An examination of the factors affecting the sustainability of the Newfoundland & Labrador snow crab fishery

Milley, Noel C. (2005) An examination of the factors affecting the sustainability of the Newfoundland & Labrador snow crab fishery. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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The Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio) fishery has become the backbone of the fishing industry since the closure of the groundfish fishery in the early 1990's. In 2003, snow crab contributed approximately $277 million to the total landed value of the fishery. This represented 50 per cent of the total landed value for the entire fishing industry. -- For the fishing industry, snow crab expansion has been the order of the day throughout the 90's. However, in 2000, based on the fall surveys of 1999, warning signs were raised. As a result, snow crab quotas were cut for the first time in over a decade. Since 2000, the crab fishery has been showing signs of declines in certain areas. The fear among industry is that this trend is going to continue and spread to other or all areas. -- A key management objective of the snow crab fishery is to protect the reproductive potential of the resource. The reproductive potential is thought to be protected by the retention of only snow crabs over 95mm (3.74 inches) carapace width and discarding all female crab. Given that the resource is declining two questions arise. First, why is this resource declining given the current management strategy? Second, what can be done to prevent the snow crab resource from further reduction? Hence, this study will review the NL crab fishery to examine the factors affecting its sustainability. The focus of this study will consist of an examination of the snow crab biology, discuss the development of the snow crab fishery, state the importance of the snow crab fishery to the NL economy, identify factors affecting sustainability (natural and man made), with special emphasis on snow crab discards, exploring other fishing related impacts and method of harvest. Finally, the study will identify possible measures to protect the reproductive potential of the resource.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 11045
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 85-91.
Department(s): Marine Institute
Date: 2005
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Snow crab--Newfoundland and Labrador--Reproduction--Regulation; Tanner crab fisheries--Newfoundland and Labrador.

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