Soft-Shell Crab Protocol

Background

There can be a high level of mortality when handling soft-shell crab in the crab fishery. In an effort to allow timely and effective closures of areas with a high level of soft-shell crab while allowing a fishery to continue in other areas, a grid based soft-shell protocol was developed and implemented in some areas in 2004. The fishing areas are divided into grids and individual grids are closed when the incidence of soft-shell Crab observed by an at-sea-observer exceeds the acceptable limit. This type of system has been implemented in all NAFO Divisions since 2006.

Protocol

  • A grid-based soft-shell protocol is in effect in all NAFO Areas.
  • In NAFO Divisions 2J, NAFO Divisions 3K, NAFO Divisions 3Ps and NAFO Divisions 4R grid closures will occur when the incidence of soft-shell Crab observed by an at-sea-observer is 20% or greater.
  • In NAFO Divisions 3L and NAFO Divisions 3NO individual grids will close when the incidence of soft-shell Crab observed by an at-sea-observer is 15% or greater.
  • Areas closed as a result of high incidence of soft-shell crab will be closed for the remainder of the year.
  • All season closure dates are subject to modification if there is a high incidence of soft-shell crab encountered in the fishery. An individual quota (IQ) does not guarantee that it will be landed.