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Stock Status Update of Scotian Shelf Snow Crab

Regional Science Response Process – Maritimes Region

February 24, 2022
Virtual Meeting

Chairperson: Tara McIntyre


Snow Crab (Chionoecetes opilio, O. Fabricius) is a subarctic species with a distribution from northern Labrador to near the Gulf of Maine. Snow Crab has been a dominant macro-invertebrate in the Scotian Shelf ecosystem since the decline of the groundfish during the late 1980s to early 1990s. They are observed in large numbers in deep, soft-bottom substrates ranging from 60–280 m water depths and at temperatures generally less than 6 °C. Scotian Shelf Snow Crab are in the southern-most extreme of its spatial distribution in the Northwest Atlantic.

The Snow Crab fishery on the Scotian Shelf has been in existence since the early 1970s. It occurs annually throughout the year dependent upon the Crab Fishing Area (CFA). In 2005, many CFAs and subareas were merged with the resulting divisions being North-Eastern Nova Scotia (N-ENS; formerly CFAs 20-22), South-Eastern Nova Scotia, S-ENS; formerly CFAs 23, 24), and Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) Area 4X.

In support of the fishery, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) Maritimes Fisheries Management Branch requested that DFO Science Branch provide an update of the stock status of the resource for the coming fishing season. The last Snow Crab assessment Science Advisory Meeting was completed in February 2020. A Science Response Process completed in February 2021 provided the last update of stock status.


The objectives of this science advisory meeting are:

Expected Publication

Expected Participation


Participation to CSAS peer review meetings is by invitation only.

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