Potential impacts of fishing gears (excluding mobile bottom-contacting gears) on marine habitats and communities. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Sci. Advis. Rep. 2010/003”.
http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/CSAS/Csas/publications/sar-as/2010/2010_003_e.pdf

Leatherback and Loggerhead turtles - Leatherback (SARA Schedule 1 – Endangered) and Loggerhead (COSEWIC – Endangered) turtles are incidentally captured in nets and entangled in fishing lines in pelagic and coastal foraging areas and in migratory corridors. Leatherbacks are the most vulnerable of all Atlantic sea turtles to entanglement in fishing gear, such as pelagic longlines, fixed pot gear and gillnets, buoy anchor lines, and other ropes and cables. Leatherback turtle entanglements have been reported in the snow crab fishery, but live animals must be released in the least harmful manner. Observed entanglements to date have witnessed minimal or no damage. The Leatherback population in Atlantic waters can sustain human-induced mortality from fishing and other activities of up to 1 percent. The Leatherback turtle Recovery Strategy permits the incidental capture of Leatherbacks by commercial fisheries, the mortality from which is estimated to be less than 1 percent.
http://www.sararegistry.gc.ca/virtual_sara/files/plans/rs_Leatherback_turtle_Atlantic_population_0207_e.pdf

Northern bottlenose whales - Interactions between fishing activities and Northern bottlenose whales (SARA Schedule 1 – Endangered) are not well understood. Observations have shown a small number of Northern bottlenose whales entangled in, or interacting with, longline fishing gear, but not with trap line gear. Northern bottlenose whales are protected by the Gully Marine Protected Area Zone 1, which has been identified as critical habitat for the Scotian Shelf population (see below). Other cetacean species (e.g., Blue whales) are at risk of gear entanglement given their overlap in space and time between the snow crab trap fishery and annual summer whale migrations along the Scotian Shelf and slope.

North Atlantic Right Whales - North Atlantic Right Whales (SARA Schedule 1 – Endangered) infrequently range across the Eastern Scotian Shelf into the Gulf of St. Lawrence in mid-to-late summer months, potentially overlapping with snow crab fishery. The risk of Right Whale entanglements with snow crab trap gear is therefore greater than zero. The current potential biological removal (PBR) for the North Atlantic Right Whale population is zero whales per year, so the population cannot incur direct or indirect mortality from human activity.

http://www.sararegistry.gc.ca/virtual_sara/files/plans/rs_north_atl_right_whale_0609_e.pdf/

Atlantic wolffish - Atlantic wolffish (SARA Schedule 1 - Special Concern) and northern and spotted wolffish (SARA Schedule 1 - Threatened) distributions may overlap with the snow crab fishery on the Scotian Shelf. However, wolffish species are not normally reported as bycatch in snow crab trap gear, but if landed, wolffish post-catch survival is expected to be high as all bycatch is mandatorily returned to the water by snow crab fishers. A SARA wolffish recovery strategy has been prepared and biological limit and reference points are in development.
http://www.sararegistry.gc.ca/virtual_sara/files/plans/rs_Atlantic_Northern_and_Spotted_Wolffish_0208_e.pdf

Lost gear from the Scotian Shelf snow crab trap fishery represents a potential entanglement threat to sea turtles, whales, and bottom-dwelling species (e.g., coral and/or sponge communities).

5. OBJECTIVES

There are five overarching objectives that guide fisheries management planning in the Maritimes Region. They are guided by the principle that the fishery is a common property resource to be managed for the benefit of all Canadians, consistent with conservation objectives, the constitutional protection afforded Aboriginal and treaty rights, and the relative contributions that various uses of the resource make to Canadian society, including socio-economic benefits to communities.

Conservation objectives

  1. Productivity: Do not cause unacceptable reduction in productivity so that components can play their role in the functioning of the ecosystem.
  2. Biodiversity: Do not cause unacceptable reduction in biodiversity in order to preserve the structure and natural resilience of the ecosystem.
  3. Habitat: Do not cause unacceptable modification to habitat in order to safeguard both physical and chemical properties of the ecosystem.

Social, cultural and economic objectives

  1. Culture and Sustenance: Respect Aboriginal and treaty rights to fish.
  2. Prosperity: Create the circumstances for economically prosperous fisheries.

The conservation objectives are those from the Maritimes Region’s framework for an ecosystem approach to management (EAM framework). They require consideration of the impact of the fishery not only on the target species but also on non target species and habitat. (See Appendix 2 for a summary of the regional EAM framework.)

The social, cultural and economic objectives reflect the Aboriginal right to fish for food, social and ceremonial purposes. They also recognize the economic contribution that the fishing industry makes to Canadian businesses and many coastal communities. Ultimately, the economic viability of fisheries depends on the industry itself. However, the Department is committed to managing the fisheries in a manner that helps its members be economically successful while using the ocean’s resources in an environmentally sustainable manner.

6. STRATEGIES AND TACTICS

This section of the IFMP presents the strategies and tactics being used in this fishery to achieve the objectives listed in Section 5. For a general description of strategies and tactics in the context of the regional EAM framework, see Appendix 2.

Table 6 Strategies and tactics
Strategies Tactics
PRODUCTIVITY

Keep fishing mortality of snow crab moderate by maintaining harvest rates between 10 and 30% of fishable biomass.

When Biomass is Above the Upper Reference Point (URP):

  • Measures should promote the fully-recruited biomass remaining above the URP.
  • The target exploitation rate will be 10-30% of fully recruited biomass.  
  • Above the Upper Stock Reference point there is flexibility in increasing the exploitation rate.
  • The TAC can be increased despite projected decline in the biomass, provided it is not expected to reduce the fully recruited biomass significantly below the URP.

When Biomass is between the Lower Reference Point (LRP) and the Upper Reference Point (URP):

  • Measures should generally promote the rebuilding of biomass towards the Upper Reference Point, subject to natural fluctuations that may be expected to occur in biomass and survey results.
  • The target exploitation rate will be 0-20% of fully recruited biomass.
  • The TAC should not be increased if this can reasonably be expected to result in decline trend in the fully recruited biomass.

When Biomass is below the Lower Reference Point (LRP):

  • Fishery closure until recovery: at a minimum, such that fishable biomass >LSR.
  • TAC
  • Minimum size (males > 95mm carapace width)
  • Mesh and trap sizes
  • Mandatory release
  • Area closures (soft-shell protocol) Areas greater than 20% are closed.
  • Seasons
  • Education & awareness (website).
  • Area and season closures (abundance maps), education & awareness (website)
  • Biodegradable panels, shrimp box closures
BIODIVERSITY

Control unintended incidental mortality of all non-harvested species (ref leatherbacks = <1% mortality from all anthropogenic activity; ref North Atlantic Right Whale = 0 mortality from human activity).

  • Use of weighted buoy lines
  • Mandatory release
  • Gully MPA (bottlenose whale)
  • Early seasons

Control introduction and proliferation of disease/pathogens.
Reference: constant prevalence.

  • Isolation and removal of diseased animals
HABITAT

Manage area disturbed of habitat (ref = no activity).

  • Gully MPA and coral closures
CULTURE AND SUSTENANCE

Provide access for food, social and ceremonial purposes.

  • Annual FSC licenses (none currently)
PROSPERITY

Limit inflexibility in policy and licensing among individual enterprises/license holders.

  • Flexible opening and closing dates
  • Trap limits, effort distribution
  • Permitted release
  • Substitute operator
  • License partnership

Minimize instability in access to resource and allocations.

  • Individual transferrable quotas

Limit inability for self-adjustment to overcapacity relative to resource availability.

  • Temporary and permanent transferring of individual quotas
  • License partnership

Support certification for sustainability.

  • Provision of data, where available

6.1 Productivity

Keep fishing mortality of snow crab moderate by maintaining harvest rates between 10 and 30% of fishable biomass.

In order to keep fishing mortality moderate, a number of tactics are used: annual setting of TACs determined from fishery-independent surveys; the setting of a minimum size (males > 95mm carapace width) in order to protect recruitment and reproductive females from exploitation and; control of Mesh and trap sizes to reduce capture of sub-legal sized crab; the mandatory release of sub-legal catch and bycatch; area closures (soft-shell protocol) to reduce handling mortality of more vulnerable soft-shelled crab; Areas greater than 20% are closed; the usage of fish seasons to avoid localized over-fishing and capture of soft-shelled crab; Education & awareness (https://sites.google.com/site/nssnowcrab/); Area and season closures/adjustments based upon regional depletion detected in abundance maps and potential conflicts with shrimp box closures; and the usage of biodegradable panels to prevent ghost fishing.

Allow sufficient escapement from exploitation for spawning

In order to ensure sufficient escapement from exploitation for spawning and reproduction, there is a mandatory release of all females.

6.2. Biodiversity

Control unintended incidental mortality of all non-harvested species mortality from all anthropogenic activity

In order to control incidental mortality unexploited species, a number of measures have been implemented. These include: the use of weighted buoy lines that assist in reduction of potential entanglement of large species such as whales, and turtles; the mandatory release of all bycatch; observance of a ban on fishing in the Gully MPA to mitigate potential entanglement of species such as the bottlenose whale. Starting the fishery in the spring (April) rather than the summer has also had the positive consequence of mitigating turtle and whale entanglement.

Control introduction and proliferation of disease/pathogens

The control the introduction of disease or pathogens, the health of the population is assessed annually and the prevalence of common diseases monitored. All diseased organisms are disposed of in landfills to reduce further proliferation.

6.3. Habitat

Manage area disturbed of habitat

In order to ensure the fishery is not having a negative impact on habitat important to snow crab and other species, the main strategy employed will be to manage the habitat potentially disturbed by the fishery. This will be implemented by clearly establishing via License Conditions areas where snow crab fishing is not allowed, including but not limited to the Gully Marine Protected Area, the Lophelia Coral Conservation Zone, and the Northeast Channel Coral Conservation Zone.

6.4. Culture and Sustenance

The strategy for achieving the culture and sustenance objective is provision of access to fisheries through Food, Social and Ceremonial licenses. Currently, there are no FSC licenses in the snow crab fishery.

6.5. Prosperity

Limit inflexibility in policy and licensing to individual enterprises and license holders

a. Flexible opening and closing dates

The Department limits inflexibility in the management of the Snow Crab fishery by allowing the fishing season opening and closing dates to be negotiated on an annual basis. Any request for season changes are reviewed by the management board and are dependent on a number of factors, such as: market conditions, product quality, gear conflict, processing requirements and weather. This affords the industry the flexibility to schedule harvests to maximize catch potential and better meet market demands.

b. Trap limits, effort distribution

In the snow crab fishery, trap limits are in place as a secondary effort control following Total Allowable Catch (TAC). Trap limits help ensure that harvesters are able to maximize fishing effort, avoid over-exploitation and conduct harvesting operations in an efficient manner. This is achieved by allowing more traps for those who fish farther from shore and limiting traps in areas that are over-harvested. An example of this is in CFA 23 where harvesters who restrict themselves to fishing farther than 60nm from shore are permitted to fish 75 traps. This allows harvesters to land a comparable catch in fewer trips, thus reducing fishing costs and potentially increasing overall profit.

c. Permitted release

Harvesters who land soft-shell, small clawed and black Snow Crab are permitted to return these crabs to water. Soft-shell and black shell Snow Crab have minimal commercial value, whereas small clawed Snow Crab are immature and will continue to grow. By returning these crabs to water overall Snow Crab quality is expected to increase.

d. Substitute operator

As outlined in the Commercial Fishing Licensing Policy for Eastern Canada - 1996, the Department limits inflexibility in licensing policy by permitting snow crab harvesters to identify a substitute operator to access their allocation of the Snow Crab harvest during a temporary period of time for which the license holder is ill or otherwise unable to operate their vessel. The substitute operator is permitted to operate the vessel for the term of the license, but may not exceed a total period of five years.

In addition, license holders may also identify a substitute operator to harvest their share of the resource during the period of overlap with the Lobster fishing season.

Both substitute operator arrangements provide the license holder the ability to maximize catch and avoid losses in revenue.

Minimize instability in access to resources and allocations

a. Individual quotas

Each snow crab fishing area is assigned a Total Allowable Catch (TAC) which is distributed among license holders in each respective fleet based on a predetermined permanent quota allocation. The quota allocations are distributed as a percentage of the overall TAC. While the overall TAC may fluctuate as the resource biomass changes, fleet participants are ensured that they will continue to have a percentage of the TAC to harvest. In 2012, the snow crab allocations are considered stabilized.

Limit inability for self-adjustment to overcapacity relative to resource availability

a. Temporary and permanent transferring of individual quotas

During and following the fishing season, Snow Crab license holders are able to temporarily transfer a specified quota amount to another participant. This provides participants the ability to self-adjust if they are faced with quota they are unable to harvest or conversely, allows participants to fish above their quota if the resource is available.

Snow crab license holders may also wish to acquire an additional permanent share in the fishery; while others may wish to decrease their level of participation or exit from the fishery. This provides license holders the mechanism to self-adjust their harvesting capacity to meet resource availability. It also provides license holders the opportunity to exit the industry.

b. License partnership

As described above in Section 1.5, the current Licensing Policy allows Snow Crab license holders to form partnerships. Creating partnership gives license holders the ability to self-adjust and reduce operations during a time when resource availability is low or operating costs are high. It also provides license holders the opportunity to exit the industry.

Support certification for sustainability.

In July, 2012 a PRESS RELEASE announced the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification of the Scotian Shelf snow crab fishery, the only snow crab certified in North America. Suppliers include all Nova Scotia snow crab producers. DFO provided information to support the Action Plan submitted to the Marine Stewardship Council with the caveat that DFO’s contributions will be limited to actions that align with DFO annual work plan activities.

7. ACCESS AND ALLOCATION

7.1. Licence Eligibility Criteria

Eligible fishers are those meeting the criteria under the Commercial Fisheries Licensing Policy for Eastern Canada, 1996.

Shareholders within Core companies must be the head of a Core enterprise. Shares in the Core companies are transferable to any eligible fisher within the Maritimes region.

