Terms of Reference
Stock Assessment of Snow Crab in Maritimes Region
Regional Peer Review - Maritimes Region
March 9-10, 2023
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 assess the status of the resource for the coming fishing season. The last Snow Crab Science Advisory Meeting was completed in February 2020. Since then stock status updates have been conducted to provide Science advice.
The objectives of this science advisory meeting are:
- Report on overall status of the Eastern Nova Scotia and 4X Snow Crab stocks as of the end of the 2022 season.
- Report on relative abundance after the 2022 season and relative exploitation rates during 2022 fishing season.
- Evaluate the consequences of different harvest levels during the 2023 fisheries on stock abundance and exploitation rate.
- Report on the bycatch of non-target species in the Snow Crab fishery in 2022 and identify any notable changes in the occurrence of these bycatch species relative to previous years.
- Science Advisory Report
- DFO Science
- DFO Resource Management
- Aboriginal Communities/Organizations
- Fishing Industry
- Provincial representative
- Non-government organizations
- Other invited experts
Participation to CSAS peer review meetings is by invitation only.
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