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Framework Review for Atlantic Halibut on the Scotian Shelf and Southern Grand Banks in NAFO Divisions 3NOPs4VWX5Zc: Part 2 - Review of Modelling Approaches

Regional Advisory Meeting – Maritimes Region

March 1–4, 2022
Virtual Meeting

Chairperson: Tara McIntyre


The Atlantic Halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus) is the largest of the flatfishes and ranges widely over Canada’s East Coast. The management unit definition (3NOPs4VWX5Zc) is based largely on tagging results that indicate that Atlantic Halibut move extensively throughout the Canadian North Atlantic with smaller fish moving further than larger fish. The Atlantic Halibut fishery was unregulated until a total allowable catch (TAC) was implemented in 1988 and a legal size limit (≤ 81 cm total length) was set in 1994. While the Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) research vessel (RV) survey provides a useful index of abundance for incoming recruitment, it does not provide an index of exploitable biomass (≤ 81 cm total length) since larger fish are captured infrequently. An industry-DFO longline Halibut Survey on the Scotian Shelf and southern Grand Banks (3NOPs4VWX5Zc) was initiated in 1998 to better estimate adult biomass. A commercial index is conducted in conjunction with the longline Halibut Survey. The longline Halibut Survey provides an index for exploitable biomass of Halibut from the Scotian Shelf and southern Grand Banks. The commercial index provides data on the population size structure. A tagging study was initiated in 2006, wherein both recruits and commercial size325d fish were tagged and released. Recoveries are used to estimate exploitation rate.

A new assessment model and assessment procedures were peer-reviewed in November 2014, to inform Fisheries Management (FM) of the status of the Halibut resource and to provide harvest level advice based on standardized catch rates from the industry-DFO Halibut Survey and stratified mean numbers per tow from the RV survey. Science advice has since been provided through annual updates and evaluation of abundance indicators, landings, and estimates of fishing mortality from tagging data.

In November of 2021, the first peer review meeting of a two-part assessment framework review took place for review of the data inputs. This meeting is the second peer review meeting of the assessment framework review and will focus on a review of the modelling approaches and science advice on harvest strategies.


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Participation to CSAS peer review meetings is by invitation only.

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