Terms of Reference
Assessment of the Estuary and northern Gulf of St. Lawrence Snow Crab stocks (zones 12A, 12C, 13, 14, 15, 16, 16A and 17)
Regional Peer Review – Quebec Region
February 15-17, 2023
Co-chairs: Kim Émond et Charley Cyr
The snow crab fishery in the Estuary and the northern Gulf of St. Lawrence began in the late 1960s. Landings have varied depending on the adjusted Total Allowable Catches (TACs) based on the recruitment waves and troughs. In 2021, landings have totaled 4,456 t, down by 8% from 2020. The Estuary and northern Gulf of St. Lawrence are divided into nine management areas (13 to 17, 16A, 12A, 12B and 12C). The effort is controlled by a fishing season as well as a limited number of licences and traps and catches are limited by quotas. A limitation of fishing for male crabs with a legal size of 95 mm is also in place. The resource is assessed each year to determine whether changes that have occurred in the stock status necessitate adjustments to the conservation approach and management plan.
Provide scientific advice to determine TACs for the snow crab stocks in the Estuary and northern Gulf of St. Lawrence: management units 13 to 17, 16A, 12A and 12C for the 2023 fishing season. The advice shall include:
- Description of the biology of the snow crab in the Estuary and northern Gulf of St. Lawrence;
- Description of the fishery including landings, fishing effort, carapace condition and changes in size structure over time;
- Analysis of catches per unit effort from the fishery;
- Analysis of data from post-season trap surveys conducted annually in collaboration with fishers. Indicators: number per unit of effort (NPUE) of legal-size and sub-legal-size crabs, changes in size structure over time and spermatheca load when available;
- Analysis of data from trawl survey(s) conducted annually in certain sectors or areas, when available. Indicators: changes over time in the annual densities of males and females according to the size observed;
- Identification and prioritization of research projects to be considered for the future;
- Perspectives and/or recommendations on management measures in effect for the 2023 fishing season for each of the management units, among others, harvest levels and their possible effects on the abundance and maintenance of the reproductive potential, based on a combined indicator (CPUE and NPUE) and related indicators for short- and medium-term predictions in compliance with the precautionary approach.
- Science Advisory Report
- Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) (Science, and Ecosystems and Fisheries Management sectors)
- Fishing industry
- Provincial representatives
- Aboriginal Communities / Organizations
Participation to CSAS peer review meetings is by invitation only.
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