Circumpolar snow crab fisheries

June 24th, 2024 | Networking

The first networking workshop of UArctic funded project “Networking for increasing sustainability in snow crab fisheries in the Arctic” took place during 30th of May to 1st of June in Fisheries and Marine Institute of the Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. The project was initiated to promote knowledge sharing between institutes involved in sustainable snow crab research, UiT The Arctic University of Norway (UiT), Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada (Fisheries and Marine Institute), DTU Aqua Technical University of Denmark, and Greenland Institute of Natural Resources (more about the project here).

This workshop addressed several sustainability challenges common for snow crab fisheries in the Arctic and knowledge sharing regarding earlier research results. This included problems caused by abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded snow crab pots and potential ghost fishing, as well as potential mitigation measures. Further, use of escape gaps to reduce bycatch of undersized snow crab was discussed, along with preliminary results from ongoing experiments.

Participants included members from the institutes directly involved in this networking project and other researchers participating in earlier and ongoing experiments with snow crab, as well as from local fishing industry and gear manufacturing.

Port visits

All snow crab catches must be landed alive, and the industry along the coast of Newfoundland employs 7550 people in more than 90 processing factories. Newfoundland snow crab fishery consists of 2200 vessels below 40 feet and 450 between 40 and 65 feet, operated by 9500 fishermen. Total allowable catch for Newfoundland and Labrador Region in 2024 is 57,586 tonnes. The UArctic group visited two typical fishing ports to learn more about the organization of the snow crab industry and fleet structure. Selected harbours and vessel-owners co-operate with Fisheries and Marine Institute to enhance the snow crab industry. 


Petty Harbour

Petty Harbour in Maddox Cove is a small village with ca. 950 inhabitants and the harbour is designed for small vessels below 40 feet. The industry is organized and owned by a co-operative, i.e., a model that gives the fishermen total control of sales and distribution of landings.

Port de Grave

Port de Grave is a peninsula in Conception Bay with a total population of ca 1000. The harbour is designed for the larger vessels 840-65 feet fishing 100-200 nautical miles off the coast.