  • Snow crab companies are eligible to be issued licences for snow crab only (i.e. cannot hold a licence for another species).
  • A licence issued to a snow crab company cannot be re-issued to an individual. A minimum amount of one quota share is required to maintain the eligibility of the Core Company to continue to hold the licence. Licence eligibility expires when all quota is permanently transferred.
  • Snow crab companies must identify a DFO Contact who will be authorized to conduct business on behalf of the Company. DFO Contacts can be shareholders, but can also be a non-share holder (Director of an Association for example). DFO will only take direction from the appointed DFO Contact for any transactions requested.
  • Shareholders may leave or be added to the list of shareholders subject to Articles of Incorporation of the Company. Any time one or more shareholders change, the Company must advise DFO of the change within 15 days and provide a revised certified list of shareholders.
  • Shareholders cannot be associated with more than one snow crab licence (i.e. they cannot hold an individual licence and also be a shareholder in a snow crab company).

In 2009, the Minister stabilized access and allocations in the ENS and 4X snow crab fisheries (see http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/peches-fisheries/comm/sharing-partage/sasa-2010-epsa-eng.htm)
Current license and shareholders who wish to enter or exit the fishery may transfer their licenses or shares to fishers who meet the general criteria of the Commercial Fisheries Licensing Policy for Eastern Canada 1996.

7.2. Quota Share Transferability

Snow crab company quota shares are transferable to heads of core enterprises, aboriginal communities and fish harvesters who meet the criteria to be issued a core enterprise as defined in the Commercial Fisheries Licensing Policy for Eastern Canada 1996.

In keeping with s.8 of the Commercial Fisheries Licensing Policy for Eastern Canada 1996, snow crab company shareholders are restricted to owning shares in only one snow crab company. Notwithstanding the single snow crab company shareholder restriction - snow crab company shareholders’ may acquire multi snow crab shares from multi snow crab companies. Following the acquisition of a share(s) from another snow crab company, the share(s) must be amalgamated with all other shares on one licence.

Snow crab company shares and the subsequent quota allocations are subject to established transfer limits in the snow crab fishery.

7.3. Quota Transfers

Both permanent and temporary transfers are permitted in all ENS and 4X crab fishing areas. Temporary transfers revert back to the original licence at the end of the season.

There are limits to the number of allocations that can be transferred. As of 2013, the limits are as follows:
In CFA 20-22 fishers agreed to allow permanent transfers to an upper limit of three allocations (one permanent and two temporary) provided to the existing permanent fleet (4.5% of the N-ENS TAC).

In CFA 23 fishers agreed to an upper limit of triple the allocation provided to the existing permanent fleet (4.83% of the TAC). Within this limit permanent transfers were permitted but limited to double the initial allocation (3.22% of the TAC).

In CFA 24 fishers agreed to an upper limit of triple the allocation provided to the existing permanent fleet (6% of the TACC (TAC minus the Millbrook allocation)). This limit would apply to any combination of permanent and temporary transfers.

4X licence holders have not established consolidation limits.

7.4. Quota Over-Runs

Occasionally, fishers will underestimate their catch; consequently, their total landings will exceed their individual quota. A fisher is in an overrun situation when the full quota indicated on the licence has been landed. Best practices dictate that, during the season, fishers should not hail out until additional quota has been requested and confirmed by the Department through the quota transfer process.

An ITQ system is in place for CFA 20-24 so transfers may be done to adjust any overruns. Following the fishery, the Department will advise any licence holder with an overrun in writing of their total reported landings as documented by the DFO quota monitoring system. Following a period for reply by the licence holder, any excess landings will be recorded and deducted from that licence holder's Individual Quota (IQ) for the following season.

7.5. N-ENS Quota Shares (as of April 25, 2013)

N-ENS LICENSE HOLDER LICENSE # % SHARE OF TAC
DIXON, NELSON L 100090 1.2838%
HUNTER, JOSEPH GARY 100091 1.2838%
MACDERMID, CLARENCE 100094 1.2838%
ERICKSON, WILLIAM CHARLES 100097 1.2838%
HOPKINS, WILLIAM JASON 100098 1.2838%
MACDERMID, VICTORIA L. 100099 1.2838%
WILLIAMS, NORMAN HUBERT 100100 1.2838%
WHITTY, CHESTER F 100103 1.2838%
HURLBERT, ROBERT LORAN 100104 1.2838%
O'NEIL, GARREN BRADLEY 100105 1.2838%
HATCHER, BLAIR JAMES 100106 1.2838%
DIXON, JOSEPH GERARD 100107 1.5540%
RIDEOUT, MURRAY SCOTT 100108 1.2838%
FRICKER, BLAIR A 100109 1.2838%
SQUIRES, STUART BRIAN 100110 1.2838%
MACINNES, LLOYD S 100111 1.2838%
NEAL, DWIGHT 100112 1.2838%
JEFFRIE, RODERICK B 100116 1.2838%
HOLLOWAY, TIMOTHY JOHN 100118 1.2838%
HEAD, RALPH JOSEPH 100119 1.2838%
BUFFETT, JACOB H 100120 1.2838%
WILCOX, ARNOLD GERARD 100121 1.2838%
FRICKER, HERBERT L 100128 1.2838%
HATCHER, JANET MARIE 100129 1.2838%
WADDEN, HERMAN A 100130 1.2838%
INGRAHAM, DONALD AUSTIN 100131 1.2838%
MACDERMID, DONALD M 100132 1.2838%
MACINNIS, DAVID W 100133 1.2838%
SYMES, GEORGE THOMAS 100134 1.2838%
FRICKER, GLENN REID 100135 1.2838%
HOGAN, DANNY 100136 1.2838%
BUCHANAN, SHANNON JOSEPH 100137 1.2838%
GERROW, JASON RICHARD 100138 1.2838%
FRASER, CURTIS W 100139 1.2838%
CORMIER, KEVIN G 100140 1.2838%
MACINNIS, ALLAN SCOTT 100142 1.2838%
MACEACHERN, JOHN RANDALL 100143 1.2838%
MACINNIS, IAN 100145 1.2838%
DONOVAN, DAVID WAYNE 100152 1.2838%
BEST, KENNETH DAVID 100153 1.2838%
ASHFORD, TIMOTHY 100154 1.2838%
ORGAN, JOHN GREGORY 100155 1.2838%
HATCHER, JAMES LINDSAY 100157 1.2838%
MOORE, LAWRENCE S 100158 1.2838%
PITTMAN, RONALD BRUCE 100159 1.2838%
POWER, DAVID ALLAN 100160 1.2838%
DONOVAN, KELLY FRANCIS 100161 1.2838%
BRODERICK, JAMES 100163 1.2838%
MACMULLIN, NEIL PATRICK 100165 1.2838%
SEYMOUR, DOUGLAS CECIL 100166 1.2838%
WOODLAND, MARSHALL C 100167 1.2838%
AMADIO, DAVID 100168 1.2838%
MACINNIS, MERRILL 100170 1.2838%
BUFFETT, MICHAEL 100171 1.2838%
MACDERMID, MALCOLM DONALD 100173 1.2838%
LILLINGTON, DOUGLAS R 100174 1.2838%
SMITH, DALE CLIFFORD 100176 1.2838%
GREEN, KEVIN 100177 1.2838%
WHITTY, SHELDON THOMAS 100178 1.2838%
FRICKER, STEPHEN JOSEPH 100179 1.2838%
MACINNES, LLOYD M 100180 1.2838%
ROSE, HENRY THOMAS 100181 1.2838%
GREEN, KEITH 100182 1.2838%
BUNGAY, LEO C 100185 1.2838%
FRASER, RONALD BRUCE 100186 1.2838%
WADDEN, KENNETH GREGORY 100187 1.2838%
HAWLEY, GORDON T 100189 1.2838%
FITZGERALD, JOHN C 100190 1.5541%
TIMMINS, BRIAN THANE 100192 1.2838%
MACKINNON, HECTOR D JR 100193 1.2838%
LEBLANC, PERRY C 100194 1.2838%
BURCHELL, DAVID ALAN 100195 1.2838%
RASER, JOSEPH WILLIAM 100196 1.2838%
DURNFORD, VICTOR G. 100215 1.2838%
ATLANTIC PIRATE FISH. PART 152750 0.9460%
NORTH SHORE BOYS FISH. PSHIP 152751 1.0812%
ROUGH SEA FISHERIES LTD. 152752 1.2163%
3103240 NOVA SCOTIA LTD 307717 1.2160%

7.6 CFA 23 Quota Shares (as of April 25, 2013)

CFA 23 LICENSE HOLDER LICENSE # % SHARE OF TAC
MACLEAN, EDWARD JOSEPH 100092 1.7360%
KEHOE, DAVID 100093 1.5782%
deVRIES, JAMES RODDIE 100101 1.5782%
TRUCKAIR, ROBERT MOSES 100113 1.7865%
WHITEWAY, JEFF 100122 1.5782%
CAMPBELL, JOHN HUGH 100123 1.5782%
RAFUSE, RALPH WENTWORTH 100124 1.5782%
SAMPSON, ALBERT L 100125 1.7126%
HUTT, ARTHUR LYNN 100144 1.6824%
FUDGE, TOBY KENNETH 100148 1.5782%
CORMIER, PAUL KEVIN 100151 3.1565%
BAGNELL, TIMOTHY SCOTT 100156 1.5782%
ESKASONI FIRST NATION 100162 1.8915%
MACDONALD, GORDON K 100164 1.6824%
KENNEDY, JAMES N 100172 1.5782%
MILLBROOK FIRST NATION 100175 1.5782%
WAGMATCOOK FIRST NATION 100183 2.2033%
HATCHER, JOHN GARY 100184 1.7860%
MUNDEN, DANIEL LLOYD 100188 1.7865%
MACLEOD, JEFFERY R 100191 1.2642%
MEMBERTOU BAND COUNCIL 100208 1.6825%
ESKASONI FIRST NATION 100209 1.5782%
DRAKE, GARY RICHARD 100212 1.5782%
ESKASONI FIRST NATION 100213 1.5782%
BAY CRAB FISHERIES 152700 1.1428%
3102132 NOVA SCOTIA LTD 152701 1.7748%
3102133 NOVA SCOTIA LTD. 152702 1.9822%
3102134 NOVA SCOTIA LTD 152703 1.8784%
3102135 NOVA SCOTIA LTD 152704 1.3057%
3102136 NOVA SCOTIA LTD 152705 1.5638%
3102137 NOVA SCOTIA LTD 152706 1.1480%
3102600 NOVA SCOTIA LTD 152707 1.5654%
3102601 NOVA SCOTIA LTD 152708 1.3045%
BAY BYE CRAB LIMITED 152709 1.9995%
3102778 NOVA SCOTIA LTD. 152710 1.3567%
3102602 NOVA SCOTIA LTD. 152711 1.6697%
3102777 NOVA SCOTIA LTD 152712 1.7736%
3057851 NOVA SCOTIA LTD 152713 1.3567%
3103515 NOVA SCOTIA LTD 152714 1.5573%
3103516 NOVA SCOTIA LTD 152715 1.4610%
3103517 NOVA SCOTIA LTD 152716 1.7821%
3099375 NOVA SCOTIA LTD 152717 1.4630%
3099374 NOVA SCOTIA LTD 152718 1.2418%
3099376 NOVA SCOTIA LTD 152719 1.1480%
3103813 NOVA SCOTIA LTD 152720 0.9455%
3104152 NOVA SCOTIA LTD 152721 1.0388%
ESKASONI FIRST NATION 303550 1.5782%
ESKASONI FIRST NATION 303552 1.5782%
ESKASONI FIRST NATION 303553 1.5782%
MEMBERTOU BAND COUNCIL 303554 2.2036%
MEMBERTOU BAND COUNCIL 303555 1.7870%
WAGMATCOOK FIRST NATION 303556 1.6826%
WAGMATCOOK FIRST NATION 303557 1.5782%
WAYCOBAH FIRST NATION 303558 1.5782%
WAYCOBAH FIRST NATION 303559 1.5782%
ESKASONI FIRST NATION 303673 1.5782%
ESKASONI FIRST NATION 303674 1.5782%
ESKASONI FIRST NATION 303675 1.5782%
ESKASONI FIRST NATION 303676 1.5782%
NASH, HERBERT FRANCIS 306172 1.7671%
ESKASONI FIRST NATION 306264 1.5782%
RHYNO, TIMOTHY RAY 321734 1.3734%

7.7 CFA 24 Quota Shares (as of April 25, 2013)

CFA 24 LICENSE HOLDER LICENSE # % SHARE OF TAC
MARTELL, QUINTON CHARLES 100095 1.9711%
MACAULAY, KEVIN AL 100096 1.9711%
MARTEL, MICHAEL FRANCIS 100102 1.9711%
MARTELL, BLAIRE VINCENT 100114 2.3674%
MOMBOURQUETTE, EMMANUEL J 100115 2.0701%
SHAND, SANDY 100117 1.9711%
SAMPSON, EARL 100126 1.9711%
KEHOE, PAUL E 100127 1.9711%
RICHARDSON, DALE 100141 1.9711%
MACKENZIE, RODNEY D 100146 1.9711%
BOUDREAU, WAYNE ALPHONSE 100147 2.0691%
GOOD VENTURE FISH. CO LTD 100149 1.9711%
MARTELL, LESTER V 100150 1.9711%
MACLELLAN, LAWRENCE N 100197 1.9711%
KAISER, MICHAEL BLAIR 100198 2.4658%
RICHARDSON, RUSSELL GEORGE 100199 2.0701%
KEATING, RUDOLPH CHARLES JR 100200 1.9711%
DAVID, DARYL G 100204 2.4656%
ANDERSON, ROBERT S 100205 2.0700%
SCHRADER, ROBERT J 100206 1.9711%
APAQTUKEWAG FISHERMANS CO-OP 100210 1.9711%
WAYCOBAH FIRST NATION 100211 1.9711%
MEADE, JAMES 100214 1.9711%
HALIFAX WEST SNOW CRAB CO. LTD 152730 1.9812%
3101975 NOVA SCOTIA LTD 152731 2.2784%
3101976 NOVA SCOTIA LTD 152732 2.6782%
3101978 NOVA SCOTIA LTD 152733 1.8821%
BLUE RIBBON CRABBERS LTD 152734 1.8821%
ALL 20 CRABBERS LTD 152735 1.6838%
3101977 NOVA SCOTIA LTD 152736 1.4859%
RICHMOND COUNTY CRAB LTD. 152737 2.4761%
COREPAR CRAB FISHERS 152738 3.7653%
3103028 NOVA SCOTIA LTD 152739 1.2881%
3101974 NOVA SCOTIA LTD. 152740 1.8821%
SAINT MARY'S CRAB LTD 152741 1.2856%
3102786 NOVA SCOTIA LTD 152742 1.9808%
CRAB QUOTA CO-OP LTD 152743 1.7837%
ALL ON THE COAST CRABBERS PART 152744 1.0897%
3104406 NOVA SCOTIA LTD 152745 0.8911%
CHAPEL ISLAND BAND COUNCIL 303560 1.9711%
CHAPEL ISLAND BAND COUNCIL 303561 1.9711%
MIME 'J SEAFOODS LTD 303562 1.9711%
MIME 'J SEAFOODS LTD 303563 1.9711%
ESKASONI FIRST NATION 303698 1.9711%
ESKASONI FIRST NATION 303699 1.9711%
ESKASONI FIRST NATION 303700 1.4817%
SHUBENACADIE BAND 303701 2.9566%
MIME 'J SEAFOODS LTD 303727 1.9711%
CANSO TRAWLERMENS CO-OP LTD 306181 2.3633%
DOUCETTE, BERNIE CHARLES 306407 1.9711%
MILLBROOK FIRST NATION* 303564 0
MILLBROOK FIRST NATION* 303696 0
MILLBROOK FIRST NATION* 303697 0
* Millbrook First Nation has 3 licenses within the CFA 24 although they have a set allocation of 250t.

