Because of the fishery closure, the 1995 capelin landings for the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence were only 152 t. More than 50% (90t) of these landings were fished in Division 4S only. A lateness in the beginning of the season is observed in unit areas 4Sw and 4Rc during the last years. During the same period of time, there is also a reduction in the capelin size which is expressed in fact by an increase in the number of capelins per kilogramme. This value is also a selective criterion used by the Japanese market for the ovigerous female. The spatial distribution of the capelin catches made during the shrimps and groundfish survey of 1995 looks the same as the past distributions. Mean weight by set, as the frequency of occurrence for the past winter Gadus Atlantica surveys and Alfred Needler summer surveys show a decreasing trend. The highest mean weight by set is observed in Division 4S. The interpretation of these indices should be made with caution because they come from bottom trawls surveys which are not necessarily appropriate for a pelagic species like capelin. The monitoring of the most important spawning areas and acoustic surveys near these areas could be a more adequate way to calculate a capelin index of abundance.
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