The overall TAC has been caught in both years since the remaining individual SFA quotas were lifted in 1994. With one TAC the fishery has concentrated in a relatively small area straddling SFA 14 because it offers a combination of relatively low counts, high catch rates and short distances from port. The introduction of individual vessel quotas has spread the fishery over a longer time period, but two-thirds of the catch is still caught during two months (May and June). The industry survey conducted in 1995 produced the highest, and most accurate biomass estimate to date. However, commercial CPUE indicates that the recent biomass increase has leveled off, which is supported by fishermen's opinions from questionnaire scores. Enhanced port sampling data collected in 1995 indicates that the 1990 year class, which has been important in the fishery over the last 2 years, is approaching its maximum life span. Continued good catches will become increasingly dependent on the success of more recent year classes. Commercial samples and the survey suggest that the 1993 year class may be relatively good, but the available years for comparison are too short to establish a reliable index of year class strength. The percentage of females carrying eggs remains high. The TAC was last increased in 1994 and should be held constant for at least another year to monitor possible impacts from increased exploitation rates. The current of monitoring via commercial samples and surveys should be maintained and survey gear should be kept constant to improve the usefulness of the time series, in particular to allow interannual comparisons of year classes.
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