7.8 4X Quota Shares (as of April 25, 2013)

4X LICENSE HOLDER LICENSE # % SHARE OF TAC
SMITH, ALLAN B 100201 12.5%
FRASER, JAMES D 100202 12.5%
FRASER, JAMES D 100202 12.5%
D'ENTREMONT, JULIEN L 143199 12.5%
BAKER, DARRIN GERALD 143243 12.5%
ACADIA FIRST NATION 301168 12.5%
MIME 'J SEAFOODS LTD 301302 12.5%
3257568 NOVA SCOTIA LTD 301303 6.25%
OSBORNE, KELLY 301307 6.25%
ACADIA FIRST NATION 304878 12.5%

8. SHARED STEWARDSHIP ARRANGEMENTS

The Eastern Scotian Shelf and 4X snow crab fisheries will be managed via a co-management approach between DFO and Industry, including agreements between DFO and Industry on research and other co-operative projects. This approach highlights the significant role resource users’ play in access and management decision making, and will be implemented through an advisory committee process using a consensus model and inclusive meetings.

The licence holders and the Department choose to work together in a formally described manner to study or develop new and cost effective approaches to specific, fishery-related issues. These co-operative agreements, known as Collaborative Agreements (formerly Joint Project Agreements), cover fisheries management applications such as the co-operative DFO/industry trawl survey and may be described in contractual documents separate from this Plan.

9. COMPLIANCE PLAN

Conservation and Protection Program Description

The management of Canadian fisheries requires an integrated approach to monitoring, control and surveillance that involves the deployment of fishery officers to air, sea and land patrols; observer coverage on fishing vessels; dockside monitoring (DMP); and remote electronic vessel monitoring systems (VMS).

Conservation and Protection (C&P) activities are designed to ensure compliance with the legislation, policies and fishing plans relating to the conservation and sustainable use of the resource. The C&P National Compliance Framework describes a three pillar approach to the sustainability of this and other fisheries. The pillars are respectively, Education/Shared Stewardship: Monitoring, Control and Surveillance; and Major Case Management. The full framework is available upon request.

Regional Compliance Program Delivery

Compliance in the Snow Crab fishery is achieved through the application of the Fisheries Act, the Fishery (General) Regulations, the Atlantic Fishery Regulations and the Aboriginal Communal Fishing Licenses Regulations by Fishery Officers.

The following offers a general description of compliance activities carried out by C&P in the Snow Crab Fishery.

  • During sea patrols, Fishery Officers conduct vessel inspections to check location, gear, trap tags, decomposable escape panels, catch, licenses, logbooks and compliance with release requirements for undersized crab, female crab, species at risk and other incidental catch.
  • On land, officers perform similar checks.
  • During sea patrols, officers may remove illegal gear.
  • C&P staff carries out investigations into reports of fraud and collusion. This may involve interaction with other federal, provincial and municipal government agencies.
  • C&P authorizes VMS service providers, monitors the accuracy of their reporting systems and uses the data as part of its surveillance activities.
  • C&P (in consultation with Resource Management) reserves the right to request at-sea observer coverage where circumstances dictate.
  • At-sea Observer coverage in the snow crab fishery is typically set at 10%.
  • As of the 2012 license conditions there is an Instapik requirement for hail-out and at-sea observer coverage. Under this system license holders/operators will be told immediately upon hail out whether an at-sea observer will be required. If the requirement is removed for the trip (e.g. no observers available) only Javitech or DFO will be able to cancel the requirement. Vessels leaving the wharf without an observer will be in contravention of license conditions.
  • C&P designates both at-sea and dockside observers (third parties). Designations are subject to individuals meeting background checks and eligibility criteria and require the successful completion of exams.
  • C&P monitors the performance of at-sea and dockside observers and may initiate action to revoke the designations of observers found to be deficient in the performance of those duties.
  • Routine aerial patrols are conducted in the areas covered by this plan.

Consultation

Shared stewardship and education are achieved in the Snow Crab Fishery through a renewed emphasis on the importance of C&P communication with the community at large including:

  • Presentations to client/stakeholder groups.
  • Informal interaction with all parties involved in the fishery on the wharf, during patrols or in the community to promote conservation.
  • C&P Supervisors participate in enforcement advisory meetings with industry to provide information regarding compliance concerns and to solicit input from stakeholders in relation to monitoring, control and surveillance activities.
  • Internal consultation with Resource Management and other DFO branches to assess the effectiveness of enforcement activities and to develop recommendations for the upcoming season.
  • C&P directs approximately 2000 hours per year to compliance promotion through stakeholder meetings, public relations and school visits (for all fisheries).

Compliance Program Performance

Most of the snow crab fishery takes place in waters adjacent to Eastern Nova Scotia (ENS). During the peak months from April to September, fishery officers in the ENS area dedicate approximately 25% of the total time spent on enforcement activities to snow crab, second only to lobster.

C&P has been challenged to maintain an at-sea presence with the large offshore surveillance platform for the snow crab fishery. Whereas the program previously dedicated one month or more offshore patrol vessel time in this fishery from 2005 to 2007, this figure has dropped due to decreased vessel availability from 2008 to 2010. The launch of new midshore patrol vessels in 2012 will provide increased flexibility for tasking at-sea surveillance patrols based on an assessment of risks to non-compliance related to fishing in closed areas, gear conflicts, etcetera. Aerial surveillance hours have also decreased; however, it does not necessarily indicate decreased ability to respond, rather the aircraft can be re-tasked upon request based on a regional assessment of risks to non-compliance.

In recent years, C&P has been building its major case management capability for all fisheries. The program is moving toward increased intelligence gathering, specialized investigations, retroactive review of suspected illegal activity and broadening the scope of its inspections to include buyers, plants and transportation. Some of this work has focused on snow crab. A summary of officer time, violations, observer coverage and penalties appears in Appendix 3.

Current Compliance Issues

A review of violations for the period 2008-2012 suggests that non-compliance in the snow crab Fishery is similar to those noted in other quota-based fisheries. For example, non-compliance with hail requirements accounted for 43% of the violations during the review period. Closed area, illegal catch and licensing violations were also prominent. Failure to respect hail time requirements may play a role in the overall accuracy of catch reporting and DMP efficiency, and may be of concern if related to attempts to avoid inspection by fishery officers at dockside.

In a review of violations, there were indications that some of the VMS problems encountered were linked to fishing in closed areas. For DMP, 32 out of 169 checks by officers suggested dockside observers were not performing their duties correctly and in some cases, the observers either missed or could easily have missed significant amounts of catch. Although there were no instances where undersized or female snow crab was observed being used as bait, overall illegal catch retention problems were too frequent.

To be effective in deterring non-compliance, the efforts taken by C&P must demonstrate that the likelihood of violations being detected is high, and that serious violations will result in penalties being imposed. The response to non-compliance includes warnings, tickets, or prosecution. Since fishery officers are not currently able to issue tickets for snow crab violations (regulatory amendment currently being pursued), it is critical that those cases that are prosecuted result in adequate penalties being imposed to serve as a suitable deterrent to non-compliance. Targeted efforts will be taken to determine the level of compliance in this fishery, and establish an objective to achieve an acceptable level of compliance given the availability of resources to the program.

Compliance Strategy

Based on established regional compliance priorities, C&P Detachment Supervisors prepare annual work plans and allocate human, material and fiscal resources based on an assessment of compliance risks in each fishery. The following table summarizes the challenges in this fishery and strategies to address them as described by C&P detachment supervisors.

Compliance Risks Mitigating Strategies

Illegal Use of Gear

  • Trap Limits
  • Untagged Gear
  • Lack of at-sea deterrence

Closed Area and Time Issues

  • Unlicensed fishing
  • Fishing in closed area/time

Catch and Reporting Issues

  • Fraud and collusion
  • Misreporting
  • Bypass DMP
  • DMP integrity
  • Transshipments
  • Lack of at-sea enforcement presence
  • Inaccurate hail times
  • Poor logbook completion
  • Undersized Crabs
  • Retention of female crabs
  • More engagement with industry
  • More frequent at-sea checks (subject to vessel availability)
  • Air surveillance
  • Routine plant inspections
  • Increased DMP checks
  • Improved intelligence gathering
  • Major case investigation
  • Crack down on hail problems
  • Catch composition analysis

10. EVALUATION, MONITORING, AND PLAN ENHANCEMENT

To ensure information contained in this IFMP remains up to date and the objectives, strategies, and tactics within it remain appropriate, it will be reviewed annually and updated and enhanced as necessary as a living document. As a result, there is no set time limit for this plan. The review will include an assessment internal to DFO, as well as an opportunity at the annual Eastern Scotian Shelf and 4X Advisory Committee Meetings for members to comment on the plan.

Specifically, the main facet in which the IFMP requires enhancement is the need to gather and integrate more complete information regarding the impact of the fishery on the habitat in which it takes place. As this data is available, it will be discussed through the advisory process by DFO and stakeholders, and integrated into the IFMP as appropriate.

The following table outlines how and when the IFMP will be evaluated and monitored so as to ensure the IFMP is meeting the objectives outlined in Section 6. The Plan Enhancement column specifies areas of research and data weaknesses that will be improved upon to make further advances and improvements to the IFMP.

Table 8: Evaluation, Monitoring, And Plan Enhancement
Issue Strategy Evaluation Monitoring Plan Enhancement
What is the management issue you’re addressing? What is the strategy for managing the pressure (including specific reference points)? What is the schedule for evaluating strategies & tactics? What data will you be collecting to monitor performance of the plan? What monitoring & data weaknesses are there?
Objective: Productivity
Do not cause unacceptable reduction in productivity so that components can play their role in the functioning of the ecosystem.
Opportunity for commercial fishing over short and long terms. Keep fishing mortality of snow crab moderate by maintaining harvest rates between 10 and 30% of fishable biomass. Annual review at 3 pre-assessment science meetings, 1 RAP and 4 advisory meetings and various post-fishing meetings depending on management and science requirements. a) Abundance estimates of fishable biomass through annual science surveys.
b) Survey estimates of recruitment abundance and moult structure.
c) Abundance indices of pre-recruits (instars 6 and greater).
d) Landings data from log books, and dock side monitoring.
a) Reference points and harvest control rules have been incorporated and may be revised if new information is available.
b) Biological (moult) cycles require better documentation – seasonal monitoring stations. This is being addressed.
c) Require better pre-recruit abundance estimates (catchability issues due to small size of crab). This is being addressed.
Mortality of soft-shell/white snow crab. a) and b) from above, as well as in-season monitoring of soft-shell incidence and shell condition in fishery catch under observer program.
Potential for localised over-depletion from concentrated fishing effort. Also, oscillating sex ratios caused by fishing mortality directed at males. a) Maps of survey-based abundance.
b) Monitoring of catch rates in different areas from landings data.
c) Abundance of reproductive females and males.
d)Mature sex ratios in a spatial context.
Female life cycle requires better documentation – seasonal monitoring stations. This is being addressed.
Ghost fishing. Potential for gear conflict with shrimp fishery, so closure helps reduce conflict and hence loss of gear. Significance of pressure from gear loss estimated through discussions with fleet. Pressure on biomass is unknown, but not considered significant risk because of tactic. So no research or additional management measures planned at present.
Maintaining availability of females for spawning. Allow sufficient escapement from exploitation for spawning (reference: fishing mortality = 0). Annual review at 3 pre-assessment science meetings, 1 RAP and 4 advisory meetings and various post-fishing meetings depending on management and science requirements. Abundance indices of reproductive females from annual science surveys.
Estimates of annual egg production from annual science surveys.
Require better egg production estimates. This is being addressed.
Objective: Biodiversity
Do not cause unacceptable reduction in biodiversity in order to preserve the structure and natural resilience of the ecosystem.
Potential for leatherback and whale entanglement in floating ground and buoy trap lines. Numbers are small, but nevertheless a concern because leatherback turtle and some whale species are listed as endangered under SARA. Control unintended incidental mortality of all non-harvested species (ref leatherbacks = <1% mortality from all anthropogenic activity; ref North Atlantic Right Whale = 0 mortality from human .activity). Refer to assessment framework and timescales under SARA. Catch and entanglements monitored through at-sea observers (10% observer coverage; 5% in north)
SARA logs for leatherbacks .
Refer to recovery strategies for SARA species in section 4.3 above.
Potential for wolffish to be caught in traps. Numbers are small, but nevertheless a concern because is listed as endangered under SARA. Catch monitoring through at-sea observers (10% observer coverage; 5% in north). Recovery strategy to be developed including reference points.
Bitter Crab Disease caused by the dinoflagellates: Hematodinium sps. Can transmit from one fishing area to another through ballast water exchange. Control introduction and proliferation of disease/pathogens
Reference: constant prevalence.
Annual review at 3 pre-assessment science meetings, 1 RAP and 4 advisory meetings and various post-fishing meetings depending on management and science requirements. Science survey monitors prevalence of diseased animals using gross (visual) assessment.
Commercial catch of diseased crab recorded by DMP.
Investigations into genetic markers for Hematodinium sps. underway for more systematic identification of early infectious stages (PEI).
Background prevalence is not known. Data are being collected from science surveys.
Objective: Habitat
Do not cause unacceptable modification to habitat in order to safeguard both physical and chemical properties of the ecosystem.
Disturbance of bottom due to benthic scouring and crushing effects is thought to be limited. But potential is there with any bottom contact fishery. Region has a strategy to protect sensitive corals and will be looking at both sensitive corals and sponge-dominated communities under the SBA policy. Manage area disturbed of habitat (ref = no activity). Annual review at 3 pre-assessment science meetings, 1 RAP and 4 advisory meetings and various post-fishing meetings depending on management and science requirements. Ongoing monitoring of presence in closed areas through VMS. Identification of sensitive benthic areas is ongoing, and will respond as new information collected.
Objective: Culture & Sustenance
Respect Aboriginal and treaty rights to fish.
Historically fished snow crab. Provide access for food, social and ceremonial purposes. Annual negotiations. DFO area offices. There are no FSC licenses in the snow crab fishery.
Objective:   Prosperity
Help create the circumstances for economically prosperous fisheries.
Processing requirements. Offer flexibility in policy and licensing to individual enterprises and license holders. Annual review at 3 pre-assessment science meetings, 1 RAP and 4 advisory meetings and various post-fishing meetings depending on management and science requirements. Qualitative feedback from industry. Enhancements to policy and licensing (i.e. flexibility) are ongoing and will be updated as implemented.
In N-ENS there is over capacity and a need to balance capacity and distribute effort.
Less market for soft-shell, small clawed and black snow crab.
Allow an individual other than the license holder to operate the fishing vessel so that fishing can continue if holder is unavailable (e.g. illness, lobster fishing).
Combining licenses to reduce operating costs and to ease exit from industry.
History of overcapacity. Promote stability in access to resources and allocations. Annual review at 3 pre-assessment science meetings, 1 RAP and 4 advisory meetings and various post-fishing meetings depending on management and science requirements. Qualitative feedback from industry.
Vessels fishing above their assigned quota/vessels requesting more quota. Monitor landings from logbooks to ensure quotas are being respected.
Provide internal mechanisms that allow self-adjustment of capacity to resource availability.
Combining licenses to reduce operating costs and to ease exit from industry. Qualitative feedback from industry

