Brief History

  • The first snow crab landings in the South of the Gulf of St. Lawrence were reported in the Gaspé area in the 1960s through incidental catches by groundfish fishermen.
  • In 1965, a Danish seine fishery was started for snow crab off Cheticamp, Nova Scotia (NS). This method expanded into New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island in 1966 and in Quebec into 1967.
  • By 1968, fish harvesters had switched to baited traps and approximately 60 boats participated in the fishery with fishing effort concentrated in two areas: off Gaspé, QC and west of Cape Breton, NS. With new fishing grounds of snow crab being found almost every year, the fishery developed rapidly. Landings started to climb and reached a peak in value in 1982. This quick increase in landings is also attributable to improvements in fishing equipment and to fishermen’s increased performance.
  • Until 1989, fishing was done competitively until an annually aggregate quota is granted.
  • In 1990, landings reached an unprecedented low. That year, a new individual quota program and a dockside monitoring program were introduced.
  • In 1997, areas 25 and 26 were integrated into area 12.
  • To this day, the individual quota program has made the monitoring of fisheries possible. The program was, however, amended, in a permanent manner and in disagreement with the traditional fleet, in 2003, when new access was added for a group mainly composed of lobster and groundfish fishermen, and area 18 was integrated.