Science Advisory Report 2017/004
Assessment of snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio) in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence (Areas 12, 19, 12E and 12F) to 2016 and advice for the 2017 fishery
- Snow crab in fishing 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 2016 were 21,725 t from a revised quota of 21,611 t.
- The resulting exploitation rate of the 2016 fishery in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence was estimated at 36.9%.
- The 2016 post-fishery survey biomass of commercial-sized adult male crabs was estimated at 99,145 t (95% confidence interval of 87,749 to 111,600 t), an increase of 68.6% from 2015. The available biomass for the 2017 fishery, derived from the 2016 survey, is within the healthy zone of the Precautionary Approach (PA) framework.
- Total commercial biomass in the 2016 survey was composed 75% of new recruitment (74,269 t) and 25% of residual biomass (24,876 t). The recruitment to the commercial biomass increased by 112.6% relative to the previous year.
- Based on the agreed harvest decision rule which has been assessed as compliant with the PA, the point estimate of the biomass in the 2016 survey of 99,145 t corresponds to an exploitation rate of 44.2% giving a Total Allowable Catch (TAC) of 43,822 t for the 2017 fishery.
- The risk analysis indicates that the 2017 TAC derived from the harvest decision rule will result in a near 100% chance of the biomass for the 2018 fishery being above BUSR and in the healthy zone of the PA.
Fishery performance in 2016 in Area 12:
- The 2016 landings in Area 12 were 19,499 t from a revised quota of 19,393 t.
- The CPUE (expressed as kg per trap haul (kg/th)) in 2016 (64.0 kg/th) decreased compared to 2015 (67.9 kg/th).
- The incidence of soft-shelled crab in 2016 (5.3%) is comparable to 2015 (4.9%).
Fishery performance in 2016 in Area 19:
- The 2016 landings in Area 19 were 1,701 t from a revised quota of 1,701 t.
- The CPUE in 2016 (142.5 kg/th) is comparable to 2015 (144.8 kg/th).
- The incidence of white-crab increased from 5.5% in 2015 to 8.2% in 2016.
Fishery performance in 2016 in Area 12E:
- In Area 12E, the landings were 144 t from a revised quota of 144 t.
- The CPUE in 2016 (51.5 kg/th) decreased compared to 2015 (65.8 kg/th).
- The incidence of soft-shelled crab in 2016 decreased from 9.8% in 2015 to 1.1% in 2016.
Fishery performance in 2016 in Area 12F:
- The 2016 landings in Area 12F were 381 t from a revised quota of 373 t.
- The CPUE in 2016 (43.9 kg/th) increased compared to 2015 (38.2 kg/th).
- The incidence of soft-shelled crab increased from 3.3% in 2015 to 10.4% in 2016.
This Science Advisory Report is from the Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat, regional advisory meeting of January 25-26, 2017 on the Stock assessment of the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence snow crab stock to 2016 and catch advice for the 2017 fishery. Additional publications from this process will be posted on the Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) Science Advisory Schedule as they become available.
This document is available in PDF format. If the document is not accessible to you, please contact the Secretariat to obtain another appropriate format, such as regular print, large print, Braille or audio version.
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