11. GLOSSARY

Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge (ATK): Knowledge that is held by, and unique to Aboriginal peoples. It is a living body of knowledge that is cumulative and dynamic and adapted over time to reflect changes in the social, economic, environmental, spiritual and political spheres of the Aboriginal knowledge holders. It often includes knowledge about the land and its resources, spiritual beliefs, language, mythology, culture, laws, customs and medicines.

Abundance: Number of individuals in a stock or a population.

Age Composition: Proportion of individuals of different ages in a stock or in the catches.

Benthic: Occurring on the ocean floor.

Biomass: total weight of all individuals in a stock or a population.

Bycatch: The unintentional catch of one species when the target is another.

Carapace condition: The condition of the shell of a snow crab. Generally related to the age of the shell since last moult.

Carapace width: The distance across the carapace of a snow crab (millimetres)

Carrying Capacity (K): the maximum population size of the species that the environment can sustain indefinitely

Catch per Unit Effort (CPUE): The amount caught for a given fishing effort. Ex: tons of shrimp per tow, kilograms of fish per hundred longline hooks.

Communal Commercial License: License issued to Aboriginal organizations pursuant to the Aboriginal Communal Fishing Licenses Regulations for participation in the general commercial fishery.

Conservation Harvesting Plan (CHP): Fishing plans submitted by all gear sectors which identify harvesting methods aimed at minimizing the harvest of small fish and bycatch of groundfish.

Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC): Committee of experts that assess and designate which wild species are in some danger of disappearing from Canada.

Core Company Share: A portion of a crab quota allocated to a shareholder belonging to a snow crab core company. Shares can increase or decrease dependent on the size of any permanent transfer.

Discards: That portion of a catch thrown back into the water after they are caught in fishing gear.

Dockside Monitoring Program (DMP): A monitoring program that is conducted by a company that has been designated by the Department, which verifies the species composition and landed weight of all fish landed from a commercial fishing vessel.

Ecosystem: The whole of a system with all the interactions between parts, living and non-living.

Ecosystem-Based Management: Taking into account of species interactions and the interdependencies between species and their habitats when making resource management decisions.

ENS: Eastern Nova Scotia; essentially NAFO statistical divisions 4VW.

Fishing Effort: The quantity of effort using a given fishing gear over a given period of time.

Fishing Mortality: Death caused by fishing, often symbolized by the Mathematical symbol F.

Fixed Gear: A type of fishing gear that is set in a stationary position. These include traps, weirs, gillnets, longlines and handlines.

Food, Social and Ceremonial (FSC): A fishery conducted by Aboriginal groups for food, social and ceremonial purposes.

Growth Overfishing: Occurs when too many small fish are being harvested too early, through excessive fishing effort and poor selectivity (e.g. too small mesh sizes) and the fish are not given enough time to grow to the size at which the maximum yield-per-recruit from the stock would be obtained. A reduction of fishing mortality on juveniles, or their outright protection, would lead to an increase in yield from the fishery.

Instar: A stage of an organism between moults.

Landings: Quantity of a species caught and landed.

Morphometric maturity: Maturity status determined from measurements of body shape and size. Male snow crab claw height increases very rapidly in the adult stage (terminal moult), whereas females’ abdominal width increases with maturity. While morphometric maturity generally coincides with physiological maturity, morphometrically immature males are known to be able to fertilize females.

Moult: The act of growing, through the shedding of an organism’s current shell.

Multiparous: Females bearing eggs resulting from their second or third breeding event (mating).

NAFO: North Atlantic Fisheries Organization.

Natural Mortality: Mortality due to natural causes, symbolized by the mathematical symbol M.

Observer Coverage: When a license holder is required to carry an officially recognized observer onboard their vessel for a specific period of time to verify the amount of fish caught, the area in which it was caught and the method by which it was caught.

Pelagic: Occurring in the water column (not on bottom).

Pencil-clawed crab: Immature crab that are legally exploitable (≥ 95 mm CW) but not yet terminally moulted, and characterized by a small claw.

Primiparous: Females bearing eggs resulting from their first breeding event (mating).

Population: Group of individuals of the same species, forming a breeding unit, and sharing a habitat.

Precautionary Approach: Set of agreed cost-effective measures and actions, including future courses of action, which ensures prudent foresight, reduces or avoids risk to the resource, the environment, and the people, to the extent possible, taking explicitly into account existing uncertainties and the potential consequences of being wrong.

Quota: Portion of the total allowable catch that a unit such as vessel class, country, etc. is permitted to take from a stock in a given period of time.

Recruitment: Amount of individuals becoming part of the exploitable stock e.g. that can be caught in a fishery.

Research Survey: Survey at sea, on a research vessel, allowing scientists to obtain information on the abundance and distribution of various species and/or collect oceanographic data. Ex: bottom trawl survey, plankton survey, hydroacoustic survey, etc.

Species at Risk Act (SARA): The Act is a federal government commitment to prevent wildlife species from becoming extinct and secure the necessary actions for their recovery. It provides the legal protection of wildlife species and the conservation of their biological diversity.

Spawner: Sexually mature individual.

Spawning Stock: Sexually mature individuals in a stock.

SSE: Scotian Shelf Ecosystem; the whole of the living and non-living components found on the continental shelf area off Nova Scotia in the NW Atlantic, comprising of NAFO statistical divisions 4VWX.

Stock: Describes a population of individuals of one species found in a particular area, and is used as a unit for fisheries management. Ex: NAFO area 4R herring.

Stock Assessment: Scientific evaluation of the status of a species belonging to a same stock within a particular area in a given time period.

Substrate: Bottom type on which an animal exists (rocks, boulders, mud, sand, etc.).

Terminal moult: Snow crab moulted for a final time once mature. The size of these crabs will not increase further.

Total Allowable Catch (TAC): The amount of catch that may be taken from a stock.

Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK): A cumulative body of knowledge and beliefs handed down through generations by cultural transmission, about the relationship of living beings (including humans) with one another and with their environment.

Tonne: Metric tonne, which is 1000 kg or 2204.6lbs.

Validation: The verification, by an observer, of the weight of fish landed.

Vessel Size: Length overall.

Year-class: Individuals of a same stock born in a particular year. Also called "cohort".

Appendix 1: Snow Crab Fishing Areas

Map of Snow Crab Fishing Area

Map of Maritimes Region Ecosystem Approach to Management (EAM) Framework

Appendix 2: Summary of Maritimes Region EAM Framework

This appendix summarizes the framework adopted by DFO Maritimes Region for implementing an Ecosystem Approach to Management (EAM) in all activities for which the department has management responsibility. It also discusses application of the framework more specifically to fisheries management.

Introduction to EAM

An ecosystem approach to managing human activity requires consideration of an activity’s impact on all components of the ecosystem – including its structure, function and overall quality – and not just on the resource being used. It also means accounting for the cumulative effects of multiple uses, and accounting for how environmental forces, such as climate change, might be affecting how we should manage.

Fully implementing EAM will be a large undertaking. Progress will happen in a step-by-step, evolutionary way. In the short-term, the Department will work on implementing EAM in the context of discrete activities, such as fishing. In the long-term, a diversity of ocean users and regulators will need to come together to draw up plans for the integrated management of all ocean activities. First attention will be given to impacts of the highest importance and offering the greatest scope for improvement.

EAM in the Context of Fisheries Management

Consensus is growing within Canada and internationally that the sustainability of fish stocks and fisheries requires an ecosystem approach to management. Traditionally, fisheries management has focused on regulating the impact of fishing on the targeted species. Under an ecosystem approach, managers consider impacts not only on the target species but also on non-target species and habitat. Some of these impacts will be direct, such as impacts on the populations of non target species that suffer mortality incidentally because of interactions with fishing gear. Other impacts may be indirect, such as the effects of mortality on predator-prey relationships. IFMPs will document the main impacts on the ecosystem from fishing activities and outline how these pressures will be managed.

Main Elements of the Framework

EAM is a management planning framework. Management planning requires the specification of objectives (what you want to achieve), of strategies (what you will do to manage human induced pressures so that you can achieve your objectives), and tactics (how you will implement your strategies). These elements are presented in the table overleaf. They are the foundation of the Region’s EAM framework and have been developed to cover the full range of potential impacts on the ecosystem resulting from the various activities managed by the Department. (Not all strategies will be relevant to all activities.)

Table 1A: Framework for an Ecosystem Approach to Management (Resource Management, Maritimes Region)
ATTRIBUTES OBJECTIVES
  • STRATEGIES with associated pressures
MANAGED ACTIVITIES TACTICS
  Groundfish
Fishery
Herring
Fishery
Salmon
Aquaculture
etc.
  CUMULATIVE EFFECTS  
E
X
P
A
N
S
I
O
N

O
F

A
T
T
R
I
B
U
T
E
S

C
O
N
S
I
D
E
R
E
D
air quality
biomass
breeding behavior
community assemblage
genetic structure
habitat structure
organism health
population richness
forage predators
primary production
recruitment
sediment quality
size spectrum
size/age structure
spatial extent
spatial occupancy
‘special places’
‘special species’
trophic structure
water quality
yield
traditional Aboriginal use
efficiency
market access
Productivity: Do not cause unacceptable reduction in productivity so that components can play their role in the functioning of the ecosystem E
X
P
A
N
S
I
O
N

O
F

P
E
S
S
U
R
E
S

C
O
N
S
I
D
E
R
E
D
catch control
effort control
gear specification,
size-based release
area/season closure
ballast water control
recreational fisheries awards
FSC licences
community quota management
transferable quotas
license combining
exempted licenses
multi-licensing
certification data
stabilized fisheries
transparency in ministerial decisions
  • Keep fishing mortality moderate
  • Allow sufficient escapement from exploitation for spawning
  • Limit disturbing activity in important reproductive areas/seasons
  • Control alteration of nutrient concentrations affecting primary production
Biodiversity: Do not cause unacceptable reduction in biodiversity in order to preserve the structure and natural resilience of the ecosystem
  • Control unintended incidental mortality for all species
  • Distribute population component mortality in relation to component biomass
  • Minimize unintended introduction and transmission of invasive species
  • Control introduction and proliferation of disease/pathogens
  • Minimize aquaculture escapes
Habitat: Do not cause unacceptable modification to habitat in order to safeguard both physical and chemical properties of the ecosystem
  • Manage area disturbed of habitat
  • Limit introduction of pollutants
  • Minimize introduction of debris
  • Control noise disturbance
  • Control light disturbance
Culture & Sustenance: Respect Aboriginal and treaty rights to fish
  • Provide access for food, social and ceremonial purposes
Prosperity: Create the circumstances for economically prosperous fisheries
  • Limit inflexibility in policy & licensing among individual enterprises/license holders
  • Minimize instability in access to resources and allocations
  • Limit inability for self-adjustment to overcapacity relative to resource availability
  • Support certification for sustainability

Note: Elements associated with culture, sustenance and prosperity are provisional and at present are being applied only in fisheries management.

Objectives

Under EAM, management planning within the Region will be guided by three ecosystem objectives:

  • Productivity: Do not cause unacceptable reduction in productivity so that components can play their role in the functioning of the ecosystem.
  • Biodiversity: Do not cause unacceptable reduction in biodiversity in order to preserve the structure and natural resilience of the ecosystem.
  • Habitat: Do not cause unacceptable modification to habitat in order to safeguard both physical and chemical properties of the ecosystem.

