Landings of pollock in the 4VWX/5Zc fishery in 2005/06 are 4698 t as of October 27, against a quota of 6500 t. An assessment was completed using input data through the second trimester of 2005. Reduced quotas and harvests have contributed to a decline in fishing mortality rates for older fish (ages 6-9), but fishing mortality remains high, and above the Fref of 0.2. Biomass declined from about 60,000 t in 1984 to about 10,000 t in 1999. Biomass has been rebuilding since 1999, doubling to about 20,000 t in 2003, but the rebuilding has been arrested. The fishery weight at age has been decreasing from about 1984, and the trend is most apparent for the younger ages (ages 3-5). The 1999 year-class was the strongest at age 2 since 1990. Initial indications for the 2002 year-class is that it is the weakest in the series. If the 2002 year-class is as weak as estimated, biomass will decrease in 2006 to 13,000 t, before increasing again to about 17,000 t in 2007. The range of harvest strategies in the fishing year that are risk averse (25% risk of exceeding Fref) to risk neutral (50% risk of exceeding Fref) are about 1400 to 1800 t. Several factors (few older fish in the population, fishing mortality remains well above the target levels, the 2002 year-class is the weakest on record, the fishery is spatially constricted and the modest biomass rebuilding has been arrested) indicate a more conservative harvesting strategy than that employed in 2005 is urgently required. The objective of achieving rebuilding for cod and pollock may constrain the harvesting of haddock.
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