Research Document 1998/98

The 1997 Atlantic mackerel (Scomber scombrus L.) fishery in NAFO subareas 2 to 6

By F. Grégoire and D. Gilbert


Landings of Atlantic mackerel (Scomber scombrus L.) in the northwest Atlantic totalled 35,050 t in 1997. Of this volume, 16,475 t were taken in NAFO subareas 5 and 6 and 18,575 t in subareas 3 and 4. In the latter subarea, the highest catches were made in divisions 4T, 4X and 4R, with landings of 13,909 t, 1,985 t and 1,140 t respectively. The biggest landings were made on Prince Edward Island and in Quebec, with values of 6,111 t and 5,442 t. The most important unit areas were 4Tf, 4Tl and 4Tg in division 4T and unit areas 4Rc and 4Xm in divisions 4R and 4X. Over 8,500 t were caught using handlines and jigs, close to 6,000 t by gillnets and approximately 3,000 t using traps. The three largest year-classes, or cohorts, were, in descending order, those of 1995, 1994 and 1996. They alone accounted for 62% of all catches. The dominant cohort of 1988 was still present in 1997 and represented 8.51% of the catches. As in recent years, the main comments made by the industry concerned the large regional year-to-year variations in mackerel landings. In the case of the seine fishing off the west coast of Newfoundland, water temperature seems to play a significant role in these variations.

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