The Newfoundland and Labrador Snow Crab Fishery:
The snow crab fishery was certified in 2013. It was the 200th fishery to be certified by MSC and is both the province’s highest value fishery and one of Canda’s most valuable
The fishery operates in four areas and uses baited conical crab traps. Harvesting starts in the 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 timed to avoid the mating period and reduce the catch of soft shell crab.
Snow crabs generally inhabit regions of very cold water (-1° to 5° C) and unlike some crustaceans, they exhibit a “terminal moult” – they cease to shed their shells when they reach maturity. This terminal moult occurs when the crabs are between 40 mm and about 75 mm carapace (shell) width, or CW. Female crabs generally do not achieve the minimum legal catch size of 95 mm CW, so the fishery’s catch is effectively male-only. Male snow crabs take 5-10 years to grow to commercial 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.
Canadian Northern and Striped Shrimp
Two species of Pandalus (prawn/shrimp) are harvested in Canadian waters of the northwest Atlantic. Northern shrimp (Pandalus borealis) is much more abundant and widespread in commercial quantities, and is the subject of most of the studies and assessments. Striped shrimp (Pandalus montagui), although widely distributed from Davis Strait to the Grand Banks, is most abundant in more northerly areas and at shallower depths.
A total of 13 vessels operate in the two fisheries. They use demersal (bottom) otter trawls, with a minimum mesh size of 40mm. Nets are fitted with a Nordmore separator grate. Shrimp pass through the grate, but other fish are directed upwards to an exit window in the upper panel. The grate is mandatory in all fishing areas.
Recent landings by the fleet are approximately 50,000-60,000 metric tonnes per year.