Terms of Reference
Assessment of the sea cucumber fishery in the Estuary and Northern Gulf of St. Lawrence
Quebec Region Science Advisory Process
May 5, 2011
Chairperson: Diane Archambault
The sea cucumber (Cucumaria frondosa) fishery is a recent activity in the Estuary and northern Gulf of St. Lawrence. It began in 2008 on the Gaspé Peninsula’s north shore and in 2009 it extended to the Middle North Shore near Havre-Saint-Pierre. This fishery is carried out either by diving, using an LGS-type dredge or by a dredge specifically designed for sea cucumbers. The fishery is currently conducted by four fishermen as part of an exploratory fishery. There is no local market for now. Cucumbers are processed at a plant in Maine and products are exported mainly to Asian markets.
In 2004, on the Gaspé Peninsula, a study was conducted by Campagna et al. to determine the potential of this fishery. Following this study, a first exploratory license was issued in 2008 for Area C. The following year, three additional exploratory licenses were issued. On the North Shore, an FSCP project took place in 2010 to assess the potential of part of the Mingan region.
DFO Quebec Science Branch reviews the status of some Gulf of St. Lawrence invertebrates and fish stocks in support of management of the fishery. Fisheries and Aquaculture management has requested an assessment of the sea cucumber fishery in the Estuary and northern Gulf of St. Lawrence following the 2010 fishing season.
Provide science advice on management measures for the sea cucumber fishery in the Estuary and northern Gulf of St. Lawrence, management units A, B, C and HSP. This advice shall include:
- Description of the biology of the sea cucumber and its distribution in Quebec’s coastal waters.
- Description of the fishery including landings, fishing effort and management measures specific to the fishing areas.
- Analysis of catches per unit effort from the fishery.
- Analysis of data from the commercial sampling program and the at-sea observer program (including size structures and by-catches).
- Analysis of results from the 2010 sea cucumber exploratory fishery at Havre-Saint-Pierre.
- If possible, assessment of the impact of this fishery on other species and habitat, and assess potential mitigation measures.
- Exploitation, monitoring and assessment strategies for this fishery.
- Assessment of the need to identify indicators to monitor stock status during years without formal stock assessment.
- Identification and prioritization of research projects to be considered for the future.
- Perspectives and/or recommendations on management measures in effect for the 2011-2013 fishing seasons.
CSAS Science Advisory Report on sea cucumber in the Estuary and northern Gulf of St. Lawrence.
CSAS Proceedings summarizing discussions.
DFO Science and Fisheries Management
Campagna, S., J. Lambert and P. Archambault. 2005. Abondance et distribution du concombre de mer (Cucumaria frondosa) et prises accidentelles obtenues par dragage entre Matane et Cap-Gaspé (Québec) en 2004. Rapp. tech. can. sci. halieut. aquat. 2620 : ix + 61 p.
Participation to CSAS peer review meetings is by invitation only.
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