The snow crab fishery was certified in 2013. It was the 200th fishery to be certified by MSC and is the province’s highest value fishery, and one of Canada’s most valuable.
The fishery operates in four areas and uses baited conical crab traps. Harvesting starts in early spring depending on the area and fishing season. Weather and the presence of ice is a large factor affecting the start of the season, which is also timed to avoid the mating period and reduce the catch of soft shell crab. The fishery is effectively male-only, as female crabs generally do not achieve the minimum legal catch size.
Traps feature twine mesh, regulated to a minimum size of 5 ¼ inches to select male crabs greater than or equal to 95 mm CW. Smaller snow crabs are able to escape through the twine mesh.