Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

March 29, 2006 20:18 ET

DFO: Minister Announces Management Measures for 2006 Newfoundland and Labrador Snow Crab Fishery

ST. JOHN'S, NEWFOUNDLAND--(CCNMatthews - March 29, 2006) - The Honourable Loyola Hearn, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) today announced the conservation measures and quota levels for the 2006 snow crab fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador. Reduced fishing seasons and several new management measures are being introduced to address serious conservation concerns with the handling and mortality of soft shell and undersized crab.

"This fishery must be managed so it remains viable over the long term. A cautious approach is the best way forward. The management measures announced today will continue to put the necessary conservation safeguards in place to protect the future of this fishery," said Minister Hearn. "I have listened carefully to the findings of our scientists, what fishers themselves have told me and my Department, and the advice of the Fisheries Resource Conservation Council (FRCC). We will continue to work together on the stewardship and conservation of this valuable resource."

"The high mortality associated with the incidental catch of soft-shell and undersize crab is seriously threatening the crab resource in some areas and changes to management measures must be made or the crab simply won't be there to catch in future years. The season will open earlier this year and close earlier and there will be no season extension in any area. This is the best way we have of reducing the mortality of soft-shell crab," says Minister Hearn.

The snow crab fishery in the Newfoundland and Labrador Region will open on April 5. The Total Allowable Catch (TAC) has been set at 46,233t for 2006, compared to a TAC in 2005 of 49,943t, an overall reduction of 7%. The total catch in 2005 was 43,946t.

Snow crab has periods of abundance and decline. The outlook in some crab fishing zones is positive but there are other areas where adjustments to management measures are needed to address continuing conservation concerns. These management measures include an early start to the crab fishing season, reduced fishing seasons with no extensions, enhanced soft-shell monitoring in all areas, continued efforts to improve handling practices, quota reductions, and continue the increased level of observer coverage from 2005.

In an effort to decrease the levels of mortality of soft-shell and undersized crabs being returned to the water, DFO will continue education programs with fishers on handling and discard practices.

"The landed value of snow crab in 2005 was over $140 million and this fishery is vital to the economy of many rural communities throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. DFO and the fishers themselves have to take immediate steps to ensure this fishery remains viable," stated Minister Hearn.

Contact Information

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
    Steve Outhouse
    Office of the Minister
    (613) 992-3474
    Fisheries and Oceans Canada
    Jan Woodford
    Regional Director, Communications, Newfoundland and Labrador
    (709) 772-7622