2019 - Southern gulf of St. Lawrence snow crab conservation harvesting plan crab fishing area 12E
Moncton and Quebec – April 5, 2019
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) releases the details of the 2019 Crab Fishing Area (CFA) 12E Conservation Harvesting Plan.
The Total Allowable Catch (TAC) in CFA 12E is 214.51 t and is distributed to the existing fleet based on historic shares of 75% for New Brunswick (160.883 t), and 12.5% respectively for Quebec and Prince Edward Island (26.814 t each).
Quota reconciliation is applied in this fishery. Quota overruns during the 2019 season by a licence holder will be deducted in 2020 on a one-for-one basis. It is the responsibility of the licence holder to respect the allocation granted while taking into consideration transfers and landings and has to make the necessary arrangements before departing for a fishing expedition to have quota to cover expected catches for the expedition.
Licence holders who are subject to the owner-operator policy may transfer up to 50% of his or her initial quota on a temporary basis, within one fishing season.
At-Sea observer coverage
At-sea observer coverage representing 20% of fishing trips will be required for 2019.
The creation of partnerships will be permitted. The trap limit for partnerships will be equal to the total traps of one licence, plus 50%.
2019 Management measures
The management measures in 2019 include, amongst others:
- The soft-shell crab protocol.
- Only one valid annual tag per trap. Tags from previous years must be removed. The color for original tags must be royal blue, while the color for replacement tags must be grey.
- 100% dockside monitoring.
- Landings weighed in kilograms on an electronic scale with a memory.
- Maximum mesh size of 75 mm.
- Authorized release of commercial-sized male crab with small claws back in the water.
- For proper management and control purposes, traps will be issued as described in the individual transferable quota (ITQ) program:
- ITQ up to 45 tons: 100 traps
- ITQ > 45 to 68 tons: 125 traps
- ITQ > 68 to 90 tons: 150 traps
- ITQ > 90 tons: 175 traps
- The industry-led Opening Date Committee of the fishery is assessing conditions and will recommend a targeted opening date. Opening the fishery is subject to weather conditions and to DFO operational requirements. The opening date will be confirmed in a separate Notice to Fish Harvesters and by the issuance of a variation order.
- The use of a vessel monitoring system (VMS) with five (5) minutes reporting intervals. Harvesters are asked to register their VMS with DFO as soon as possible.
- The fishery will close on June 30, 2019 at 24:00 hrs (ADT). All gear must be removed from the water by the end of the day June 30, 2019.
2019 Management measures to minimize interactions with North Atlantic Right Whales:
The Management measures to minimize interactions with North Atlantic Right Whales (NARW) are summarized below. Details of these measures can be found in licence conditions and will also be provided in a separate Notice to Fish Harvesters.
- Gear requirements:
- Minimal rope floating on the surface of the water, including: (1) a maximum of 3.7 meters (2 fathoms) of rope to be used when attaching a secondary buoy to a primary buoy, and (2) prohibition of a rope attaching a crab trap to a primary buoy to remain floating on the surface of the water after the crab trap has been set.
- Requirement to mark rope with yellow colored markings each of 15 cm in length, affixed at a maximum, at every 27.4 meters (i.e. 15 fathoms) of rope attaching a crab trap to a primary buoy.
- Additional identification of primary buoys with a sequential number.
- Requirement to report lost and retrieved gear :
- The requirement to report lost gear remains in place.
- Starting in 2019, licence holders must report the retrieval of any of their own gear previously reported lost to DFO (new requirement).
- The appropriate forms must be completed and submitted within 24 hours of entering to port (new timeframe).
- The Lost Fishing Gear form and the Retrieval of Previously Reported Fishing Gear form are included in licence conditions and available online.
- Requirement to report interactions with marine mammals:
- A Marine Mammal Interaction Form (included with licence conditions or available online) must be completed and submitted by email to: DFO.NAT.InteractionsMM-InteractionsMM.NAT.MPO@dfo-mpo.gc.ca within 48 hours of the end of a fishing trip.
Permanent Fishing closures
Coral and sponge conservation areas: On December 15, 2017, Fisheries and Oceans Canada created eleven coral and sponge conservation areas in the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence in order to protect areas with high concentrations of sponges and sea pens.
All fishing activities that use bottom-contact gear or gear designed to come into contact with the sea bed, including but not limited to bottom trawls, dredges, gillnets, bottom longlines, bottom seines and traps, are forbidden in the conservation areas.
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