2010 Northern Shrimp Advisory Committee Meeting

April 14, 2010
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador


List of attendees is attached at Annex 1.


The Chair welcomed everyone and a round of introductions was made.

The Agenda was adopted as presented.


The minutes of the last Northern Shrimp Advisory Committee (NSAC) meeting were accepted with two changes: on page six a sentence referring to the offshore fleet's access in SFA 1 will be amended; and at the bottom of page 7, it was pointed out that there are 20 P.E.I. processors, not 2.

Once the minutes are finalized, they will be posted to the DFO website.


A table of allocations and catches for the 2009/10 compared to the 2008/09 fishery was presented.

Overall, the catches were down approximately 25% from the 2008/09 season, with the largest change in Shrimp Fishing Area (SFA) 6.


DFO (Policy / Economic Analysis and Statistics) presented an economic overview of the northern shrimp industry. The key message was that the northern shrimp fishery experienced a difficult year in 2009 caused by continued global economic decline which drove down both prices and exports to major markets; as a result fishers did not catch their Total Allowable Catch (TAC). The financial crisis of 2008/2009 has caused consumption of seafood to fall as consumers have tightened their spending. However, there are signs that the Canadian economy is starting to grow once again as GDP has increased since the middle of 2009, consumer confidence is looking up, and the price of oil has rebounded which is driving up the Canadian dollar.

Some of the key points for the presentation included: preliminary data suggests that the prices for cooked and peeled shrimp has fallen even further from the 2008 level; landings from the inshore sector fell by 30% while landings from the offshore sector were relatively flat; in terms of exports, cooked and peeled shrimp fell significantly from the previous year; the Canadian dollar has been gaining value as compared to the U.S. dollar, the Euro, and the British Pound; and, there is a substantial increase in aquaculture shrimp in the marketplace.

Other information can be found in the documentation circulated.


A brief overview was provided to update NSAC on the progression of the provisional precautionary approach framework for northern shrimp presented at the 2009 meeting. Since then, the methodology used to determine reference points and harvest control rules for SFAs 5-7 were used to develop provisional frameworks for SFAs 2 and 4, and for the montagui fishery in SFA 2/3/4. Work will now begin on determining the robustness of these models by commencing a Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) process.

A presentation followed outlining MSE and the various elements that will be part of this process. The MSE will test alternative harvest control rules by applying them to a simulation model of the fishery and looking at the resulting performance. The evaluation should ensure that the harvest control rule that is selected is robust to uncertainty and that performance statistics used are clear expressions of management objectives and risk tolerances. The process is iterative, with the participation of stakeholders, in addition to managers and scientists.


Presentation was provided outlining the Conservation and Protection performance for 2009. It was reported that 1020 hours of compliance monitoring took place, 189 vessels checked, with 40 occurrences resulting in 12 violations reported (9 warnings, 2 still open and 1 closed): 9 occurrences involved logbooks; 11 occurrences with Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) requirements; 10 occurrences dealt with observers; and, other miscellaneous including Dockside Monitoring and gear cleaning. Recording by-catch for Species at Risk; protocols for cleaning and testing of fishing nets; exclusivity relating to at-sea observer contracts; and timely access to information were also identified as issues to be addressed. Also mentioned were new NAFO measures including reporting speed and heading every hour and the Memorandum of Understanding signed with Greenland on data exchange.

The representative of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador (NL), Tom Dooley, asked whether the 1 hour reporting affected the entire fleet.

The reporting affects all shrimp fleets in all zones

The issue of unreported discards was clarified by stating that these were inadvertent discards and the issue was corrected on site.


Key aspects of the Newfoundland-Labrador Shelf Ecosystem

During the late 1980s and early 1990s the fish community in the Newfoundland and Labrador (NAFO Divs. 2J3KLNO) marine ecosystem collapsed. This collapse was more dramatic in the northern regions but was observed throughout the system. It involved commercial and non-commercial species alike. Most fish functional groups showed significant declines in their biomass/abundance ratios, generally driven by a loss of large fish. Other important changes in the marine community during this period included the increasing trend of harp seals, and the build-up of shrimp. Based on acoustic surveys, capelin showed a dramatic decline in the early 1990s which was accompanied by significant changes in its biology. More recently, an increasing trend in fish biomass was observed between 2003 and 2007. Although a positive signal, biomass levels are still well below pre-collapse levels. In the last couple of years, this trend has stalled and some functional groups are showing declines; nonetheless overall fish biomass is still higher than the level observed in the 1990s.

