2023 - Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence Snow Crab Conservation Harvesting Plan for Crab Fishing Area 12 (12, 18, 25, 26)
Moncton and Quebec – March 31, 2023
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) releases the details of the 2023 snow crab fishery Conservation Harvesting Plan for the Crab Fishing Area (CFA) 12 (12, 18, 25, 26).
The total allowable catch (TAC) in CFA 12 is 31,466.78 t. Details of the sharing of the TAC can be found in the CFA 12 snow crab administrative list.
Quota reconciliation is applied in this fishery. Any individual quota overrun incurred by licence holders in one season will be deducted, on a one-for-one basis, from their individual quota for the following season. It is the responsibility of the licence holders to track their quotas to ensure that catches taken in the course of their fishing operations comply with the quotas allocated to them.
Licence holders who are subject to the owner-operator policy may transfer up to 50% of their initial quota on a temporary basis, within one fishing season. Temporary transfers are only allowed within the same DFO administrative area (ENB, PEI, GNS, QC).
There has been a merger of certain ITQ Programs in Quebec in 2023. Please refer to the Notice to Fish Harvester for more information: Merging ITQ programs 2023 season.
The creation of partnerships is permitted. The number of traps would be 1.5 times the number of traps of the licence with the greater number of traps. Any overrun incurred from the previous year must be communicated and acknowledged by the licence holders entering the partnership since DFO will deduct the amount of overrun from the combined quota of the partnership.
Fishing Gear Reporting System (or Lost Gear Reporting)
Fish harvesters can create their account of lost gear and report their data through the system.
New in 2023—Hail out telephone number
Beginning with the 2023 fishing season, fish harvesters from both Gulf and Quebec Regions will be required to dial the following new telephone number for new hail, modified hail, and cancelled hail:
- 1-833-699-2013 (toll free)
- 1-506-431-3223 (satellite phone only)
2023 management measures
Unless indicated otherwise, existing management measures remain in place. Please refer to your snow crab licence conditions for further details. The management measures in 2023 include, amongst others:
- At-sea observer coverage representing 20% of fishing trips.
- The soft-shell crab protocol.
- 100% dockside monitoring.
- Landings must be weighed in kilograms on an electronic scale with a memory.
- The use of a vessel monitoring system (VMS) with 5 minutes reporting intervals.
- Only one valid annual tag per trap. Tags from previous years must be removed. The colour for original tags must be pink, while the colour for replacement tags must be orange.
- Requirements to use of a paper logbook or electronic logbook. Refer to the following list of Prequalified Logbook Suppliers for paper logbooks. The use of an ELOG is voluntary in 2023, but highly recommended. Additional information on Electronic logbooks (ELOGs) can be found on the DFO website.
- Maximum mesh size of 75 mm.
- Requirements for gear marking.
- The licence holder/operator is prohibited from discarding in Canadian fisheries waters any material that may be harmful to fish or fish habitat.
- The inshore regulations require inshore commercial licence holders, and their approved Substitute Operators, to keep records of all the crew members working aboard the vessel on every fishing trip. These records must be maintained by the licence holder for a period of 5 years.
- In order to continue protecting NARW, all licence holders will have the same total number of authorized traps as in 2023. There will not be any pilot project for additional traps in 2023.
- The Irving Whale Exclusion Zone is maintained.
- A delayed season opening to June 1st applies to an area in CFA 12 for one nautical mile bordering on CFA 19. The buffer zone between CFAs 18 and 19 remains in effect.
- The 2022 Criteria for access to Crab Fishing Area 12 by Areas 12E and 12F fish harvesters in case of closures of the fishing grounds is maintained.
- Provisions of the Banc-des-Américains Marine Protected Area Regulations apply to licence holders. In order to comply with them, please refer to the clauses that apply to your fishing activities.
- The Opening Date Committee is assessing conditions and will recommend a targeted opening date. Opening the fishery is subject to safety at sea, weather conditions and to DFO operational requirements as described in the Terms of Reference for Setting the Opening Date for the Fishery. The opening date will be confirmed in a separate Notice to Fish Harvesters and by the issuance of a variation order.
- The fishery will close on June 30, 2023, at 23:59 hrs (Atlantic Daylight Time). All gear must be removed from the water by the end of the day June 30th, meaning that the hauling of gear is prohibited after June 30th, but landing of traps and crabs can occur on July 1st.
2023 management measures to minimize interactions with North Atlantic Right Whales
The management measures to minimize interactions with North Atlantic Right Whales (NARW) will be communicated separately and posted online on the DFO website.
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