Science Advisory Report 2017/006
Assessment of 4X5Y Haddock in 2016
- Fishing year landings for 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 were 2,825 tonnes (t) and 2,926 t, respectively, well below the total allowable catch of 5,100 t.
- Over the past 10 years, the mobile gear sector (small otter trawlers) have taken an average of about 80% of the catch and the fixed gear sector (primarily longline) about 20%, with the majority coming from the Scotian Shelf.
- The DFO Summer Research Vessel survey biomass index in 2015 and 2016 was 69,800 t and 62,700 t, respectively. The 2015 and 2016 index was above the short (5 year: 48,193 t), and long-term (since 1970: 55,470 t) averages.
- For both the commercial fishery and the summer survey, values for the mean weights-at-age and lengths-at-age show a decline from the early 1990s to the mid-2000s and then a levelling off or a modest increase, followed by the lowest weights-at-age for many ages occurring in 2015.
- The estimated spawning stock biomass at the beginning of 2016 was 33,770 t, above the established biomass limit reference point (Blim) of 19,700 t and the long-term average of 32,258 t. The stock is not in the critical zone.
- The estimated fishing mortality (F) for ages 6 to 10 in 2015 was 0.05 for 4X5Y Haddock, therefore below the fishing mortality reference point (Fref) in both the healthy zone (F=0.25) and cautious zone (F=0.15).
- A deterministic projection was conducted with a catch of 5,100 t in 2016 under fishing at Fref=0.25 in the healthy zone scenario for 2017 and 2018, and a second deterministic projection was conducted under fishing at F=0.15 in the cautious zone scenario for 2017 and 2018. In both scenarios, spawning stock biomass estimates for 2017-2019 remained above the time series average and Blim.
- A stochastic projection was conducted with a catch of 5,100 t in 2016 under fishing at Fref=0.25 in the healthy zone scenario in 2017 and 2018, and a second stochastic projection was conducted under fishing at F=0.15 in the cautious zone scenario in 2017 and 2018. Catch estimates for 2017-2019 ranged from 11,000 t to 27,100 t.
- The 2013 year class appears to be much stronger than anything previously witnessed, but there is uncertainty around this estimate given the retrospective, the small number of observations in both the survey and fishery, and the apparent mismatch between survey abundance estimates and the virtual population analysis in recent years.
- The status of the stock cannot be attributed specifically to the cautious or the healthy zone due to an absence of a defined upper stock reference. Under the various harvest scenarios examined, the spawning stock biomass is projected to increase to around 100,000 t, double the previous peak observed from 1985 to 2015.
This Science Advisory Report is from the November 28-29, 2016 regional peer review on the Stock Assessment with Catch Projections for 4X5Y Haddock. 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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