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Harvest Advice for Pacific Sardine (Sardinops sagax) in British Columbia Waters for 2022

Regional Peer Review – Pacific Region

May 6, 2022
Virtual Meeting

Chairperson: Linnea Flostrand


Pacific Sardine (Sardinops sagax) from the northern subpopulation of the eastern Pacific Ocean (associated with the California Current Ecosystem) has a distribution that can range between Baja California to southeast Alaska. In winter and spring months, most of this stock has the tendency to occur in waters off the California coast in association with spawning. Prior to, and during summer months, large aggregations of Pacific Sardine migrate from their spawning habitat to more northern waters mainly to forage. Migratory patterns can be affected by age structure, population size and oceanographic conditions. Typically, most Pacific Sardine that migrate into British Columbia (BC) waters are the larger and older fish in the population. Pacific Sardine has not been fished in BC waters since 2012 due to reduced migration (a general absence of Pacific Sardine in BC waters) and fishery closures in 2015 to 2021.

To calculate potential harvest options for the BC sardine fishery, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) adopted a harvest control rule in 2013 that applies a harvest rate to an estimate of age-1 and older (age 1+) biomass that exceeds 150,000 t (DFO 2013). As described in the 2013 science advisory report (DFO 2013), Harvest rates (h) ranging from 3 to 5% were selected to calculate the range of potential harvest options.

A 2022 stock assessment of the northern subpopulation of Pacific Sardine by the United States (US) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was prepared in March 2021. Based on methods described by Kuriyama et al. (2020), the 2022 assessment model was informed by updated data through to December 2021 (Kuriyama et al. 2022).

DFO Fisheries Management is requesting that Science Branch use information available from the 2022 U.S. stock assessment process of the northern subpopulation of Pacific Sardine to provide harvest advice for Pacific Sardine for the 2022 season as per the harvest control rule described in DFO (2013). The advice arising from this Canadian Science Advice Secretariat (CSAS) Science Response (SR) will be used to inform management decisions on the 2022 Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for the Canadian Pacific Sardine Fishery.


Science information and advice will be prepared on harvest options for Pacific Sardine in BC using the process described in DFO (2013) and a Science Response will be used to document outcomes.

The objectives of this SR process are to:

  1. Report the results of applying the harvest control rule for a range of harvest rates from 0.03 to 0.05 in increments of 0.01, if the expected stock biomass is above the escapement buffer of 150,000 t.
  2. Identify uncertainties associated with the 2022 harvest advice.

Expected Publication

Expected Participation



Participation to CSAS peer review meetings is by invitation only.

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