Science Advisory Report 2016/012
Assessment of Northern Shrimp stocks in the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence in 2015
- In 2015, preliminary landings were 30,367 t on a Total Allowable Catch (TAC) of 31,549 t.
- Total fishing effort has been stable for 10 years and corresponds annually to a maximum footprint on the seabed of approximately 6,400 km2. The same areas are fished by shrimp harvesters from one year to the next.
- The fishery’s standardized catch rate in the four areas was high compared to the historical average. Over the past four years, the catch rate was stable in Estuary, rising in Sept-Iles and Anticosti, and decreasing in Esquiman.
- The biomass index from the DFO survey in Estuary decreased in 2015. In Sept-Iles and Anticosti, the index declined between 2007 and 2011 and has remained stable thereafter. In Esquiman, the biomass index has decreased since 2011.
- The demographic structures observed by area in 2015 during the DFO survey revealed that male abundance was similar or slightly higher than the historical average, except in Estuary where it was lower. Thus, in the short term, the recruitment of females to the fishery could be equivalent to the average in most areas.
- The exploitation rate was comparable to the historical average in each area except for Anticosti where it was higher, but with a trend to be closer to the average since 2011.
- Changes in environmental and ecosystem conditions were observed in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, with increases seen for bottom temperature, and in abundance of Redfish and other groundfish. These changes could lead to impacts on shrimp population dynamics and productivity, such as effects on spatial distribution, growth, reproduction and trophic relationships.
- Bycatches in the shrimp fishery have increased due to the significant increase in catches of small Redfish. From 2013 to 2015, bycatch represented for 2.6%, 3.6% and 3.3%, respectively, by weight of Northern Shrimp catches. However, the estimated total catch for each species contributing to bycatches represents less than 1% of the estimated biomass by the DFO survey.
- The main indicator of stock status is calculated from the indices obtained from the summer fishery and the research survey. The main indicator shows that the stocks were in the healthy zone in 2015. Over the past five years, the main indicator was relatively stable in Estuary, Sept-Iles and Anticosti, while a downward trend was observed in Esquiman.
- Harvest guidelines were established according to the main indicator and its position relative relation to the stock status classification zones (healthy, cautious and critical) in compliance with the precautionary approach. According to the guidelines, the projected harvest for 2016 is 1,084 t for Estuary, 12,282 t for Sept-Iles, 9,310 t for Anticosti and 6,609 t for Esquiman.
- TACs are set annually by fisheries management from the projected harvests following the decision rules of the current precautionary approach.
This Science Advisory Report is from the January 21, 2016 meeting on Assessment of Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence Shrimp Stocks. Additional publications from this meeting will be posted on the Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) Science Advisory Schedule as they become available.
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