Science Advisory Report 2011/002
Assessment of snow crab in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence (Areas 12, 19, 12E and 12F)
- Snow crab in management Areas 12, 19, 12E, and 12F comprise a single biological population and the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence stock is considered as one unit for assessment purposes.
- The landings of snow crab from the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence in 2010 were 9,549 tons from a quota of 9,547 t.
- The exploitation rate in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence in 2010 was 36.6%.
- The 2010 survey biomass of commercial-sized adult crabs was estimated at 30,500 t (27,400 to 33,700 t), an increase of 17% from 2009. The 2010 biomass level is within the caution zone of the Precautionary Approach framework but close to the upper stock reference point of 34,000 t.
- The residual biomass (13,500 t) from the 2010 survey increased by 26% compared to 2009.
- Fifty six percent (56%) of the 2010 survey biomass, available for the 2011 fishery, is composed of new recruitment (17,000 t). The recruitment to the fishery in 2010 increased (10%) relative to 2009.
- An increasing trend in recruitment of commercial-sized adult male crab to the fishery is anticipated into the 2015 fishery.
- The abundance of mature females increased in 2010 relative to the low values during 2005 to 2009.
- A risk analysis of catch options relative to reference points for the 2011 fishery is provided.
Fishery performance in 2010 by management area
- The 2010 landings in Area 12 were 7,719 t (quota of 7,700 t).
- The CPUE was comparable to 2009 but decreased from 2007.
- The incidence of soft-shelled crab remained low at 6.5%, but locally, Chaleur Bay and nine additional grids were closed during the fishing season.
- The 2010 landings in Area 19 were 1,360 t (quota of 1,360 t).
- The CPUE in 2010 increased compared to 2009 and represents the highest observed since records began in 1987.
- The incidence of white-crab decreased from 13.2% in 2009 to 7.7% in 2010 and four of the nine sectors within Area 19 were closed during the fishing season.
- In Area 12E, the landings were 50 t, 74.6% of the 67 t quota.
- The CPUE in 2010 increased compared to 2009 but remained low.
- The incidence of soft-shelled crab in 2010 increased to 14.7% compared to 7.8% in 2009. No grids were closed during the fishing season.
- The 2010 landings in Area 12F were 420 t (quota of 420 t).
- The CPUE in 2010 increased compared to 2009 but is among the lowest values since the beginning of the fishery in 1995.
- The incidence of soft-shelled crab decreased from 11.4% in 2009 to 8.6% in 2010. Two of the three sectors within Area 12F were closed during the fishing season.
This Science Advisory Report is from the Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat, Regional Advisory Meeting of February 9-10, 2011 on Stock assessment of snow crab, southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. Additional publications from this process will be posted as they become available on the DFO Science Advisory Schedule.
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