Terms of Reference
Allowable Harm assessment for the striped bass population from the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence
Regional Advisory Process - Gulf Region
February 4, 2011
Chairperson: D. Cairns (DFO Gulf Region)
The Recovery Potential Assessment (RPA) of the striped bass (Morone saxatilis) designatable unit from the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence evaluated whether the survival or recovery of the species was compromised by impacts of existing activities on the species. The RPA also assessed whether the recovery potential could be improved by reducing mortality on striped bass, primarily for those mortalities associated with fishing. Due to a lack of quantitative information, the RPA did not provide any assessment of the mortality resulting from any specific fisheries or other threats but rather provided a qualitative description of the expected effects of the identified threats. The RPA concluded that illegal fishing and incidental mortalities in some fisheries constituted the most important constraints to the recovery of the species. In terms of the proposed recovery objective and under existing conditions, the cumulative mortality on striped bass resultant of all activities resulted in a small chance (<25%) of achieving the recovery objective within ten years. The chance of recovery within ten years would be much higher if the mortality on adults and young-of-the-year bass (from incidental catches) were greatly reduced. The RPA provided some examples of measures to be considered to reduce these mortalities.
The published RPA does not provide any assessment of the activities which could be authorized provided it could be shown that these did not jeopardize the survival or recovery of the species. Supplementary advice to the 2006 RPA is required to identify those activities which could be authorized by permit as defined by Section 73 or those activities to which the prohibitions of SARA could be excluded as defined by Section 83(4) of SARA. This advice is required in order for the department to comply with the provisions of the SARA and will be considered complementary advice to that provided in the 2006 RPA (DFO 2006). The advice will also be used to support the recommendation to list or not the species under the SARA.
Complementary advice to that provided in 2006 is required for the following:
- To the extent possible, assess the impacts of activities described in Table 4 of the 2006 RPA on the survival and recovery of striped bass from the southern Gulf.
- To the extent possible and relative to objectives defined by management, assess the impacts of the activities on the survival and recovery objective trajectories.
- For the assessed activities above, determine if the probability of survival and the trajectory of the population can be improved by the application of mitigation measures and assess any residual effects.
- Based on the analyses above and relative to criteria defined by management (recovery objective, timeline), define those activities which would not jeopardize the survival or recovery of striped bass from the southern Gulf and therefore whose incidental effects could be authorized or exempted under the SARA. Also identify those activities whose effects are considered negligible.
- On this point, assess specifically the consequences to the population trajectory of potential Food Social and Ceremonial (FSC) allocations to aboriginal fisheries, provided by DFO EFM, in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence.
A Science Advisory Report and supporting research documents are expected outputs of the meeting. As well, a proceedings report that summarizes the review of the working papers during the meeting will be produced.
The Science Advisory Report is expected to be produced within eight weeks of the meeting. The supporting research documents and proceedings document are expected within four months of the date of the meeting.
When finalized, the products from the meeting will be posted on the DFO Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat website.
To assist in the review and the drafting of the advice, participation is expected from:
- Relevant DFO Sectors
- Aboriginal groups
- Invited external experts as deemed necessary
DFO. 2006. Recovery Assessment Report for the St. Lawrence Estuary, Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence and Bay of Fundy Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis) Populations. Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Advis. Rep. 2006/053.
Douglas S.G., Chaput G., and Caissie D. Assessment of Status and Recovery Potential for Striped bass (Morone saxatilis) in the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. Can. Sci. Adv. Secr. Res. Doc. 2006/041.
Participation to CSAS peer review meetings is by invitation only.
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