In 2009, herring catches on the west coast of Newfoundland (NAFO Division 4R) totalled 20,236 t compared with a TAC of 20,000 t. Catches from the spring bait fishery were not included in this total and could be very important. Moreover, this fishery primarily targets spring spawners. Catches by large (>65') and small (<65') seiners respectively totalled 11,170 t and 4,415 t compared to annual averages (2000-2007) of 10,052 t and 3,223 t. A new fishing gear used since 2005, the “tuck” seine, caught 3,779 t of herring in 2009. According to the acoustic survey, the first to be conducted since 2002, the total biomass index for fall spawners declined slightly between 2002 and 2009. The spring spawner index continued to fall reaching 5,801 t in 2009. In 2002, spring herring accounted for 32% of the combined biomass for the two spawning stocks compared to 8% in 2009. Catches are now primarily made up of fall spawners. In recent years, catches totalling about 20,000 t were supported by a strong year-class. It is unlikely that this catch level can be sustained without a strong recruitment.
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