It is impractical to pursue conservation in isolation from the economic, social and cultural aspirations of users, and these must be recognized in any plan if it is to be successful. The Region intends to develop a set of economic, social and cultural objectives in the near future that will be common to all activities managed by the Department. In the meantime, Resource Management has developed the following, provisional objectives for application in fisheries management:

  • Culture and Sustenance: Respect Aboriginal and treaty rights to fish.
  • Prosperity: Create the circumstances for economically prosperous fisheries.

Attributes

Attributes are traits of the ecosystem that we value. They are the means by which the broadly stated objectives are given specificity. We might be interested in the condition of many ecosystem attributes. Those listed in the first column of Table 1A are ones that respond to human induced pressures. Examples of attributes of fish populations are yield, breeding behaviour, biomass and genetic structure. Examples of ecosystem attributes are population richness, spatial occupancy and trophic structure. There are initiatives also by DFO to identify ecologically or biologically sensitive areas (EBSAs), ecologically or biologically sensitive species (EBSSs), Depleted Species and Degraded Areas. These too can be viewed as attributes of an ecosystem.

Strategies and References

As stated, objectives are very general statements that are translated into practical terms through the definition of strategies. Strategies state “what” will be done to manage pressures from human activities. Common pressures from fishing activities are fishing mortality, incidental mortality, and disturbance of bottom habitat. The strategies aim to control the impact of these pressures on the valued ecosystem attributes.

Strategies define how the pressures imposed by human activities will be managed. For example, what level of fishing mortality is viewed as acceptable? How much bottom habitat disturbance is too much? This is done by using references that define pressure levels that cause unacceptable or undesirable impacts on the attributes. The basis for determining references will vary depending on the state of knowledge. Some may be chosen fairly arbitrarily when knowledge is weak, perhaps based on historical trends. When more is known, their determination may involve evaluation of alternative population/ecosystem dynamics models, ranging from 'single species' to 'full ecosystem' models. There are many gaps in scientific knowledge of ecosystem structure and function, and, no matter how references are determined, they will need revision as the human and environmental factors affecting ecosystems become better understood.

Tactics

Tactics are sometimes referred to as tactical management measures. They are “how” the strategies will be implemented to manage the pressures imposed by fishery activities. Examples of common tactics in fisheries management are total allowable catches, individual or community quotas, seasonal closures, gear restrictions, minimum fish sizes and dockside monitoring.

Monitoring and Evaluation

Monitoring and evaluation are necessary for ensuring management plans are working as intended. Monitoring involves collecting data that will provide information on how well or badly the various features of the plan are performing. Evaluation involves determining whether strategies are being implemented adequately and whether they are doing their job in meeting the plan objectives. Evaluation also involves assessing whether the plan identifies and addresses all the important impacts on the ecosystem.

In fisheries management plans, strategies and references for pressures are likely to remain unchanged for the duration of the plan. However, as new understanding is gained, or when prevailing conditions alter the productivity of the resource, review and evaluation of strategies and references may be warranted. Tactics may be specified for the duration of the plan, or they may require regular intervention to set appropriate levels.

Plan Enhancement

Developing a robust plan that addresses the full range of ecosystem impacts of a given activity will take time and resources, and it is unlikely that data to support all elements will be available at the outset. In recognition of this, management plans should identify the main weaknesses of the plan, including weaknesses in the data needed for setting references for strategies, evaluating pressures relative to the references, and checking compliance with tactics.

Management plans should also outline any data collection that is underway and the research required to make advances, noting the risks if not done.

Appendix 3:   C&P Statistical Summary for 2007-2012

Snow Crab Enforcement Hours By Calendar Year
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
4352.5 5272.5 4450.75 3144.25 7530.25 7878.5
Note: The hours above are for all Maritimes Region C&P.
% of Overall Enforcement Effort Dedicated to Snow Crab for Selected Detachments
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
13.82% 16.18% 11.8% 9.29% 21.8% 21.7%
Note: The percentages above are for the Dartmouth, Sherbrooke and Sydney detachments (where most fishing takes place).
At-Sea Observer Coverage (# Trips)
  2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Observed Trips 97 168 188 156 132 123
Total Trips (MARFIS) 1255 1835 2105 1961 1631 1498
Approx. % Coverage 7.73% 9.16% 8.93% 7.96% 8.09% 8.21%
Note: The number of trips is based on numbers of landings from DFO’s MARFIS data base.
Compliance Index – Numbers of Violations Divided by Vessels, Checked
Year 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
# Checks 707 957 640 426 332 349
# Violations 30 40 73 37 39 20
Compliance Index 4.24% 4.18% 11.41% 8.69% 11.75% 5.73%
Note: This index is derived from the Fishery Officer time tracking system. Violations include all violations observed by officers and not just those that resulted in an apprehension. This index does not consider severity.
Patrol Vessel Days
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
25.7 15.3 28.5 7.9 15.8 7.6
Note: From the Offshore Surveillance Trip data base.
Aerial Surveillance Hours
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
200.5 144 120.5 145.5 100.5 130.5
Note: From the Fishery Officer time tracking system based on officer hours by platform (2011 and 2012 are preliminary figures).
Snow Crab Violations by Issue and Calendar Year - 2005/2010
ISSUE 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 TOTAL
CLOSED AREA OR TIME 5 2   1 3   11
FAIL TO PRODUCE LICENSE OR REGISTRATION     14 5   2 21
FAIL TO TEND GEAR >72 HOURS         1   1
FAILED TO CARRY OBSERVER WHEN REQUESTED         1   1
FEMALE CRAB     1       1
HAIL IN < 3 HOURS 8 10 24 12 4 2 62
HAIL OUT < 6 HOURS 4 13 1 4     22
ILLEGAL POSSESSION         1   1
ILLEGAL TRANSPORT           2 2
IMPROPERLY MARKED GEAR 1 2 4 1     8
IMPROPERLY TAGGED OR UNTAGGED TRAPS   1 7 3   1 12
INACCURATE HAIL 1 10 4 3 18 2 38
INVALID TAG     1       1
LICENSING PROBLEM     1   3 1 5
LOGBOOK PROBLEM 1 1   2   1 5
MISREPORTING     1   5 1 7
NO ESCAPE PANEL     1 1     2
NO PERSONAL REGISTRATION     3   1   4
NON DESIGNATED OPERATOR 1 1       1 2
NON FUNCTIONAL VMS 3   4 3 1   11
NON-RETENTION OF LICENSED SPECIES     2       2
OFFLOAD WITHOUT DMP     1 1   2 4
UNDERSIZED CRAB     1   1 5 7
WRONG CFA     3 1     4
GRAND TOTAL 30 40 73 37 39 20 239
VIOLATIONS BY CFA - 2007 TO 2012
SNOW CRAB FISHING AREA 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 TOTAL
UNSPECIFIED     6       6
CFA 20       3     3
CFA 21   4 3 3     10
CFA 22   1 1 3 1 1 7
CFA 23 17 13 23 17 7 11 84
CFA 24 13 22 40 11 31 3 120
NAFO 4X           4 4
SNOW CRAB VIOLATIONS BY ACTIONS TAKEN - 2007 TO 2012
DISPOSITION 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 TOTAL
CHARGES LAID 10   19 2 12 8 51
NO FURTHER ACTION OR STILL PENDING 13 17 15 2 5 4 56
WARNING ISSUED 7 23 39 33 22 8 132
TOTAL 30 40 73 37 39 20 239
NUMBERS OF SNOW CRAB CONVICTIONS CASES ACCORDING TO RANGE OF FINES
DISPOSITION 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 TOTAL
$500 to $999 1   1 3     5
$1K to $2.499K       1     1
$2.5K to $4.999K       1 1 2 4
$5K to $9.999K   2 2   2 1 7
>&20K     1       1
SNOW CRAB CONVICTIONS - 2000 TO 2010
DISPOSITION 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 TOTAL
CASES THAT RESULTED IN FINES 1 2 4 5 4 3 19
Note: The trial for a 2009 case concluded in 2013 and resulted in a $24,000 fine to the accused and forfeiture of a $15,000 bond for seized traps.

Appendix 4: Sample 2013 Snow Crab Licence Condition (CFA 24)

PURSUANT TO SUBSECTION 22.(1) OF THE FISHERY (GENERAL) REGULATIONS, THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS ARE SPECIFIED FOR PERSON(S) FISHING UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF SNOW CRAB FISHING LICENCE NUMBER ^LICENCE ISSUED IN RESPECT OF THE FISHING VESSEL(S) ^VNAME, ^VRN. (HEREINAFTER KNOWN AS "THE VESSEL") .

1.THE LICENCE HOLDER/OPERATOR IS ONLY PERMITTED TO FISH IN CRAB FISHING AREA 24 SUBJECT TO THE CLOSURES OUTLINED IN SCHEDULE 1.

2.SUBJECT TO ANY VARIATION ORDERS ISSUED OR ANY NEW VARIATION ORDERS WHICH MAY BE ISSUED, THESE LICENCE CONDITIONS ARE VALID DURING THE PERIOD BEGINNING APRIL 2, ^RYEAR AND ENDING SEPTEMBER 30, ^RYEAR.

QUOTA

4.SUBJECT TO ITEM 2 AND 4 OF THESE LICENCE CONDITIONS, THE LICENCE HOLDER/OPERATOR IS ONLY AUTHORIZED TO;

(A) LAND AND OFFLOAD SNOW CRAB WHEN THE CRAB SEASON IS OPEN AND ONLY WHEN THIS LICENCE AND CONDITIONS ARE VALID;

4.1THE QUOTA THAT IS ALLOCATED FOR THIS LICENCE IS IDENTIFIED IN SCHEDULE 1A.

HAIL REQUIREMENTS

5.(A) THE LICENCE HOLDER/OPERATOR IS REQUIRED TO OBTAIN A HAIL-OUT REFERENCE NUMBER FROM THE FISHERIES AND OCEANS (DFO) "JUST TALK" HAIL-OUT SYSTEM (1-866-665-4451 FOR ENGLISH OR 1-866-665-4452 FOR FRENCH) PRIOR TO DEPARTURE FOR ANY FISHING TRIP EXCEPT THE FIRST TRIP (SETTING GEAR) WHERE 5(B) SHALL BE FOLLOWED. THE LICENCE HOLDER/OPERATOR WILL BE ISSUED A HAIL-OUT REFERENCE NUMBER BY THE "JUST TALK" SYSTEM CONFIRMING THAT THE HAIL HAS BEEN RECEIVED. THIS NUMBER IS TO BE ENTERED ON THE SNOW CRAB MONITORING DOCUMENT IN THE APPROPRIATE SPACE PROVIDED.

(B) PURSUANT TO ITEM 5(A), THE LICENCE HOLDER/OPERATOR SHALL CALL THE JUST TALK HAIL-OUT SYTEM AT LEAST SIX (6) HOURS PRIOR TO DEPARTURE FOR THE FIRST FISHING TRIP (SETTING GEAR).

(C) WHEN THE START OF A FISHING TRIP IS DELAYED FOR ANY REASON BY TWELVE (12) HOURS OR MORE FROM THE TIME STATED IN THE HAIL, THE LICENCE HOLDER/OPERATOR MUST CALL THE "JUST TALK" SYSTEM TO CANCEL THE HAIL AND OBTAIN A NEW HAIL-OUT REFERENCE NUMBER.

(D) THE LICENCE HOLDER/OPERATOR MAY BE REQUIRED TO HAVE AN AT-SEA OBSERVER ON BOARD THE VESSEL DURING ANY FISHING TRIP. AT THE TIME THE HAIL OUT REFERENCE NUMBER IS RECEIVED THE LICENCE HOLDER/OPERATOR WILL BE NOTIFIED IF AN AT-SEA OBSERVER IS REQUIRED. WHEN NOTIFIED THAT AN AT-SEA OBSERVER IS REQUIRED, THE LICENCE HOLDER/OPERATOR MUST FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS PROVIDED BY THE JUST TALK SYSTEM. NO PERSON SHALL DEPART FROM PORT FOR A FISHING TRIP UNTIL THE AT-SEA OBSERVER IS ON BOARD.

6.THE LICENCE HOLDER/OPERATOR IS REQUIRED TO HAIL FROM SEA, TO A DOCKSIDE MONITORING COMPANY THAT HAS BEEN DESIGNATED BY DFO, A TRIP SUMMARY OF FISHING ACTIVITIES AT LEAST THREE (3) HOURS PRIOR TO RETURNING TO PORT. THE HAIL MUST INCLUDE THE VESSEL NAME; THE VESSEL REGISTRATION NUMBER; THE CAPTAIN'S NAME; THE FULL NAME OF THE PERSON REQUESTING THE HAIL; THE SNOW CRAB LICENCE NUMBER; THE DATE; THE LOCAL TIME (USING THE 24 HOUR SYSTEM); THE ACCURATE ROUND WEIGHT OF SNOW CRAB ON BOARD THE VESSEL; THE REASON FOR RETURNING TO PORT; THE LOG PAGE NUMBER OF THE CRAB MONITORING DOCUMENT; THE CRAB AREA WHERE THE FISH WERE TAKEN AND THE PLACE WHERE THE LICENCE HOLDER/OPERATOR WILL LAND (OFFLOAD) YOUR FISH. THE LICENCE HOLDER/OPERATOR WILL BE ISSUED A CONFIRMATION NUMBER BY THE DOCKSIDE MONITORING COMPANY CONFIRMING THAT THE HAIL HAS BEEN RECEIVED. THE NUMBER IS TO BE ENTERED IMMEDIATELY ON THE CRAB MONITORING DOCUMENT.