Although shrimp biomass continued increasing until the mid 2000s, it began showing negative trends in 2006-2007 and the biomass levels in 2009 showed a dramatic decline with respect to previous years. In 2007-2009 capelin showed an increased biomass level in the 3L acoustic survey in comparison with the very low levels observed in the mid 1990s. Nonetheless, its current biomass is still orders of magnitude below the ones observed in the late 1980's. The picture from bottom trawl surveys is slightly different; although they also indicate an overall increasing trend since the mid 1990s, they also showed capelin declines in 2008-2009. This difference could be related to changes in the availability of capelin to the bottom trawl gear due to variations in capelin behaviour, but this disparity still needs further examination.

The fall diet of cod and turbot were examined. Diet results indicate that capelin was a dominant prey for both cod and turbot from early 1980s until the early to mid 1990s. At this time the importance of capelin dropped significantly. In recent years, shrimp has become a key prey for cod, but both cod and turbot show an increasing contribution of shrimp to the diet over time. This increasing trend starts in the late 1980s, but becomes more important in the early to mid 1990s. There is latitudinal pattern in shrimp consumption in both predators; shrimp decreases its contribution to the diet from north to south. In terms of mortality on shrimp, these results suggest that predation mortality should have increased since the mid 1990s, given the increasing shrimp contribution to diets and the positive trend in overall fish biomass, but this effect is expected to be distributed across many predators, and not exclusively linked to a single predator species (e.g. cod). Since overall fish biomass is still well below pre-collapse levels, overall prey consumption by fish is also expected to be lower than in the mid-late 1980s.

Following the presentation Dwight Spence, inshore harvester, expressed concerns about the size of shrimp, how it has decreased over the years and what are the effects of catching these immature shrimp. He suggested large shrimp are disappearing faster each year.

DFO responded by noting that abundances of smaller shrimp did increase until 2006 but that when exploitation was in terms of number rather than weight caught, the exploitation rate indices were not much higher than they were when based upon weight. Even when the number of individual shrimp caught increased, until recently, the number hatched also increased and offset the number caught. Furthermore, when the population exploded it is expected to have smaller individuals.

Representative from the Canadian Association of Prawn Producers (CAPP), Bruce Chapman, asked if there are working density models in use anywhere in the world and could Science advise NSAC on this matter.

Science responded that there are lots of models available that put density and size together but situation with shrimp very complex; there are other impacts on shrimp such as water temperature and competition for food.

Representative from Fish Food and Allied Workers (FFAW), Earle McCurdy, commented that with recent decreases, there are no signs that shrimp size is going up.

Gabe Gregory, consultant, mentioned that all inshore catches are graded dockside by weight and that there has been a 15% decrease in average size of shrimp (table provided in Annex 2). Distribution is changing as well.

Science 0-3

Tim Siferd, DFO Central and Arctic, presented a summary of the assessment and the science advice for SFAs 0, 2 and 3.

In addition, he presented a summary of the NAFO Science Council recommendations for Greenland shrimp stock (SFA1) for 2009. The full Redbook Report can be found online at the NAFO site.

Science 4-7

Dave Orr presented a condensed version of the assessment for SFAs 4-6.

For SFA 7, he provided a summary of the Science as found in the following documents:

D.C. Orr, P.J. Veitch and D.J. Sullivan. 1999. Divisions 3LNO Northern shrimp (Pandalus borealis) – Interim Monitoring Update. NAFO SCR Doc. 09/51 Serial No. N5695. p.17

D.C. Orr, P.J. Veitch and D.J. Sullivan. 1999. The 2009 assessment of the Northern Shrimp (Pandalus borealis, Kroyer) resource in NAFO Divisions 3LNO. NAFO SCR Doc. 09/059 Serial No. N5720 p. 67.

These above two documents are accessible at the following website: http://www.nafo.int/publications/frames/sci-reports.html

Management Measures for 2010

SFA 0 - No comments.
For 2010, Status Quo.

SFA 2 Pandalus Borealis - No comments. For 2010, Status Quo

SFA 3 (Pandalus montagui in SFAs 2,3,4).

CAPP commented that the science rationale does not match up with the management approach in 2, 3, and 4 in part because of the different vessel surveys giving two indices to manage the fishery. This not only complicates Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification, but also the development and use of reference points and harvest control rules for the respective area units. We need to step back and look at whole picture of montagui - separation of management units to correspond with scientific input and analysis; suggested two separate management units roughly corresponding to SFA 3, and Areas 2&4, with a base target exploitation rate of 15% in each. CAPP proposes that, with priority access for bycatch use, montagui would be a by-catch regime for offshore fleet in SFAs 2 and 4, thereby reducing directed fishing opportunities, but would be available for directed fishing within the NSA for the residual quantity of the SFA2&4 TAC , and within SFA3.

Representative from Northern Coalition (NC), Keith Watts, supports CAPP's proposal.

Several participants ask for a detailed proposal in writing.

