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Information on the Snow Crab PA Process 2018 to Present

March 30, 2023

 Detailed Timeline of Events

JUNE 6 -7 2018

DFO presented the “Basis for a Precautionary Approach Framework for the Newfoundland and Labrador Snow Crab Fishery” as part of the DFO peer-review process, no inshore harvesters attended. The peer-review process established limit reference points for the three metrics.  

FEB 2019 – AUG 2020

Dr. Erin Carruthers, FFAW Fisheries Scientist, and Dr. Earle Dawe, Snow Crab Scientist, developed an alternate PA framework in consultation with snow crab fleets,

SEPT 24-25 2020

FFAW presented, “An Alternate Precautionary Approach Framework for Snow Crab in Newfoundland and Labrador Region.” The Alternate PA Framework was largely rejected, save the proposed upper removal reference of 42%.  Following the review meeting, harvesters, DFO, and the FFAW recommitted to the Snow Crab PA Working Group.

2020 – 2022                         

PA Working Group (PAWG) process; negative impacts of applying the PA framework at the Assessment Division (AD) level for the 3L Inshore AD is identified early in the PAWG process; over 100 volunteer hours contributed by inshore harvesters.

FEB 4, 2021

FFAW presents at PAWG meeting and lists the AD vs CMA issues under “Unresolved Issues (things we cannot support)”, specifically referencing 3L inshore and noting that “3L inshore CMAs are not connected”; that this will create a “fleet vs. fleet dynamic”; and concerns that “a healthy fishery in one CMA would have limited increases/held back by other CMAs”.


PAWG concludes; negative impacts of applying the PA framework at the AD level for the 3L Inshore AD remain unresolved; This is why twelfth version included (a) reference to the issue, (b) commitment to do further research, and (c) importantly, a sentence indicating what to do “in the interim.

FEBRUARY 21, 2023

DFO provides draft version in advance of crab fleet meetings.  Draft includes the sentence “In the interim, should PA indicators in 3L inshore remain Healthy, overall exploitation rates for this AD may exceed the ERI guidance.

MARCH 17, 2023

“Final Draft” sent to Dr. Carruthers

MARCH 20, 2023

Letter sent to William McGillivray, DFO Regional Director General, advising of the change in the final draft and indicating that FFAW members will take action if the situation is not urgently rectified

MARCH 20, 2023

Urgent correspondence with Minister O’Regan requesting reimplementation of protection wording for 3L Inshore; demonstration is held at the Minister’s constituency office; Minister arranges virtual meeting with FFAW and 3L fleet chairs to better understand concerns to bring to Minister Murray while he is in Ottawa

MARCH 21, 2023

McGillivray acknowledges our letter – offers to meet with FFAW at regional office 10:30am

MARCH 21, 2023

Minister O’Regan meets with Minister Murray

MARCH 22, 2023

Minister O’Regan meets with Minister Murray again; Minister O’Regan publicly expresses support on Twitter – assures he is working with Minister Murray to resolve.

MARCH 23, 2023

Urgent letter sent to Minister Murray, as a way forward, harvesters request for 3LNO to be assessed as one biomass (just as 3K and 3Ps); Lorelei Roberts is cc’d so the provincial Dept can craft their own letter to Minister Murray for added pressure

MARCH 24, 2023

FFAW convened a meeting of 3L Inshore crab harvesters at the Ramada Hotel in St. John’s. Members were preparing to head to White Hills to continue protesting when an anticipated letter from Minister Murray arrived. This letter reinstated wording protecting the 3L Inshore fleet and promised a review of amalgamating the 3L areas prior to the 2024 assessment season.

MARCH 26, 2023

Crab Fleet Committees hold zoom call where plan for meeting with DFO is discussed and meeting attendees are agreed to by harvesters.

MARCH 27, 2023

FFAW’s Greg Pretty and Jason Spingle along with Crab Fleet Chairs from 3L Inshore meet with senior DFO managers at 11:00am, where Chairs are told increases are coming per the scientific advise and protection wording reinforced by Minister. The Committee meets together at the FFAW office at 2:00pm.

MARCH 30, 2023

The Snow Crab management plan is released, announcing increases for most areas based on positive science overall. A rollover is announced for 2J – welcome respite after years of quota decreases.