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Research Document - 2012/045

An Assessment of Newfoundland and Labrador Snow Crab (Chionoecetes opilio) in 2010

By D. Mullowney, E. Dawe, K. Skanes, E. Hynick, W. Coffey, P.O’Keefe, D.Fiander, D.Stansbury, E.Colbourne, and D. Maddock-Parsons


Resource status was evaluated throughout NAFO (Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization) Divisions 2HJ3KLNOP4R based on trends in biomass, recruitment and mortality. Multiple indices of these metrics were derived from a suite of data sources that include dockside-monitored landings, harvester logbooks, at-sea observer monitoring, pre-and post-season trawl surveys, broad-scale post-season trap surveys, localized inshore trap surveys, a vessel monitoring system (VMS), and biological sampling data from multiple sources. The resource was assessed separately for offshore and inshore areas of each NAFO division, where appropriate (Div. 3KLP4R). Data availability varied among divisions and between inshore and offshore areas within divisions..The multi-species trawl surveys indicate that the exploitable biomass increased from 2003-2007 due to recovery in the south (Div. 3LNOPs) while the north had decreased (Div. 2HJ3K), and there has been little change since. The trawl surveys indicate that recruitment increased from 2003-2008 and has since changed little. Longer-term recruitment prospects are uncertain, but the spring and fall surveys indicate that there has been a decline in abundance indices of smallest males (<60 mm CW) from 2006-2008 that may indicate reduced biomass in the long-term. Trends in indices are described in detail for each division and conclusions are presented with respect to the anticipated effects of short-term changes in removal levels on fishery induced mortality.

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