Norway’s Ministry of Fisheries has set an 7790-tonne overall quota for snow crab on the Norwegian continental shelf in 2023.
This is an increase of 1065 tonnes compared to the 2022 quota, and is in line with advice from the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research.
Quota flexibility was introduced in 2022, and consequently 673 tonnes will be deducted from the total quota. A further 62 tonnes is set aside for research purposes in 2023.
‘We are gathering more knowledge about snow crab. In the last five years, research surveys and technical trials have been carried out. The recommendations on an extension of the conservation period and requirements for the use of degradable materials in fishing will be sent for consultation in early 2023, but any new requirements will not be introduced until 2024,’ said fisheries minister Bjørnar Skjæran.
The Institute of Marine Research has recommended extending the closed period by two months, to the end of December instead of the end of October, to protect the crabs while they change shell and put on weight. The Institute has also recommended the introduction of biodegradable materials in fishing gears to prevent ghost fishing by lost gears.
Earlier this year the Ministry requested an extensive audit be carried out by the Directorate of Fisheries to examine participation in the fishery. This has been completed, listing the fishery participants and the profitability of those who have established themselves in the snow crab sector. The Directorate also identified gear conflicts taking place, especially during this year.
‘In particular, the environmental challenges and handling of lost and remaining traps, which lead to ghost fishing and gear conflicts, are issues that must be addressed now,’ Bjørnar Skjæran said.
‘The ministry has requested that the Directorate of Fisheries submit for consultation a requirement for the marking of fishing gear, and that this can be introduced in dialogue with the industry. When it comes to future regulation of participation in catching snow crab, this question will also be sent for consultation in early 2023.’