Certifier : 
Global Trust Certification Ltd.
Certified status : 
Certified since : 
16 Apr 2013
Certificate expires : 
21 Apr 2029


Fisheries are composed of one or more parts, each of which is entitled to receive an MSC certificate. These parts or “units” are defined by their target stock(s), fishing gear type(s) and if relevant vessel type(s), and the fishing fleets or groups of vessels.

When the term “Unit of Certification” is used for fishing units that are in assessment, it refers to the “Unit of Assessment” or “Unit of potential certification”. Expand a status below to view the parts that form this fishery. To check the detailed scope, download the latest certificate or open the Assessments page to get the latest report. Find out more by visiting our page on Fisheries

Units of Certification & Certificate Information

View glossary of terms

Catch by Species

Species Reported Catch Year Metric Tonnes
Snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio) 2022 48,154

Information is provided by an independent Conformity Assessment Body as live weight (the weight of species at the time of catch, before processing) and where a fishing season covers multiple years, the end year is given as the reported catch year. Additional information is available in the latest report, see the assessments page.

Eligibility, client groups and vessel lists

A fishery may choose to define the members of the fishery certificate. These members can be vessels or other client group members (e.g. companies that own vessels and/or companies that are named as eligible to handle certified product covered within the fishery certificate scope). Please refer to the fishery certificate statement on additional product specific eligibility criteria (e.g. product eligibility limitations, eligibility date, exclusive points of landing and the point where Chain of Custody certificate is required). Please consult the fishery Public Certification Report for product eligibility rationale.

Documents Published on Files
List of client group members 08 Feb 2016 1 files

About this Fishery

The Newfoundland and Labrador snow crab fishery was certified in 2013. It was the 200th fishery to be MSC certified and is both the province's highest value fishery and one of Canada's most valuable. 
The fishery operates in four areas and uses baited conical crab traps. Harvesting starts in the early spring depending on the area and fishing season. Weather and the presence of ice is a large factor affecting the start of the season, which is timed to avoid the mating period and reduce the catch of soft shell crab.

Snow crabs generally inhabit regions of very cold water (-1° to 5° C) and unlike some crustaceans, they exhibit a "terminal moult" - they cease to shed their shells when they reach maturity. This terminal moult occurs when the crabs are between 40 mm and about 75 mm carapace (shell) width, or CW. Female crabs generally do not achieve the minimum legal catch size of 95 mm CW, so the fishery's catch is effectively male-only. Male snow crabs take 5-10 years to grow to commercial size.

Traps feature twine mesh, regulated to a minimum size of 5 ¼ inches to select male crabs greater than or equal to 95 mm CW. Smaller snow crabs are able to escape through the twine mesh.     

Market Information

Snow crab is cooked and processed into frozen sections for market. The largest markets are the USA and Japan. Other buyers include China, Thailand and Europe.