A telephone survey obtained information from 284 herring gillnetters about their 1995 fishery in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence (NAFO Division 4T). The survey gathered data on fishing effort for abundance estimates, mesh size distribution for determination of partial recruitment, and disposition of the catch for validation of purchase slip information. In addition, the gillnetters were asked their opinion on the abundance of herring in 1995. The average number of nets fished per trip (used in the historical effort index) in the fall fishery was slightly higher in 1995 at 5.5, compared to 1994, and decreased slightly from 22.9 to 21.7 in the 1995 spring fishery. The pattern of mesh size distribution has not changed much since 1986, although we see a tendancy for larger mesh sizes in certain areas in the fall. In the spring fishery, a large proportion of the catch continued to be kept for personal use (mainly bait). The fall catch is generally all sold to processors. Spring abundance in 1995 was rated lower than 1994 in most areas, except for Nova Scotia and western P.E.I. Overall, abundance was considered average at 5.0, except in Quebec and the Acadian Peninsula (lower than average). Fall 1995 abundance compared to 1994 was rated lower in Quebec, the Acadian Peninsula, Escuminac, Nova Scotia and eastern P.E.I., while being higher in western P.E.I. Overall comparison of fall abundance to previous years ranked 1995 at a lower level for all areas except western PEI.
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