Terms of Reference
Stock status in 2021 and fishery advice for 2022 for Snow Crab from the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence
Regional Advisory Meeting – Gulf Region
January 25-27, 2022
Chairperson: Amélie Rondeau
In support of the DFO Fisheries and Aquaculture Management Sector's request for science advice, the Science Branch, Gulf Region, is undertaking the annual peer review of the stock status of the snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio) population in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence (sGSL). Recent peer reviews have highlighted that some population indices from the 2019 and 2020 surveys were likely overestimated relative to previous surveys. One likely factor is an extended period of unaccounted for trawling that occurred during the trawl haul in the 2019 and 2020 surveys. Another issue identified was the practice of relocating trawl stations when the trawl was damaged, which led to a shift of these sampling stations to more trawlable areas over time opening the door to a bias on population indices.
To develop peer-reviewed science advice for the management of the snow crab fishery in the sGSL biological unit for the 2022 fishing season.
The following items will be discussed:
- Commercial fishing statistics for the 2021 fishing season (landings, effort, and catch per unit effort) for southern Gulf Areas 12, 12E, 12F, and 19.
- Standardization of survey indices, including:
- a summary of the results of the 2021 trawl experiment, which tested two methods to minimize the extent of passive phase trawling during the survey.
- the impact of relocating sampling stations due to trawl damage from 2013 to 2020 on crab abundance estimates.
- a summary of trawl survey statistics (e.g., trawl geometry, passive phase trawling).
- Population statistics including an update of the snow crab trawl survey after the 2021 fishery, specifically:
- commercial biomass estimates for the southern Gulf biological unit and management areas 12, 12E, 12F, and 19.
- population size frequency distributions.
- population recruitment indices.
- spawning stock indices.
- commercial crab mortality rates.
- Analysis of the risk associated with different harvest options for the 2022 fishing season on the status of sGSL snow crab stocks in 2023, relative to the defined reference points.
- Environmental conditions in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence and their potential impact on snow crab habitat and distribution.
- Research Document
- Science Advisory Report
- Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) (Ecosystems and Oceans Science, and Ecosystems and Fisheries Management)
- External experts
- Date modified: