Establishment of Baseline Biological Data on Snow Crab (Chionoecetes opilio) Offshore Cape Breton for Future Assessment of Potential Impacts of Seismic Noise on Snow Crab

Principal Investigators:

Dr. Mikio Moriyasu, Dr. Ken Lee, and Dr. Simon Courtenay, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Dr. Andrea Battison, CrustiPath, Susan Belfry, University of New Brunswick, Dr. Gretchen Noyes-Hull, Gulf Aquarium and Marine Station Cooperative and Dr. Lindy Weilgart, Dalhousie University

Start Date: April 2012

End Date: February 2015

The study investigated the impact of sound energy generated by acoustic/seismic arrays on snow crabs. Prior to looking further into what, if any, effects noise has on the survivability, physiology and behaviour of crabs, it is essential to better understand what are the inherent characteristics of crabs in their natural environment and as a result of being handled.  A determination of whether or not further research in conjunction with a new seismic survey should be conducted may be made following analysis of the results of this proposed study.

The purpose of this study was to provide baseline information about the inherent characteristics of snow crabs can be compared with effects observed during or after handling and seismic exposure. In addition to conducting new scientific analyses, the proposed research will be undertaken with greater input and collaboration from a broad group of stakeholders. In doing so, the objective is to arrive with conclusions that are based on an approach and methodology which were agreed upon by all parties, thereby reducing or eliminating questions regarding validity of the data.