Science Advisory Report 2023/037
Western Component (4Xopqrs5) Pollock Management Strategy Evaluation, Stock Status, and Advice
- Pollock (Pollachius virens) are a semi-pelagic gadid species found in the North Atlantic and are harvested as part of a multi-species groundfish fishery in the Maritimes Region.
- In the multi-species groundfish fishery, fishing effort on Pollock appears to have shifted primarily to catching Pollock as a bycatch species in some areas (e.g., 4Xmn), while remaining a directed species in others (e.g., 4Xpq).
- The population model accepted for this Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) review shows alternating periods of high and low recruitment for Western Component Pollock throughout the time series. The stock is currently undergoing a period of low recruitment, with an annual average of 4.7 million recruits since 2016.
- The Limit Reference Point for Western Component Pollock was defined as 0.2 of the unfished biomass (B0; 14,350 mt) and the maximum removal rate (Flim) for a stock in the Healthy zone was defined as the fishing mortality rate that results in 40% of the spawning biomass per recruit in an unfished state (F40%SPR; 0.187) under the most recent levels of natural mortality. The Upper Stock Reference point was defined as 0.32 B0 (22,960 mt).
- The three-year running geometric mean of the survey biomass, adjusted for catchability to the gear, is 22,331 mt, placing the stock in the Cautious zone.
- Based on the available estimate of population biomass and the application of the selected Management Procedure, the advice for Western Component Pollock for fishing year 2023-2024 is 3,609 mt. This represents an increase of 5.9% from the previous fishing year's total allowable catch (TAC) and is equivalent to a fishing mortality rate (F) of 0.176.
- Although Science has not provided catch advice for the 4Xmn portion of the Western Component Management Unit, it is recommended that the removal of any Eastern Component TAC be limited to the areas occupied by Eastern Component Pollock to avoid exceeding F for the rest of the Western Component Management Unit.
- Throughout the review of the Pollock MSE, a number of uncertainties have been identified. They are summarized in this report to frame the results of the MSE and to provide guidance for future research related to Western Component Pollock.
This Science Advisory Report is from the February 17, 2023, regional peer review on the Assessment of Stock Status for Western Component Pollock and Harvest Control Rule. 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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