Summary – Area 19 Snow Crab

This Integrated Fisheries Management Plan (IFMP) sets out the Policy of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans with respect to the management of the snow crab fishery in Crab Fishing Area 19 (CFA 19). As with any Policy the Minister retains the discretion to make exceptions to or to change this Policy at any time; however, it is the expectation and intention of DFO to follow the management process set out in this IFMP with a view to contributing to increased certainty and direction for this fishery.

This IFMP was originally to be in place for 9 years beginning April 1, 2001. After that period, the IFMP may be rolled over from year to year at the mutual consent of both parties. (Note revision below)

The introduction of Objective Based Fisheries Management (OBFM) introduces a more structured, systematic and inclusive approach to fisheries management. With the application of OBFM, resource users and DFO work together to develop clear, measurable, long-term fisheries management objectives for a fishery. On a more technical level OBFM provides a framework to quantify fisheries management objectives as well as risk analysis processes that result in the development of specific management strategies designed to achieve specific objectives. DFO sectors including (science, resource management and enforcement) play key roles and interact with the fishing industry as part of the OBFM process. In terms of performance measurement OBFM will track the progress made in achieving objectives through a formal process of performance measurement and post-season analysis.

Annual harvesting levels are not included in this document due to the fact that the TAC is established yearly and this IFMP is for multiple years. The TAC and other annual information can be found in the annual harvesting plan prepared each year for this fishery.

Revision of IFMP

A crisis arose in the 2004 fishery. For conservation reasons the Department prematurely closed the fishery which was supported by the Area 19 Snow Crab Fishermen’s Association. As a result, the fishery was closed before several fishers could even begin fishing. It was mutually agreed that action should be taken to change how sharing took place in order to ensure this circumstance would not occur again in future seasons. Hence, this new co-management agreement.

At a special meeting on April 24, 2005, the Area 19 Snow Crab Fishermen’s Association passed a motion to request that DFO provide regular access to all temporary access fishers under a revised co-management arrangement. This proposal was supported by the majority of the 73 temporary and 111 permanent fishers. Each new licence would receive 3 trap shares.

DFO received representation from the Area 19 Snow crab Fishermen’s Association identifying the need for revisions to the existing co-management arrangement to reflect permanent access for the 73 temporary allocation holders. DFO then carried out a process of negotiations with the Area 19 Snow Crab Fishermen’s Association.

This process resulted in Points of Agreement that received Ministerial approval on July 6, 2005 and provide the guiding principles for amendments to the multi year Integrated Fisheries Management Plan. They are as follows:

  • The provisions for temporary sharing are removed and new regular licenses provided to 73 eligible fishers; the new regular access each receive three trap shares increasing the total number of traps from 1,480 to 1,699.
  • The resulting fleet of 184 licence holders is permitted to self rationalize to no less than 145 licences over the next nine years using Individual Trap Transfer rules.
  • The co-management arrangement will be implemented for a further nine years from 2005 to December 31st, 2013 inclusive.
  • The joint DFO/Industry Area 19 Snow Crab Management Committee is tasked with developing housekeeping amendments required to update the current co-management arrangement to reflect these decisions.

This document contains specific revisions so as to give effect to the decisions made by the Minister. Additional revisions in this IFMP other than those mentioned above are operational and made in accordance with Section 7, Performance Review, which states, “The results of the performance review will indicate which components of the plan were a success and where in the plan there is a need for improvement and provide directions for adjustments to the plan”. As well, additional informational updates have been made where appropriate.


Summary – Area 19 Snow Crab can be downloaded as a full version document in PDF: 2005 - 2013 Snow Crab Area 19 [PDF - 223 KB]

To obtain a copy of the report, please send an email to DFO Gulf Region at