Soft-Shell Crab Protocol
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.
- 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.
Grid Co-ordinates and Maps
- Each NAFO Division is divided into soft-shell monitoring grids.
- The coordinates for the four (4) corners of each grid are identified by referencing the X and Y axis on the soft-shell grid map for each NAFO Division.
- The area closed by the soft shell grid is described by lines joining Points 1 to 4 as indicated on the soft-shell charts for each NAFO Division. The points are degrees and minutes of North Latitude and West Longitude.
- Each NAFO Division has multiple pages. The pages represent the letters and its corresponding coordinates as identified on the soft-shell grid map for each NAFO Division.
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