2021 - Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence Snow Crab Conservation Harvesting Plan Crab Fishing Area 12 (12, 18, 25, 26)

Moncton and Quebec – March 29, 2021

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) releases the details of the 2021 Crab Fishing Area (CFA) 12 (12, 18, 25, 26) Conservation Harvesting Plan.

Quota

The Total Allowable Catch (TAC) in CFA 12 is 20,128.83 t. Details of the sharing of the TAC can be found in the CFA 12 Snow crab administrative list.

Quota reconciliation

Quota reconciliation is applied in this fishery. Quota overruns during the 2021 season by a licence holder will be deducted in 2022 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. 

Temporary transfers

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.

Partnership arrangements

The creation of partnerships is permitted. The trap limit for partnerships will be equal to the total traps of one licence, plus 50%.

New in 2021: Crew registry

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 five (5) years. Refer to the March 17, 2021 Notice to Fish Harvesters for further details and contact the Licensing Office at 1-855-634-2335 or gulfinfogolfe@dfo-mpo.gc.ca for more information.

2021 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 2021 include, amongst others:    

  • At-sea observer coverage representing 20% of fishing trips will be required for 2021.
  • The soft-shell crab protocol.
  • 100% dockside monitoring.
  • Only one valid annual tag per trap. Tags from previous years must be removed. The color for original tags must be light brown, while the color for replacement tags must be pale blue.
  • Paper logbook requirement is maintained. Refer to the following list of Prequalified Logbook Suppliers. The use of an electronic logbook (ELOG) is voluntary in 2021.
  • 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.
  • Gear marking requirements are maintained.
  • 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 Snow crab fishery could be subject to a fishing trip catch limit. Industry will be notified by DFO in the event that catch limits are established.
  • 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. Here’s information on developing a new VMS standard.
  • The Opening Date Committee is assessing conditions and will recommend a targeted opening date. Opening the fishery is subject to 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, 2021 at 23:59 hrs (Atlantic Daylight Time).

2021 management measures to minimize interactions with North Atlantic Right Whales

The management measures to minimize interactions with North Atlantic Right Whales (NARW) can be found here.

Trap limits in 2021

In order to continue protecting NARW, all licence holders will have the same total number of authorized traps as in 2020. The following trap limits will be in place for the 2021 fishing season:

  • Licence holders holding less than 0.22% of the CFA 12 TAC will be permitted 75 traps*.  For 2021, this limit applies to licence holders who are part of the following fleets:
    • Prince Edward Island Inshore Traditional Fleet
    • Area 18 Inshore Traditional Fleet
    • New access licence holders with individual quotas
  • Licence holders holding 0.44% or more of the CFA 12 TAC will be permitted 150 traps*. For 2021, this represents licence holders that are part of the traditional midshore fleet.

* Note: Additional traps may be permitted in accordance with the individual transferable quota program administrative guidelines.

  • New access groups who designate operators will be authorized the same number of traps as in 2020.
    • New access groups may distribute traps to each designated licence holder/operator the way that is most favorable to them; however, a maximum of 150 traps per licence holder/operator will be the reference.
  • First Nations have the ability to designate operators under the Aboriginal Communal Fishing Licences Regulations. First Nations will be authorized the same number of traps as in 2020.
    • First Nations may distribute traps to each designated licence holder/operator the way that is most favorable to them; however, a maximum of 150 traps per licence holder/operator will be the reference.

Banc-des-Américains Marine Protected Area

The Banc-des-Américains Marine Protected Area (MPA) is in place in order to the ensure the conservation and protection of this marine ecosystem.

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.

Map showing the Banc-des-Américains Marine Protected Area
Figure: Map showing the Banc-des-Américains Marine Protected Area.

For more information:

Josiane Massiéra
Resource Management
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Moncton, New Brunswick
506-227-4509
Josiane.Massiera@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Jérôme Beaulieu
Resource Management
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Quebec, Quebec
418-648-5891
Jerome.Beaulieu@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
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