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Snow crab by the numbers; fishing zone 3L has most IQs — including the only 25 over 500,000/lbs

Snow crab remains the most profitable commercial fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador, and fishing zone 3L off the island's east coast has the largest inshore crab fleet with 771 individual quotas (IQs) — representing 40% of the 1,908 total for the province. 3L also has the only IQs over 500,000/lbs, with 25.

According to DFO stats, fishing zone 3L off eastern Newfoundland (which includes the port of St. John's) has the most number of snow crab IQs (individual quotas) in the province, including all 25 over 500,000 pounds and 70% of IQs between 200,000-500,000/lbs.

Here's a breakdown of the IQs under 50,000/lbs:

And here's a breakdown of IQs between 50,000/lbs and 500,000/lbs:

Finally, here's a breakdown of the total IQs by fishing zone:


Besides IQs, there are roughly 300 harvest caps in snow crab management areas 11E and 11W off south coast Newfoundland, and in the Gulf in areas 12A, 12B, 12D, and 12H.


By way of example, based on a quota of 100 tonnes and with 10 allocations/shares the IQ for each allocation would be 10 tonnes.

Harvest caps are more popular in areas where some harvesters are inactive as it gives the rest of the fleet the option of having a harvest cap which is higher than what their IQ would have been.

As of today, Tuesday, July 25th, 79% or 95 million/lbs of this year's 121 million/lb snow crab quota has been taken, for a landed value of $213 million. Snow crab's landed value in 2022 was $757 million.

Ryan Cleary,

Executive Director, SEA-NL

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is a professional, non-profit organization that serves as the distinct voice for licensed, independent owner-operator inshore fish harvesters. Visit to join.

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