Research Document - 2012/009
Scallop Production Areas in the Bay of Fundy: Stock Status for 2011 and Forecast for 2012
By S.J. Smith, B. Hubley, L. Nasmith, J. Sameoto, H. Bourdages, and A. Glass
This document reviews the status of scallop stocks in Scallop Production Areas (SPAs) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 (Bay of Fundy and Approaches) for 2010/2011 with advice for 2011/2012. In this assessment, temporal patterns in condition and stock composition were used to calculate more accurate overall growth parameters for input into the population models. These new models appear to have rectified problems noted in previous assessments. In addition to these changes, the survey area for SPA 3 has been redefined.
The Full Bay fleet caught 278 t against a TAC of 300 t in SPA 1A in 2010/2011. An interim TAC of 100 t was set for the 2011/2012 season. The average catch rate in 2010/2011 was below the long term median. Population biomass estimated by the model was 1,147 t (meats) in 2011, unchanged from the 2010 estimate 2010 (1,141 t), and below the median biomass (1,251 t; 1997 to 2010). A catch of 200 t for 2011/2012 should result in an exploitation rate close to the reference exploitation rate, and an 8% decline in biomass for 2012.
In SPA 1B, the Full Bay fleet caught a total of 83.6 t against a TAC of 203 t in 2010/2011. An interim TAC of 100 t was set for the Full Bay 2011/2012 season. The Mid-Bay fleet caught 122.8 t against a TAC of 142.88 t, and Upper Bay Fleet caught 53.3 t against a TAC of 54.12 t. Full Bay and Mid Bay commercial catch rates have been relatively stable in this area for the last few years with a few exceptions. Population biomass estimated by the model was 1,745 t (meats) in 2011, a 7% decrease from the 2010 estimate (1,878 t), and below the median biomass of 1,881 t (1997 to 2010). Current recruit biomass estimates of 42.9 t are the lowest in the time series. A catch of 300 t for 2011/2012 should correspond to the reference rate and is predicted to result in a 3% decline in biomass.
The 2010/2011 TAC in SPA 3 was set at 50 t. A total of 24.2 t was landed by mid-November 2010 when the fall season closed. Approximately 49 t was caught in St. Mary's Bay and Brier/Lurcher by June 10 2011 at the close of the summer season. An interim TAC of 100 t was set for 2011/2012. The fall fishery closed October 26, 2011 with landings of 124 t. Commercial catch rates for the 2011 summer fishery indicated an increase for St. Mary's Bay from 2010, but no change for the Brier/Lurcher area. October catch rates in Brier/Lurcher were very similar to the summer catch rates in the same area, but the 2011 October catch rate increased by 15% over the 2011 summer rate. Population biomass estimated by the model was 796 t (meats) in 2011, a 37% increase from the 2010 estimate (579 t) and below the median biomass of 827 t (1996 to 2010). A catch of 150 t for 2011/2012 should result in an exploitation rate close to the reference and no appreciable change in biomass for 2012. This catch includes the 125 t already landed in the fall 2011 fishery.
In SPA 4, a total of 136.3 t was caught against a TAC of 140 t in 2010/2011. An interim TAC of 120 t was set for the 2011/2012 season. The 2010/2011 catch rate was above the long-term median. Recruitment in this area has been low but stable, with little change in recruit abundance since 2005. Population biomass estimated by the model was 656 t (meats) in 2011, a 2% increase from the estimate for 2010 (641 t), and below the median biomass of 767 t (1983 to 2010). The estimated recruitment biomass of 7.4 t in 2011 is the second lowest since 1983. Catches for 2011/2012 of 100 t should result in an exploitation rate close to the reference and is predicted to result in a 7% decline in biomass.
In SPA 5, landings were 10 t against a TAC of 10 t. The commercial catch rate in 2011 was above the long-term median. The annual survey was discontinued in this area as of 2009 at the request of industry. Catch rates have been relatively stable which would suggest a relatively stable population size at current levels of exploitation. The TAC for 2012 should not exceed the average catch of 10 t over the period 1997–2010.
A total of 104 t was landed against a TAC of 140 t in SPA 6 in 2010/2011. The Full Bay fleet reported no landings against a TAC of 21 t. Mid Bay landings for 2010 were 23.9, 26.5, 46.5, and 7.0 t for SPA 6A, B, C, and D, respectively, against a TAC of 119 t. Catch rates increased in 6B in 2011, and decreased slightly in the other areas. The distribution of commercial sized scallops decreased in 6B and 6C, and to a lesser extent in 6A. All three areas decreased in condition from 2010, and only 6C is near the long term median. Commercial catch rates suggest that commercial scallop biomass remained unchanged over recent years, while the survey indicates decreases in 2011 relative to 2010. If the condition factors continue to decline for all three areas, population biomass may decrease at the current levels of catch.
Since 2001, as part of the inshore scallop surveys, catches of commercial groundfish, lobster, squid, and octopus has been recorded. Of those species recorded during the survey, the most commonly encountered species since 2001 has been, in respective order, lobster, winter flounder, monkfish and octopus. As part of a Species-At-Risk (SARCEP) project, observer coverage was funded for the inshore scallop fishery in the Bay of Fundy and approaches in 2008 and 2009. Observer coverage occurred in SPAs 1, 4 and 5 combined in both 2008 and 2009, at a level of 2% and 3%, respectively. There was only coverage of SPA 3 in 2008 at a level of 5%, and coverage in SPA 6 only in 2009 at a level of 9%. Estimated discard rates by species group were presented.
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