OBSERVER (AT-SEA) AND MONITORING COVERAGE

7.FOR THE PURPOSE OF THESE LICENCE CONDITIONS, AN AT-SEA OBSERVER IS AN INDIVIDUAL OR CORPORATION DESIGNATED AS AN AT-SEA OBSERVER BY THE REGIONAL DIRECTOR-GENERAL FOR THE MARITIMES REGION PURSUANT TO THE FISHERY (GENERAL) REGULATIONS. BEFORE THE COMMENCEMENT OF A FISHING TRIP THE LICENCE HOLDER/OPERATOR SHALL HAVE ENTERED INTO AN AGREEMENT WITH AN AT-SEA OBSERVER COMPANY.
THE LICENCE HOLDER/OPERATOR MAY BE REQUIRED TO HAVE AN OBSERVER (AT SEA) ON BOARD THE VESSEL DUIRNG ANY FISHING TRIP WHETHER OR NOT AN ELECTRONIC VESSEL MONITORING SYSTEM (VMS) IS INSTALLED ON THE VESSEL. THE HAIL-OUT SYSTEM, WILL NOTIFY THE OPERATOR OF THE LICENCE WHEN AN AT-SEA OBSERVER IS REQUIRED. THE LICENCE HOLDER/OPERATOR IS REQUIRED TO CONTACT THE AT-SEA OBSERVER COMPANY TO ARRANGE TO TAKE AN AT-SEA OBSERVER FOR THAT FISHING TRIP. WHEN THE LICENCE HOLDER/OPERATOR IS REQUIRED TO TAKE AN OBSERVER (AT-SEA) NO PERSON SHALL DEPART FROM PORT FOR A FISHING TRIP UNTIL THE AT-SEA OBSERVER IS ON BOARD THE VESSEL.

8.THE LICENCE HOLDER/OPERATOR IS REQUIRED TO HAVE AN APPROVED VESSEL MONITORING SYSTEM (VMS) IN ACCORDANCE WITH SCHEDULE II ATTACHED.

GEAR

9.THE LICENCE HOLDER/OPERATOR IS ONLY PERMITTED TO USE A MAXIMUM OF 60 SNOW CRAB TRAPS. EACH TRAP MUST HAVE FITTED IN AT LEAST ONE EXTERIOR WALL AN ESCAPE PANEL LOCATED A MAXIMUM OF 101 MM (4 INCHES) FROM THE FLOOR OF THE TRAP WHICH, WHEN REMOVED PROVIDES AN OPENING OF THE FOLLOWING DIMENSIONS:

- MINIMUM OF 76 MM (3 INCHES) HIGH
- MINIMUM OF 279 MM (11 INCHES) WIDE

10.THESE ESCAPE PANELS MUST BE FASTENED WITH UNTREATED COTTON OR SISAL TWINE THAT DOES NOT EXCEED 4.8 MM IN DIAMETER, OR UNCOATED FERROUS METAL WIRE, OTHER THAN STAINLESS STEEL, THAT DOES NOT EXCEED 1.6 MM IN DIAMETER.

11.TRAPS CONSTRUCTED OF WIRE MESH-LIKE CONFIGURATION MUST MEET A MINIMUM SIZE REQUIREMENT OF 65 MM WHEN MEASURING FROM THE INSIDE CORNERS OF ANY TWO ADJACENT SIDES OF ANY SQUARE WHICH FORMS PART OF THE MESH-LIKE CONFIGURATION.

12.THE LICENCE HOLDER/OPERATOR IS REQUIRED TO FOLLOW ALL OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR TAGS IN SCHEDULE III OF THIS LICENCE CONDITION.

INCIDENTAL CATCH

13.THE LICENCE HOLDER/OPERATOR IS REQUIRED TO RETURN TO THE WATER ALL SPECIES OF FISH CAUGHT INCIDENTALLY AS SOON AS THE FISH IS REMOVED FROM THE CRAB TRAP, FROM WHERE IT WAS TAKEN, AND WHERE IT IS ALIVE, IN A MANNER THAT CAUSES IT THE LEAST HARM.

(A) THE LICENCE HOLDER/OPERATOR MAY RETURN SOFT-SHELL SNOW CRAB, WHITE SNOW CRAB, SMALL CLAWED (PENCIL CLAW) SNOW CRAB, AND BLACK SNOW CRAB AS SOON AS THE FISH IS REMOVED FROM THE CRAB TRAP, FROM WHERE IT WAS TAKEN, AND WHERE IT IS ALIVE, IN A MANNER THAT CAUSES IT THE LEAST HARM.

MONITORING & REPORTING

14.THE LICENCE HOLDER/OPERATOR IS REQUIRED TO HAVE THE WEIGHT AND SPECIES OF FISH LANDED FROM THE VESSEL VERIFIED BY AN OBSERVER (DOCKSIDE). THE MASTER OF THE VESSEL IS REQUIRED TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO THE VESSEL AND THE FISHING RECORDS TO THE ASSIGNED OBSERVER (DOCKSIDE). FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS LICENCE CONDITION, AN OBSERVER (DOCKSIDE) IS AN INDIVIDUAL OR CORPORATION DESIGNATED AS AN OBSERVER BY THE REGIONAL DIRECTOR-GENERAL FOR THE MARITIMES REGION PURSUANT TO SUBSECTIONS 39. (1) AND 39.1 (1) OF THE FISHERY (GENERAL) REGULATIONS AND WHO HAS BEEN APPOINTED TO MONITOR THE LANDING OF FISH AND TO VERIFY THE WEIGHT AND SPECIES OF FISH CAUGHT AND RETAINED. NO PERSON SHALL OFFLOAD THE VESSEL PRIOR TO THE TIME STATED IN THE HAIL.

15.NO PERSON SHALL LAND (OFFLOAD) ANY FISH OR PORTIONS THEREOF FROM YOUR VESSEL UNLESS ALL OF THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS ARE ADHERED TO:

A.)THE OBSERVER(S) (DOCKSIDE) IS PRESENT ONBOARD THE VESSEL TO VERIFY THE CRAB MONITORING DOCUMENT IS FULLY COMPLETED BY THE CAPTAIN OF THE VESSEL AND VERIFY THE WEIGHT AND SPECIES OF THE CATCH IN THE VESSEL;

B.)ALL FISH LANDED MUST BE WEIGHED ON AN ACCURATE SCALE AT DOCKSIDE POINT OF LANDING (OFFLOADING);

C.)THE LICENCE HOLDER/OPERATOR IS TO ENSURE THAT THE OBSERVER(S) (DOCKSIDE) IS ABLE TO MAINTAIN VISUAL CONTINUITY OF THE FISH BEING REMOVED FROM THE VESSEL AT THE DOCKSIDE POINT OF LANDING (OFFLOADING);

D.)THE LICENCE HOLDER IS REQUIRED TO ENSURE THE OBSERVER (DOCKSIDE) REMAINS WITH THE VESSEL TO VERIFY LANDINGS OF ALL FISH FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE OFFLOAD UNTIL ALL FISH IS OFFLOADED; AND

E.)AN ACCURATE WEIGHT IS SUPPLIED TO THE OBSERVER(S) (DOCKSIDE) IMMEDIATELY AFTER LANDING (OFFLOADING) THE FISH FROM THE VESSEL.

16.THE LICENCE HOLDER/OPERATOR IS REQUIRED TO COMPLETE THE LOG SECTION OF THE CRAB MONITORING DOCUMENT DURING EACH FISHING TRIP ON A DAILY BASIS PRIOR TO RETURNING TO PORT. A COPY OF THE DOCUMENT MUST REMAIN ON BOARD THE VESSEL UNTIL THE OFFLOADING IS COMPLETED.

17.PURSUANT TO SECTION 61 OF THE FISHERIES ACT THE LICENCE HODLER/OPERATOR IS REQUIRED TO RECORD AND PROVIDE INFORMATION REGARDING THE FISHING ACTIVITES IN THE CRAB MONITORING DOCUMENT ON A TRIP BASIS DURING EACH FISHING TRIP AND PRIOR TO RETURNING TO PORT. THE LICENCE HOLDER/OPERATOR IS REQUIRED TO COMPLETE THE MONITORING DOCUMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE INSTRUCTIONS DESCRIBED IN SCHEDULE IV. THE LICENCE HOLDER SHALL USE THE FORMAT PROVIDED BY FISHERIES AND OCEANS CANADA. THE LICENCE HOLDER/OPERATOR IS ONLY AUTHORIZED TO OBTAIN THE CRAB MONITORING DOCUMENT FROM A FISHERIES AND OCEANS CANADA APPROVED SUPPLIER OF LOGBOOKS.

18.IF THE LICENCE HOLDER IS THE OWNER OF A LOBSTER LICENCE, THE PERIOD OF VALIDITY OF WHICH IS CONCURRENT WITH THIS LICENCE, THE LICENCE HOLDER/OPERATOR IS NOT AUTHORIZED TO FISH BOTH LICENCES DURING THE SAME FISHING TRIP.

SPECIES AT RISK ACT

19.IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE RECOVERY STRATEGY FOR THE LEATHERBACK TURTLE (DERMOCHELYS CORIACEA) IN ATLANTIC CANADA, THE LICENCE HOLDER/OPERATOR IS PERMITTED TO CARRY OUT FISHING ACTIVITIES AUTHORIZED UNDER THE FISHERIES ACT THAT MAY INCIDENTALLY KILL, HARM, HARASS, CAPTURE OR TAKE LEATHERBACK TURTLES, AS PER SUBSECTION 83(4) OF THE SPECIES AT RISK ACT (SARA).

THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS APPLY:

A) THIS PERMISSION IS ONLY VALID WHILE FISHING IS CONDUCTED UNDER THIS LICENCE ISSUED TO YOU UNDER THE FISHERIES ACT IN ALL AUTHORIZED WATERS UNDER THIS LICENCE.

B) THE LICENCE HOLDER/OPERATOR IS REQUIRED TO ENSURE THAT, WHILE THE FISHING ACTIVITIES ARE CONDUCTED, EVERY PERSON ON BOARD THE VESSEL WHO CAPTURES A LEATHERBACK TURTLE INCIDENTALLY FORTHWITH RETURNS IT TO THE PLACE FROM WHICH IT WAS TAKEN, AND WHERE IT IS ALIVE, IN A MANNER THAT CAUSES IT THE LEAST HARM.

C) THE LICENCE HOLDER/OPERATOR IS REQUIRED TO PROVIDE INFORMATION REGARDING INTERACTIONS WITH SPECIES AT RISK WHILE CONDUCTING FISHING OPERATIONS IN THE SARA MONITORING DOCUMENT AVAILABLE FROM A FISHERIES AND OCEANS CANADA APPROVED SUPPLIER OF LOGBOOKS. THE LICENCE HOLDER/OPERATOR IS REQUIRED TO COMPLETE THE DOCUMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE INSTRUCTIONS DESCRIBED IN SCHEDULE V AND SUPPLY THE OBSERVER (DOCKSIDE) AT THE END OF EACH FISHING TRIP WITH A COPY OF ALL MONITORING DOCUMENTS.

GENERAL

20.THE LICENCE HOLDER/OPERATOR REQUESTED AND RECEIVED THESE LICENCE CONDITIONS IN ENGLISH.

21.THE LICENCE HOLDER/OPERATOR UNDERSTANDS THE ABOVE LICENCE CONDITIONS ISSUED.

22.THIS LICENCE/CONDITION CANCELS AND REPLACES ANY PREVIOUS ^RYEAR LICENCE/CONDITION ISSUED FOR THIS LICENCE.

PLEASE NOTE: FOR INFORMATION REGARDING AREAS OPEN OR CLOSED TO FISHING, VARIATION ORDERS, AND FOR CLARIFICATION OF ANY PROVISIONS CONTAINED IN THIS LICENCE CONDITION, THE LICENCE HOLDER/OPERATOR MUST CONTACT A LOCAL FISHERY OFFICER. THE LICENCE HOLDER/OPERATOR IS RESPONSIBLE TO ADHERE TO THE CONDITIONS WITHIN THE LICENCE AND CONDITIONS. DOCKSIDE MONITORING COMPANIES AND OBSERVERS ARE NOT AGENTS OF FISHERIES AND OCEANS CANADA. DOCKSIDE MONITORING COMPANIES AND OBSERVERS ARE NOT AUTHORIZED, ON BEHALF OF FISHERIES AND OCEANS CANADA, TO PROVIDE ANY INFORMATION, PROVIDE INTERPRETATION OF ANY OF THE LICENCE CONDITIONS OR AUTHORIZE WHEN OFFLOADING OCCURS TO FISHERS.

EFFECTIVE MARCH 26, ^RYEAR SNOW CRAB TRAPS ARE PERMITTED TO BE STORED ON THE VESSEL AUTHORIZED TO FISH UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THIS LICENCE. PRIOR TO THE OPENING OF THE SEASON, THE VESSEL MUST BE MOORED AND REMAIN MOORED WITHIN THE LEASED BOUNDAREAS OF A HARBOUR THAT IS MANAGED BY AN INCORPORATED HARBOUR.

SCHEDULE I - CFA 24 AUTHORIZED AREAS

NOTE: WHEN THE GEOGRAPHIC BOUNDARY OF AN AREA IS EXPRESSED IN LATITUDE AND LONGITUDE, THOSE POINT REFERENCES ARE BASED ON THE GEODESIC REFERENCE SYSTEM NORTH AMERICAN DATUM 1927 (NAD27).

1.SUBJECT TO ANY VARIATION ORDERS ISSUED OR ANY NEW VARIATION ORDERS WHICH MAY BE ISSUED, FISHING IS AUTHORIZED IN CRAB FISHING AREA 24 DURING THE TIME SPECIFIED IN THE LICENCE CONDITION.

2.NO PERSON SHALL FISH IN ANY PORTION OF THOSE WATERS OF CRAB FISHING AREA 24 KNOWN AS THE BAD NEIGHBOURS DEFINED BELOW DURING THE PERIOD OF MAY 1 TO JUNE 30 (INCLUSIVE) EACH YEAR.

