Science Advisory Report  2009/026

Assessment of American lobster in Newfoundland

Summary

  • In the absence of fishery-independent data, the assessment is based only on limited fishery-dependent data.
  • Extensive logbook data would enable the assessment of V-notching activity, and may provide estimates of abundance and survival.
  • Reported landings, summed over the whole island, have remained relatively constant for more than 50 years, but relative variability in individual LFAs is considerably higher.
  • Newfoundland lobster landings have increased in recent years, from 1900 t in 2004 to 2600 t in 2007, due largely to increased landings in LFAs 11, 13A, 13B and 14A.
  • Reported landings in LFAs 4, 8, 9 and 10 declined to record lows in 2007.
  • Data for LFAs 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 , 9, 12, 13A, 13B and 14C are insufficient to assess the size of the stock, the extent and direction of changes in abundance and the rate of renewal.
  • At-sea sampling data for LFAs 5, 10, 11, 14A, and 14B provide information on stock structure, including V-notched females, and mortality rates.Catch consists largely of incoming recruits. Annual survival of males has varied without trend, but was generally less than 0.2; survival of females was higher.
  • The most extensive time series of commercial logbook data comes from Eastport, (part of LFA 5), and shows that commercial catch per unit of effort has changed little since 1997.
  • V-notching has been taking place annually since initiation in the mid-1990s. However, there are no reliable accounts of how much has taken place. If there is a positive effect on recruitment, it should become discernible in about three to five years.

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