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Science Response 2018/020

Stock Status Update of Atlantic Cod (Gadus morhua) in NAFO Divisions 4X5Yb


Although Atlantic Cod (Gadus morhua) in Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) Divisions 4X5Yb (herein referred to as 4X5Yb Atlantic Cod) have supported a commercial fishery since the 1700s, their abundance has declined in number and biomass since 1980. In 2003, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) assessed the Maritimes Designatable Unit (DU) of Atlantic Cod as Special Concern (COSEWIC 2003). In 2010, COSEWIC split the Maritimes DU into two new DUs, the Laurentian South DU and the Southern DU, including NAFO Divs. 4X5Yb, and re-assessed the Southern DU as Endangered due to significant decline in abundance and evidence of an unexplained increase in natural mortality in NAFO Div. 4X (COSEWIC 2010).

A Recovery Potential Assessment (RPA) was carried out by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) Science in 2011 to provide the information and scientific advice required to meet various requirements of the Species at Risk Act (SARA). The RPA used data (1980-2008) from the most recent peer reviewed stock assessment (DFO 2009) to explore the consequences of particular productivity assumptions and catch scenarios (DFO 2011a). The next framework for 4X5Yb Atlantic Cod is scheduled for 2018, with the Data Inputs meeting occurring in March 2018, followed by a Modeling framework tentatively scheduled for Fall 2018. The last 4X5Yb Atlantic Cod stock status update was conducted in 2016 (DFO 2017a) and the present Science Response is the result of a request for a stock status update from Resource Management (Maritimes Region) using the most recent DFO Summer Research Vessel (RV) surveys (2016-2017) and fishery landing data up to 2016.

This Science Response Report results from the Science Response Process of December 4, 2017, on the Stock Status Update of 4X5Y Cod.

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