It was noted that with respect to SFA 3, efforts were made in the past to bring together stakeholders to discuss TACs, but perhaps all parties were not involved.

CAPP clarified that the purpose was not to impair anyone's access to resource, but to bring down exploitation rates in a reasonable timeframe, i.e. this year. CAPP is willing to sit down after meeting to discuss.

Chair agreed to a meeting after NSAC with interested parties.


CAPP has concerns with signs of resource declines in SFA 5, but is prepared for a roll-over with caveat that science assessment be carried out next year, instead of bi-annually. Science confirmed that a 2011 assessment for SFAs 4-6 is recommendation of this year's RAP.

For 2010, status quo with assessment to take place in 2011.


CAPP notes that any change (increase) would be 15% given Harvest control rules. Uncertain about increase since other areas diminishing; would support roll-over for 2010 on the basis that another assessment of this unit be conducted in 2011.

Northern Coalition support status quo and the meeting agreed, including that there be another assessment of this unit in 2011.

For 2010, status quo.


Chair noted that level of decline is precipitous.

Dwight Spence remarked that prices aren't there and expenses are high - it's not feasible for fishermen anymore. Suggests short-term pain for long-term gain.

FFAW agrees that we can't ignore Science advice. There are implications of different levels of quota from a marketing perspective.

Province of NL has a concern for the stock and suggests that a 25% decrease may be necessary as a starting point.

CAPP takes the scientific information seriously and cautions that we should not be driven by current economic needs. If current rate of decline continues for 2-3 years, Spawning Stock Biomass (SSB) will be below the Lower Limit reference point and there will be no directed fishing. Shrimp is a forage species so there is also demand from other species. It is also a MSC certification issue, and linking our decision to rationale in the Harvest Control Rules, we should not exceed a 20% exploitation rate. A 59-62,000 TAC will give a 19-20% exploitation rate which represents a 31% reduction in TAC.

Representative of the Association of Seafood Producers (ASP), Derek Butler, supports meaningful reduction to bring exploitation rate below 20%, especially under MSC and the importance for the resource.

Gabe Gregory - Fishery has been declining since 2006 with big increases only a few years ago. Suggests a minimum 30% reduction.

Government of NL supports significant reduction of a third or a quarter.

FFAW - supports a clear commitment and a full review next year.

Northern Coalition supports CAPP, need for a deep cut.

Government of New Brunswick representative, Annie Ferguson, supports a reduction in TAC. Suggests that a risk analysis should be included in next year's Science assessment.

Chair summarized that NSAC will recommend 59,000 to Minister for 2010, with proviso that a RAP for SFAs 4-6 will take place in 2011, with the inclusion of a risk analysis for SFA 6.

FFAW asked how reduction will be applied. A major reduction in exploitation rate will theoretically improve the catch rates for the fishery that does occur. Cut should be looked in the context of each sector's overall access to Northern shrimp given that all other TACs are status quo. Will participate in follow-up discussions with Department.

Chair reminded members that there is an allocation policy as stated at previous meetings - Last In First Out (LIFO) - therefore Dept/ Minister would reduce access based on how it increased in reverse order. This is a topic not up for discussion.

FFAW stated that LIFO is applied in different ways/different stocks and has not been applied as rigorously and subject to the circumstances. The overall stock complex is broken down in major components and a major reduction in one area has different impacts on different users. Need to analyze overall impact on people who have investments in fishery in context of job content of respective users.

Government of NL requested a written definition of LIFO and thresholds. The understanding is at the threshold they come in at, is the threshold that they come out at. When you are above that threshold, the amount you allocate above threshold is Minister's discretion.

Chair clarified that as quotas went up, there were formulas created to decide who got the increases. In some areas it was 90%-10%. When quotas go down, quotas would go down proportionally according to formulas as they increase. For somebody who came in at X level, and the quota goes below X, they would be out. This is how LIFO would be operationalized.

CAPP supports implementation of LIFO as per section 7.2 of the IFMP.

Province of Nova Scotia representative, Linde Greening, supports LIFO. Province of NB supports LIFO. Nunavut representative, Brian Burke, indicated that his government does not support LIFO.

Charlie Reardon, representative of St. Anthony's Basin Resource Inc (SABRI) stated that they have not received any increases; so they should not be cut like everyone else.

Vachon Noel representative of the North of Fifty Thirty Association (NOFTA) stated his opposition to the strict application of LIFO - as one of the last entrants in SFA 6, total allocation based on percentages, their allocation would be eliminated.

FFAW stated that consideration must be given to economics of adjacent regions. For example, Northern Peninsula has 4 shrimp plants, pop 13,500, 2,300 jobs in the fishery. This region has been devastated by groundfish fishery in particular, problems with out migration. IFMP can say things but someone has to be accountable to the people/communities who are struggling and that must be taken into account when making allocations. What should be factored in is what is the overall net affect on someone's share, how much did their overall share go up or down, what's fair bearing in mind Minister's discretion as in the crab fishery.

