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Fig 1: Rock Crab Fishing Areas in the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Rock crabs (Cancer irroratus) are distributed from the intertidal zone to a depth of 40 meters. On average, female and male rock crabs mature at 57 and 75 mm respectively. Female rock crabs carry eggs beneath the abdomen until hatched and the larvae are present in the plankton between mid-June and mid-September.
The rock crab fishery began during the 1960's as a by-catch of the lobster fishery. A directed exploratory fishery (independent of the lobster fishery) was begun in 1974, but was limited in size until the late 1980's, when expanding markets and increased value resulted in a substantial growth in effort.
|Year||Area 25||Area 26A||Total|
Female rock crabs may not be kept during the directed fishery or as a by-catch of the lobster fishery. The minimum legal carapace width for male rock crabs is 102 mm in Area 25, and 105 mm in Area 26A. Male rock crabs take approximately 6 years to reach commercial size
The directed fishery has limited entry, trap limits, and seasons.
|Catch per unit of effort Kg/ trap||Total effort (Number of trap hauls)|
Fig 2: Fishing effort distribution during the 2000 fishing season.