THOSE WATERS KNOWN AS THE BAD NEIGHBOURS BOUNDED BY RHUMB LINES (SIMILAR TO STRAIGHT LINES PLOTTED ON A NAUTICAL CHART) JOINING THE FOLLOWING POINTS IN THE ORDER IN WHICH THEY ARE LISTED BELOW:

BAD NEIGHBOURS
THE COASTLINE OF NOVA SCOTIA JOINING THE FOLLOWING POINTS:
POINT
1.
2.
3.
4.
NORTH LATITUDE
45° 33' 00"N
45° 19' 00"N
45° 28' 00"N
45° 37' 00"N
WEST LONGITUDE
60° 57' 00"W
60° 57' 00"W
60° 24' 42"W
60° 31' 00"W

3.NO PERSON SHALL FISH IN ANY PORTION OF THOSE WATERS OF CRAB FISHING AREA 24 KNOWN AS THE CANSO HOLE DEFINED BELOW DURING THE PERIOD OF APRIL 1 TO JUNE 30 (INCLUSIVE) EACH YEAR.

THOSE WATERS KNOWN AS THE CANSO HOLES BOUNDED BY RHUMB LINES (SIMILAR TO STRAIGHT LINES PLOTTED ON A NAUTICAL CHART) JOINING THE FOLLOWING POINTS IN THE ORDER IN WHICH THEY ARE LISTED BELOW:

CANSO HOLE
POINT
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
NORTH LATITUDE
45° 00' 00"N
44° 34' 00"N
44° 34' 00"N
45° 00' 00"N
45° 00' 00"N
WEST LONGITUDE
61° 00' 00"W
61° 00' 00"W
60° 37' 00"W
60° 37' 00"W
61° 00' 00"W

4.NO PERSON SHALL FISH IN ANY PORTION OF THOSE WATERS OF CRAB FISHING AREA 24 KNOWN AS THE AREA EAST OF CANSO HOLE DEFINED BELOW DURING THE PERIOD OF JUNE 1 TO JUNE 30 (INCLUSIVE) EACH YEAR.

THOSE WATERS KNOWN AS THE AREA EAST OF CANSO HOLE BOUNDED BY RHUMB LINES (SIMILAR TO STRAIGHT LINES PLOTTED ON A NAUTICAL CHART) JOINING THE FOLLOWING POINTS IN THE ORDER IN WHICH THEY ARE LISTED BELOW:

AREA EAST OF CANSO HOLE
POINT
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
NORTH LATITUDE
44° 34' 00"N
45° 00' 00"N
45° 00' 00"N
44° 34' 00"N
44° 34' 00"N
WEST LONGITUDE
60° 37' 00"W
60° 37' 00"W
60° 16' 00"W
60° 16' 00"W
60° 37' 00"W

5.NO PERSON SHALL FISH IN ANY PORTION OF THOSE WATERS OF CRAB FISHING AREA 24 KNOWN AS CENTRAL EASTERN HOLE DEFINED BELOW DURING THE PERIOD OF APRIL 1 TO JUNE 30 (INCLUSIVE) EACH YEAR.

THOSE WATERS KNOWN AS THE CENTRAL EASTERN HOLE BOUNDED BY RHUMB LINES (SIMILAR TO STRAIGHT LINES PLOTTED ON A NAUTICAL CHART) JOINING THE FOLLOWING POINTS IN THE ORDER IN WHICH THEY ARE LISTED BELOW:

CENTRAL EASTERN HOLE
POINT
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
NORTH LATITUDE
45° 00' 00"N
44° 34' 00"N
44° 34' 00"N
45° 00' 00"N
45° 00' 00"N
WEST LONGITUDE
60° 16' 00"W
60° 16' 00"W
58° 45' 00"W
58° 45' 00"W
60° 16' 00"W

6.NO PERSON SHALL FISH IN ANY PORTION OF THE AREA KNOWN AS THE NW SABLE BOX DEFINED BELOW DURING THE PERIOD OF MAY 16 TO AUGUST 15 (INCLUSIVE) EACH YEAR.

THOSE WATERS OF CRAB FISHING AREA 24 BOUNDED BY RHUMB LINES (SIMILAR TO STRAIGHT LINES PLOTTED ON A NAUTICAL CHART) JOINING THE FOLLOWING POINTS IN THE ORDER IN WHICH THEY ARE LISTED BELOW:

NW SABLE BOX
POINT
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
NORTH LATITUDE
44° 21' 00"N
44° 21' 00"N
44° 10' 00"N
44° 10' 00"N
44° 21' 00"N
WEST LONGITUDE
60° 08' 00"W
59° 50' 00"W
59° 50' 00"W
60° 08' 00"W
60° 08' 00"W

7.NO PERSON SHALL FISH IN ANY PORTION OF THOSE WATERS OF CRAB FISHING AREA 24 KNOWN AS THE SABLE GULLY MARINE PROTECTED AREA ENCLOSED BY RHUMB LINES (SIMILAR TO STRAIGHT LINES PLOTTED ON A NAUTICAL CHART) JOINING THE FOLLOWING POINTS IN THE ORDER IN WHICH THEY ARE LISTED, DURING THE PERIOD JANUARY 1 TO DECEMBER 31 EACH YEAR.

SABLE GULLY MARINE PROTECTED AREA
POINT
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
NORTH LATITUDE
44° 13' 00"N
43° 47' 00"N
43° 35' 00"N
43° 35' 00"N
43° 55' 00"N
44° 06' 00"N
44° 13' 00"N
WEST LONGITUDE
59° 06' 00"W
58° 35' 00"W
58° 35' 00"W
59° 08' 00"W
59° 08' 00"W
59° 20' 00"W
59° 06' 00"W

SCHEDULE II - CONDITIONS PERTAINING TO THE DFO VESSEL MONITORING SYSTEM (VMS)

THIS LICENCE IS SUBJECT TO THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS:

1.THE LICENCE HOLDER/OPERATOR IS REQUIRED TO HAVE AN APPROVED VESSEL MONITORING SYSTEM (VMS) AUTHORIZED BY DFO ON THE VESSEL AUTHORIZED TO FISH UNDER THE SNOW CRAB FISHING LICENCE NUMBER ^LICENCE.

2.THE VESSEL MUST BE FITTED WITH THE APPROVED VESSEL MONITORING SYSTEM (VMS) PROVIDING DATA TO THE DFO VESSEL MONITORING OPERATIONS CENTRE.

3.WHERE, IN ACCORDANCE WITH ITEM 1 AN ELECTRONIC VMS IS IN USE ON THE VESSEL, THE LICENCE HOLDER/OPERATOR SHALL ENSURE THE SYSTEM IS FULLY OPERATIONAL, TURNED ON AND IN USE FROM THE TIME THE VESSEL LEAVES PORT UNTIL ALL OF THE FISH ON BOARD THE VESSEL IS OFFLOADED.

4.THE LICENCE HOLDER / OPERATOR OF THE VESSEL AUTHORIZED TO USE AN ELECTRONIC VMS, SHALL DURING ANY FISHING TRIP, IMMEDIATELY CEASE ALL FISHING ACTIVITY SHOULD ANY OR ALL OF THIS EQUIPMENT BECOME INOPERATIVE, IS TURNED OFF OR MALFUNCTION IN ANY WAY. THE LICENCE HOLDER / OPERATOR OF THE VESSEL SHALL NOT RESUME ANY FISHING ACTIVITY WHILE THE ELECTRONIC VMS IS INOPERATIVE, TURNED OFF OR IS MALFUNCTIONING IN ANY WAY. THE LICENCE HOLDER / OPERATOR SHALL NOTIFY DFO OF ANY SUCH MALFUNCTION BY TELEPHONE AT (709) 772-2083 AND PROVIDE THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION:

1. NAME OF MASTER,
2. NAME OF VESSEL AND VESSEL REGISTRATION NUMBER,
3. DATE AND TIME OF SAILING,
4. PORT OF LANDING, AND
5. TELEPHONE NUMBER WHERE THE MASTER CAN BE REACHED.

5.FISHING IS ONLY AUTHORIZED WHEN THE ELECTRONIC VMS IS FUNCTIONAL, FULLY OPERATIONAL AND TURNED ON OR WHEN THE LICENCE HOLDER / OPERATOR RECEIVES APPROVAL FROM DFO TO RESUME FISHING.

6.WHERE, IN ACCORDANCE WITH ITEM 1, AN ELECTRONIC VMS IS USED ON THE VESSEL DURING ANY FISHING TRIP, NO PERSON SHALL:

(A)ALTER OR TAMPER WITH THAT ELECTRONIC SYSTEM;

(B)DESTROY, DISPOSE OF OR REMOVE THE ELECTRONIC MONITORING SYSTEM OR ASSOCIATED ELECTRONIC RECORDS OR STORAGE MEDIA;

(C) EMIT, OR CAUSE TO BE EMITTED, ANY ELECTRONIC OR ELECTRIC SIGNAL THAT RENDERS THE EQUIPMENT OR SYSTEM INOPERATIVE OR INACCURATE; OR

(D)INTERFERE WITH OR BLOCK ANY SIGNALS REQUIRED BY THE ELECTRONIC MONITORING SYSTEM TO GATHER, RECORD, OR TRANSMIT INFORMATION;

(E)TURN OFF THE VMS FROM THE TIME THE VESSEL LEAVES PORT UNTIL ALL OF THE FISH ON BOARD THE VESSEL IS OFFLOADED.

7.FOR EACH VMS TRANSPONDER OR SERVICE PROVIDER INITIATION, REPLACEMENT, TRANSFER OR RESUMPTION, A COMPLETED (DFO) NATIONAL VESSEL MONITORING SYSTEM (VMS) FORM MUST BE FORWARDED BY FAX AT 709-772-5787 AT LEAST TWO FULL BUSINESS DAYS BEFORE COMMENCING FISHING OPERATIONS.

8.THE VMS TRANSPONDER ON THE VESSEL MUST REPORT THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION AUTOMATICALLY TO DFO EACH HOUR:
VMS IDENTIFICATION NUMBER AND COMMUNICATION SERVICE PROVIDER (CSP) (NAME & CSP NUMBER);
GEOGRAPHIC POSITION (LATITUDE/LONGITUDE) OF THE VESSEL; AND
DATE AND TIME CORRESPONDING TO THE ABOVE POSITION.

9.SHOULD THE VMS EQUIPMENT OR SYSTEM BECOME INOPERATIVE OR MALFUNCTION IN ANY WAY WHILE A VESSEL IS FISHING IN THE NAFO REGULATORY AREA, IN ADDITION TO THE REQUIREMENTS SPECIFIED IN SECTION (4) ABOVE, THAT VESSEL MUST CEASE FISHING AND RETURN TO CANADIAN FISHERIES WATERS.

10.WHERE A VESSEL CARRIES TWO OR MORE APPROVED VMS UNITS ON BOARD, ONE MUST BE IDENTIFIED AS THE PRIMARY VMS UNIT, AND ALL OTHER UNITS MUST BE REGISTERED WITH DFO AS BACKUP UNITS. IN THE EVENT OF FAILURE OF THE PRIMARY UNIT, IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE LICENCE HOLDER/OPERATOR TO IMMEDIATELY NOTIFY DFO THAT A BACK-UP UNIT IS BEING ACTIVATED AND SUBSEQUENTLY ENSURE IT IS FULLY OPERATIONAL BEFORE RESUMING FISHING ACTIVITY.

SCHEDULE III – TAG REQUIREMENTS

THE LICENCE HOLDER/VESSEL OPERATOR SHALL NOT FISH WITH OR HAVE ON BOARD THE VESSEL, A CRAB TRAP UNLESS A SINGLE VALID TAG WITH A UNIQUE IDENTIFICATION NUMBER IS SECURELY ATTACHED TO THE FRAME OF THE CRAB TRAP IN THE MANNER FOR WHICH THE TAG WAS DESIGNED AND IN A MANNER SUCH THAT THE TAG IS READILY VISIBLE WHEN THE CRAB TRAP IS NOT IN THE WATER. THIS TAGGING REQUIREMENT APPLIES ONLY TO FISHING GEAR REQUIRED TO BE TAGGED.

2.A CRAB TRAP WHICH IS BEING FISHED UNDER THIS LICENCE SHALL NOT HAVE MORE THAN ONE TAG ATTACHED TO IT.

3(A)AN ORIGINAL TAG IS VALID IF:
-THE COLOUR OF THE TAG IS PURPLE, UNLESS THE TAG IS TO REMAIN ON THE FISHING GEAR FOR MORE THAN ONE YEAR (MULTI-YEAR), IN WHICH CASE THE TAG MUST BE WHITE IN COLOUR OR MADE OF METAL;
-THE TAG HAS A LOCKING DEVICE THAT RENDERS THE TAG TAMPERPROOF;
-THE TAG BEARS A CLEAR AND LEGIBLE UNIQUE TAG NUMBER COMPOSED OF THE FISHING AREA, A TAG SUPPLIER IDENTIFICATION NUMBER AND A SEQUENTIAL NUMBER ASSIGNED TO THAT TAG;
-THE TAG MANUFACTURER IS IDENTIFIED ON THE TAG; AND
-THE TAG HAS BEEN OBTAINED BY THE LICENCE HOLDER FROM A SUPPLIER IDENTIFIED IN A TAGGING PLAN APPROVED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF FISHERIES AND OCEANS.

 (B)A REPLACEMENT TAG IS VALID IF:
THE COLOUR OF THE TAG IS THE SAME COLOUR AS THE ORIGINAL TAG IT IS REPLACING;
-THE TAG HAS A LOCKING DEVICE THAT RENDERS THE TAG TAMPERPROOF;
-THE TAG BEARS A CLEAR AND LEGIBLE SPECIFIC TAG NUMBER UNIQUE TO EACH CRAB TRAP AUTHORIZED TO BE USED UNDER THIS LICENCE;
-THE TAG MANUFACTURER IS IDENTIFIED ON THE TAG; AND
-THE TAG HAS BEEN OBTAINED BY THE LICENCE HOLDER FROM A SINGLE SUPPLIER UNDER THE SAME TAGGING PLAN APPROVED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF FISHERIES AND OCEANS FOR THE ISSUANCE OF THE ORIGINAL TAGS.

4.WHILE FISHING UNDER THIS LICENCE, THE LICENCE HOLDER/VESSEL OPERATOR SHALL ONLY USE TAGS THAT HAVE BEEN OBTAINED FROM A SINGLE TAG SUPPLIER.

