Notice to Fish Harvesters

 

NOTICE TO FISH HARVESTERS

January 23, 2018

SOUTHERN GULF OF ST. LAWRENCE SNOW CRAB –
NEW MANAGEMENT MEASURES STARTING IN 2018 TO MINIMIZE
THE RISKS OF INTERACTIONS WITH THE NORTH ATLANTIC RIGHT WHALE

Moncton - Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) wishes to inform industry of new management measures will be in place in the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence (SGSL) snow crab fishery starting in 2018.

A shift in the distribution of the North Atlantic Right Whales (NARWs) population in recent years has resulted in an increased presence of NARWs in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. In an effort to minimize the risks of interactions with the species, DFO is announcing important changes in gear configuration in the SGSL snow crab fishery starting in 2018.

Amount of Rope Floating on the Surface of the Water
The following requirements will be in place to minimize the length of rope floating on the surface of the water and to reduce the risks of whale entanglements:

  • -  A maximum of 3.7 meters (2 fathoms) of rope shall be used when attaching a secondary buoy to a primary buoy.

  • -  No rope attaching a crab trap to a primary buoy shall remain floating on the surface of the water after the crab trap has been set.

    Note: A primary buoy is defined as a buoy or other floating device attached to a crap trap.

    Gear Marking
    Licence holders will be required to mark rope used to attach a crab trap to a primary buoy with a color specific to the fishing area in which they are authorized to fish. This new gear marking requirement will help officials to better identify the sectors where incidents have occurred in the in the event of future entanglements. The following colored markings will be required for each crab fishing area: 12, 18, 25 and 26 (orange), 12E (yellow), 12F (blue) and 19 (green).

  • -  The rope used to attach a crab trap to a primary buoy shall have colored markings specific to the fishing area (as described above) each of 15 cm in length.

  • -  The colored marking shall be permanently affixed at a maximum, at every 27.4 meters (i.e. 15 fathoms) of rope attaching a crab trap to a primary buoy.

 

EKME # 3865726 – ENGLISH MGCE # 3865902 – FRANÇAIS

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- The markings shall be made by using colored twine or colored tape,
o When using colored twine, it shall be interlaced within the rope in such a manner

that it remains permanently affixed to the rope.
o When using colored tape, it shall be affixed to the rope in such a manner that it

remains permanently affixed to the rope.
- The shade of (orange, yellow, blue or green) used for the markings shall contrast with the

color of the rope used to attach a crab trap to a primary buoy.

Additional Identification of Buoys
In addition to the current regulatory requirement to mark buoys with the vessel registration number (VRN), licence holders will be required to identify each primary buoy with a sequential number as to be capable of individually identifying each crab trap.

This additional requirement will help identify and retrieve lost gear and could also help identify the sector where a whale may have become entangled.

The sequential number shall be solid block Arabic numerals:

  • -  without ornamentation;

  • -  written in a smaller or bigger scale than the VRN so as to be capable of differentiating the

    number from the VRN; and

  • -  in a color that contrast with their background.

    Requirement to Report Lost Gear
    Starting in 2018, licence holders will be required to report lost gear. This new management measure will help quantify the amount of gear lost annually and identify the need to increase efforts to retrieve gear that has been lost, which would reduce the risks of whale entanglements.

    The following specific information must be reported to DFO by email* within 72 hours of noticing that the gear has been lost:

  • -  the sequence number of the tag attached to the crab trap that has been lost;

  • -  the VRN and identification number written on the primary buoy;

  • -  the latitude and longitude of last known position of lost crab trap; and

  • -  the date the crab trap was last fished.

    * Note: The email address to report lost gear will be specified in licence conditions, as well as in the Conservation Harvesting Plan.

 

EKME # 3865726 – ENGLISH MGCE # 3865902 – FRANÇAIS

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Other management measures including the number of authorized traps and the protocol for the season opening will be announced at a later time.

FOR INFORMATION:

Sylvie Léger
Resource Management Fisheries and Oceans Canada Moncton, NB
506-851-2278

Maité Chavez
Resource Management Fisheries and Oceans Canada Quebec, QC
418-648-5883 

François-Léonce Charron

Union des pêcheurs des Maritimes, 408 Main Street, Shediac, NB, E4P 2G1