Science Advisory Report 2023/017
Assessment of snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio) in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence (Areas 12, 12E, 12F and 19) in 2022 and advice for the 2023 fishery
- Snow crab in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence (sGSL) is considered as a single stock unit for assessment purposes.
- Preliminary landings of sGSL snow crab in 2022 were 31,661 tonnes (t), comprised of 27,620 t in Area 12, 197 t in Area 12E, 1,173 t in Area 12F, and 2,671 t in Area 19.
- Commercial stock biomass from the post-fishery survey is estimated at 85,532 t (composed of 80% new recruitment and 20% of residual biomass), thus, the stock is in the healthy zone as per the sGSL snow crab Precautionary Approach (PA).
- Based on the harvest decision rule, this commercial stock biomass estimate corresponds to a target exploitation rate of 41.79% and a catch option of 35,745 t for the 2023 sGSL fishery.
- A risk analysis indicates that this catch option would result in a very high likelihood that the commercial stock would remain in the healthy zone of the PA after the 2023 fishery.
- Spawning stock abundance and population recruitment indices remain at high levels.
- Despite the overall health of the stock, the surveyed abundance of snow crab in deep areas has declined in recent years coinciding with warming water temperatures at these depths, but a causal relationship has not been established.
This Science Advisory Report is from the January 25-26, 2023 regional peer review on Assessment of snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio) in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence (Areas 12, 12E 12F and 19) in 2022 and advice for the 2023 fishery. 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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