5.WHILE FISHING UNDER THIS LICENCE, THE LICENCE HOLDER/VESSEL OPERATOR SHALL NOT FISH MORE CRAB TRAPS AT ANY ONE TIME THAN THE MAXIMUM NUMBER OF CRAB TRAPS SPECIFIED IN THIS LICENCE.

6.PRIOR TO SETTING ANY CRAB TRAPS CARRIED ON BOARD THIS VESSEL AND AT ALL TIMES WHILE FISHING UNDER THIS LICENCE, THE LICENCE HOLDER/VESSEL OPERATOR SHALL HAVE ON BOARD THE VESSEL A COMPLETE AND LEGIBLE RECORD LISTING THE FIRST AND LAST SEQUENCE NUMBERS FOR ALL ORIGINAL TAGS ATTACHED TO THE CRAB TRAPS CARRIED ONBOARD THE VESSEL OR BEING FISHED UNDER THIS LICENCE INCLUDING THE NAME OF THE TAG SUPPLIER FROM WHICH THE TAGS HAVE BEEN OBTAINED AND THE TAG NUMBERS OF REPLACEMENT TAGS, THE DATE THAT THOSE REPLACEMENT TAGS WERE ATTACHED TO THE FISHING GEAR AND THE NUMBER OF THE ORIGINAL OR REPLACEMENT TAGS BEING REPLACED. THE PRESCRIBED RECORD SHALL BE KEPT ON THE FORM PROVIDED WITH THIS LICENCE AND SHALL BE PRODUCED ON DEMAND OF A FISHERY OFFICER OR A FISHERY GUARDIAN.

7.AN ORIGINAL OR REPLACEMENT TAG THAT IS LISTED AS HAVING BEEN REPLACED, IN THE RECORD OF FISHING GEAR TAGS IS NO LONGER A VALID TAG.

8.WHERE FISHING IS CONDUCTED UNDER AN ARRANGEMENT (PARTNERSHIP, BUDDY-UP) APPROVED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF FISHERIES AND OCEANS, THE RECORD OF FISHING GEAR TAGS ASSOCIATED WITH ALL THE LICENCES BEING FISHED WITH THIS VESSEL SHALL BE KEPT ON BOARD THE VESSEL FOR THE PERIOD AUTHORIZED TO FISH UNDER THIS LICENCE.

9.ALL REPLACEMENT TAGS SHALL BE CARRIED ON BOARD THE VESSEL UNLESS THEY ARE ATTACHED TO CRAB TRAPS BEING FISHED UNDER THIS LICENCE. THESE TAGS SHALL BE PRODUCED ON DEMAND OF A FISHERY OFFICER OR A FISHERY GUARDIAN.

RECORD OF FISHING GEAR TAGS
NAME OF TAG SUPPLIER:
ORIGINAL TAG SEQUENCE NUMBERS
FIRST TAG NUMBER:
LAST TAG NUMBER:

REPLACEMENT TAG NUMBER

_____________________________
_____________________________
_____________________________
_____________________________
_____________________________
_____________________________
_____________________________

DATE ATTACHED
(DD/MM/YYYY)

_____________________________
_____________________________
_____________________________
_____________________________
_____________________________
_____________________________
_____________________________

NUMBER OF TAG REPLACED

_____________________________
_____________________________
_____________________________
_____________________________
_____________________________
_____________________________
_____________________________

USE A SEPARATE LINE FOR A SINGLE REPLACEMENT TAG OR A SEQUENCE OF REPLACEMENT TAGS.

SCHEDULE IV CRAB MONITORING DOCUMENT INSTRUCTIONS

FILL OUT ALL LINES IN THE GENERAL INFORMATION SECTION, INCLUDING CRAB LICENSE NUMBER, NAFO AREA, VESSEL NAME, VESSEL REGISTRATION NUMBER, CRAB AREA OR LFA, DATE SAILED, DATE LANDED AND PORT LANDED. INCLUDED YEAR IN DATE SAILED AND LANDED (EXAMPLE JULY 28/97 OR 20/07/97).

  1. COMPLETE LOG INFORMATION INCLUDING TRAP AND SIZE. USE ONE LINE PER STRING OR GROUP OF STRINGS. COMBINE GROUPS OF STRINGS THAT USED THE SAME BAIT, ARE WITHIN THE SAME DEPTH RANGE AND WITHIN 5 MILES OF EACH OTHER.
    1. DATE – AS MONTH /DAY.
    2. LOCATION – DOCKSIDE MONITORING NEEDS LATITUDE AND LONGITUDE NOT TD’S. GIVE A MIDDLE LOCATION FOR THE STRINGS OR GROUP OF STRINGS. VALUES SHOULD BE IN DEGREES AND MINUTES EXAMPLE: 4415/6405 (DECIMAL MINUTES ARE NOT REQUIRED).
    3. DEPTH – IN FATHOMS. A RANGE CAN BE SHOWN. EXAMPLE 89 – 91 FATHOMS.
    4. # OF TRAPS – TOTAL NUMBER OF TRAPS FOR THE STRING OR GROUP OF STRINGS.
    5. SOAK TIME – IN DAYS.
    6. SPEC. CODE – USE THE CODE NUMBER FROM THE LOG INFORMATION SECTION FOR CRAB LANDED.
    7. CATCH – STARTING WITH THE MAIN SPECIES GIVE THE SPECIES CODE AND POUNDS KEPT FOR THAT STRING OR GROUP OF STRINGS.
    8. COMMENTS – GIVE BAIT USED AND IDENTIFY BYCATCH. INCLUDE ANY OTHER INFORMATION YOU FEEL IS IMPORTANT.
  2. COMPLETE HAIL INFORMATION INCLUDING TOTAL POUNDS ON BOARD.
  3. COMPLETE WEIGHOUT SLIP WHEN YOU SELL YOUR CRABS. INCLUDE DATE SOLD, SPECIES OF CRAB, WEIGHT IN POUNDS, PRICE PER POUND, AND THE BUYER’S NAME.
  4. CAPTAIN SHALL PRINT THEIR NAME AND SIGN UNDERNEATH. IF WEIGHED OUT AT DOCKSIDE BY A DOCKSIDE MONITOR, THE MONITOR SHALL PRINT THEIR NAME AND THEN SIGN UNDERNEATH.

NOTE: ONE DOCUMENT IS TO BE COMPLETED FOR EACH FISHING TRIP.

SCHEDULE V SPECIES AT RISK LOGBOOK – MARITIMES REGION INSTRUCTIONS

THIS LOGBOOK IS DESIGNED SPECIFICALLY FOR ALL FISHERMEN HOLDING A PERMIT ISSUED PURSUANT TO SECTION 73 OF THE SPECIES OF RISK ACT OR WHO ARE REQUIRED TO REPORT BY-CATCH OF SPECIES AT RISK IN ACCORDANCE WITH AN APPROVED RECOVERY STRATEGY. ONE LOG MUST BE SUBMITTED FOR EACH FISHING TRIP WHETHER OR NOT SPECIES AT RISK ARE CAUGHT.

A. GENERAL INFORMATION

PLEASE ENSURE THAT ALL THE INFORMATION REQUESTED IN THIS SECTION IS FILLED IN. THIS INCLUDED THE VESSEL NAME, VESSEL REGISTRATION NUMBER (VRN), DIRECTED FISHERY AND CORRESPONDING FISHING LICENCE NUMBER, DATE LANDED OF THE FISHING TRIP AND HAIL-IN CONFIRMATION NUMBER.

B. LOG INFORMATION – BY-CATCH AND DISCARDS

IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT ALL OF THE LOG INFORMATION BE FILLED OUT CLEARLY AND COMPLETELY. IF NO SPECIES AT RISK WERE CAUGHT ON THE FISHING TRIP, YOU ARE STILL REQUIRED TO FILL IN AND SUBMIT A NIL REPORT, CHECK-MARKING THE BOX PROVIDED. WHEN BY-CATCH INCIDENTS OCCUR, PLEASE FILL IN ONLY THE LINE PER FISHING DAY. YOU SHOULD RECORD THE YEAR (ONCE, AT TOP), MONTH, DAY OF CATCH, THE POSITION IN LATITUDE AND LONGITUDE (IN DEGREES-MINUTES-SECONDS), AND FOR EACH SPECIES CAUGHT AND RELEASED, ESTIMATE THE TOTAL LIVE (ROUND) WEIGHT IN KILOGRAMS OF ALL FISH CAUGHT, AS WELL AS THE NUMBER OF SPECIMENS CAUGHT. FOR TURTLES, PROVIDE THE NUMBER OF SPECIMENS CAUGHT AND CONDITION UPON RELEASE (ALIVE OR DEAD). IF THERE WERE MORE THAN ONE FISHING SET IN A DAY, RECORD THE POSITION WHERE THE MOST SPECIES AT RISK WERE CAUGHT. RECORD THE RELEASE OF ANY ADDITIONAL SPECIES AT RISK, SPECIES OF SPECIAL CONCERN, OR COMMITTEE ON THE STATUS OF ENDANGERED WILDLIFE IN CANADA (COSEWIC) DESIGNATED SPECIES AS MAY BE LISTED AND REQUIRED BY CONDITION OF LICENCE IN THE BLANK SPACES PROVIDED, ALONG WITH THE NUMBER OF SPECIMENS CAUGHT, ESTIMATED TOTAL LIVE WEIGHT (IF MULTIPLE SPECIMENS) AND/OR CONDITION UPON RELEASE (FOR LARGE, SINGLE SPECIMENS SUCH AS GIANT SEA TURTLES OR WHALES), AS PRACTICAL.

C. OPERATOR’S SIGNATURE

THE LOGBOOK PAGE MUST BE SIGNED BY THE LICENCE HOLDER OR AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE. THE PAGE MUST BE SUBMITTED TO A DOCKSIDE OBSERVER UPON LANDING OR IF LANDING IS NOT OBSERVED, SUBMIT TO A DOCKSIDE MONITORING COMPANY ALONG WITH THE FISHERY MONITORING DOCUMENT FOR THE SAME TRIP. AN OBSERVER (DOCKSIDE) IS AN INDIVIDUAL OR CORPORATION DESIGNATED AS AN OBSERVER BY THE REGIONAL DIRECTOR-GENERAL FOR THE MARITIMES REGION PURSUANT TO SUBSECTIONS 39. (1) AND 39.1 (1) OF THE FISHERY (GENERAL) REGULATIONS AND WHO HAS BEEN APPOINTED TO MONITOR THE LANDING OF FISH AND TO VERIFY THE WEIGHT AND SPECIES OF FISH CAUGHT AND RETAINED.

Appendix 5: 2013 Assessment of Nova Scotia (4VWX) Snow Crab Summary

  • Landings in 2012 for N-ENS (North-Eastern Nova Scotia) and S-ENS (South-Eastern Nova Scotia) were 603 and 11,707 t, respectively, and they were 345 t in 4X for the 2011/12 season, representing an increase of 13%, a decrease of 4% and no change relative to the previous year. Total allowable catches in 2012 were 603, 11,733 and 346 t in N-ENS, S-ENS and 4X, respectively.
  • Non-standardised catch rates in 2012 increased by 6% in N-ENS, decreased by 8% in S-ENS and decreased by 24% in 4X, relative to the previous year. In S-ENS, decreased catch rates were attributed to a 14% decrease in Crab fishing area (CFA) 24.
  • In N-ENS, the estimated soft shell crab discard (% of total landings) increased to 8.9% in 2012, vs. 1.7% in 2011, possibly due to increased summer fishing activities. In S-ENS, 2012 estimated soft shell discards remained near 6.3% of the TAC (Total allowable catch). Soft shell discards in 4X are negligible.
  • The post-fishery fishable biomass decreased by 8.7% in N-ENS and by 3.6% in S-ENS relative to 2011. In 4X, the preliminary pre-fishery fishable biomass decreased by 29.2% relative to 2010/2011, but further analysis of the 4X survey data is required to account for extreme temperature conditions in 2012.
  • The recruitment index has decreased in all areas. Recruitment is currently at intermediate levels in S-ENS and low levels in N-ENS and 4X. In S-ENS, recruitment will likely continue for the next 4-5 years. However, for N-ENS and 4X little to no recruitment is expected for the next 4-5 years.
  • Female snow crab abundance and associated egg production in all areas continue to decline after reaching highs in 2007/2008. Egg production is now below the long-term mean and is expected to remain so for at least 2 - 4 years due to a lack of maturing female crab.
  • In ENS, estimates of bycatch were 0.01% of snow crab landings. CFA 4X shows higher (relative to ENS) bycatch rates at 0.02 % of snow crab landings. Bycatch levels are extremely low in this fishery.
  • High relative densities of predators were found in areas with high densities of immature snow crab. This predation may lower future recruitment to the fishable biomass and affect movement patterns of snow crab.
  • The surface area of potential snow crab habitat in the SSE was above the long-term mean in all areas and is close to the maximum for reference period of 1998-present.
  • A reference points-based Precautionary approach (PA) has been implemented in this fishery. The Limit reference point ( LRP) is 25% of carrying capacity and the Upper stock reference ( USR) is 50% of carrying capacity. The target Removal reference is 20% of the fishable biomass in each area and the Removal reference is not to exceed FMSY. Various secondary (population and ecosystem) indicators are taken into consideration for management decisions.
  • In N-ENS, fishable biomass has been stable and in the “healthy” zone (FB > USR) over the past three years. This positive outlook is, however, for the short-term. In the medium to long-term, there is a need to be mindful of the gap in recruitment which may limit the scope for flexibility in this area without immigration from other areas. A status quo TAC (603 t ) is recommended.
  • In S-ENS, the population is considered to be in the “healthy” zone (FB > USR). As the fishable biomass continues to be near historically high levels with recruitment expected for at least the next three to four years, there is considerable scope for flexibility. A status-quo (11,707 t) to a marginal decrease in TAC would maintain current exploitation rates.
  • In 4X, fishable biomass is in the “healthy” zone (FB > USR). However, as recruitment and potential immigration into the 2012/2013 season is uncertain, a more conservative harvest strategy is recommended pending further analysis before the 2013/2014 season.
  • There have been an increasing number of anecdotal reports of unreported illegal landings, particularly in S-ENS. Such activities negatively impact the assessment and the application of a precautionary approach and must be addressed.