Government of NL wants the principle of adjacency to be taken into account, not all fleets have access to all areas, so there is not a level playing field.

As there were no other issues under Management Measures, the Chair summarized the TAC levels as above, and closed the meeting. He invited all interested parties to remain for discussion on the CAPP montagui proposal.

Meeting adjourned.


As a result of a proposal raised by the Canadian Association of Prawn Producers regarding structural changes to the montagui fishery, a meeting was held with interested NSAC members. The result is the proposal found in Annex 3. The next step is to circulate the proposal to affected co-management partners, and other stakeholders, to seek their views.

Annex 1

Annex 2

Data on Inshore Cooked and Peeled Shrimp Industry in NL

NAFO AREA # of Raw shrimp per pound Average weight in grams % reduction in ave. size from 2007 % of catch <4grams Change
2007 2008 2009 2007 2008 2009 2008 2009 2007 2008 2009 since 2007
2J 84.50 88.07 98.72 5.37 5.15 4.60 4.1% 14.4% 16.76 19.86 31.99 90.9%
3K 82.33 86.46 89.59 5.51 5.25 5.07 4.8% 8.1% 17.59 19.51 24.25 37.9
2009 2008 % decline
Month Seadays Catch in lbs Lbs/Seaday Seadays Catch in lbs Lbs/Seaday 2008 to 2009
May 10 7,197 720 65 1,025,944 15,784 95.4%
July 123 1,338,814 10,885 179 2,575,112 14,386 24.3%
August 238 2,282,557 9,591 235 3,297,563 14,032 31.7%
September 106 952,129 8,982 124 1,189,138 9,590 6.3%
Total 477 4,580,697 9,603 603 8,087,757 13,413 28.4%

Annex 3

Pandalus montagui -

Blue: SFA 2,3,4 west of 63°West Offshore Quota - 3300t. This quota could be fished anywhere between 63°W and 70°W. When the Nunavut and Nunavik Land Claims came into effect, the offshore fleet was limited to the area in blue east of the land claim borders (red lines).

Yellow: NWMB SFA2 Quota - 2000t.

Green: NWMB SFA3 Quota - 1000t.

Pandalus borealis -

400 t by-catch quota to be fished in SFA3 and SFA2 within the NSA.

SFA Fleet/Interest 2009
2 Offshore 5,250
Offshore Licence Holders (Expl. P. borealis E of 63°W) 1,750
Nunavut (N of 63N and E of 63W) 1,750
Nunavut (Exploratory P. montagui inside NSA) 2,000
Total 10,750
3 Offshore Licence Holders (Pandalus montagui in SFAs 2/3/4 West of 63W) 3,300
Nunavut (Exploratory P. montagui inside the NSA) 1,000
Pandalus Borealis (bycatch)6 400
Total 4,700

Current Management and Science:

2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000
AREA 2, 3 & 4 EAST HUDSON STRAIT & UNGAVA BAY (WEST OF 63ºW) 463 645 1636 2167 1658 2069 651 2453 3751 2922
AREA 2, 3 & 4 EAST OF 63ºW 0 0 0 0 402 916
TOTAL 463 645 2174 2431 2299 2069 1053 3369 3751 2922

Proposed Changes:


Revised Map and Quotas:

Revised map and quota

Proposed new areas defining TAC areas and fishing sectors allowed to fish for Pandalus montagui:

New area 1 (yellow, green and blue): West of 63°W-64°30'W plus 64°30'W-66°W and 60°30'N-63°N.

P. montagui TAC = 2250t based on the mean fishable biomass for the 63°-66°W survey area for the 2008 and 2009 surveys and an target exploitation rate of 15%.

BLUE: Offshore P. montagui by-catch quota - 1100t (Based on the average P. montagui catch for the period 2005-2009 and subject to annual review).

YELLOW: NWMB P. montagui quota - 1150t. NWMB P. borealis by-catch quota 250t (subject to annual review)

GREEN: inside Nunavik Marine Region

New Area 2 (white): 66°W-70°W and south of 60°30'N (SFA3 survey area west of RISA).

P. montagui TAC - 5,000t. Based on average fishable biomass from the 2007 and 2009 surveys - 50,000t and a precautionary target exploitation rate of 10%.

P. borealis TAC - 1,500t. Based on average fishable biomass from the 2007 and 2009 surveys - 15,000 t and a precautionary target exploitation rate of 10%.

**Sharing of the TAC would be negotiated by representatives of Nunavut and Nunavik, with the final decision being made by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.