Terms of Reference
Framework Review for Stock Assessment of Offshore Whelk in 4Vs and 4W
Regional Peer Review - Maritimes Region
May 17–18, 2022
Chairpersons: Leslie Nasmith and Rabindra Singh
Buccinum undatum, the waved whelk, is a ubiquitous marine gastropod within the North Atlantic. They are distributed from the low water mark to depths of up to 600 m but are most abundant in the shallower portion of that range (Hansson 1998; Weetman et al. 2006; Włodarska-Kowalczuk 2007; Heude-Berthelin et al. 2011). Their reproductive cycle involves internal fertilization and direct development of larvae within demersal egg capsules. This lack of planktonic larvae coupled with limited adult movement (Pálsson et al. 2014, Lapointe and Sainte-Marie 1992; Hancock, 1963; Himmelman and Hamel 1993) results in a limited dispersal in this species. A growing body of research has shown whelk to exhibit variation in shell morphology, size at sexual maturity, and size frequency as well as genetic differentiation over relatively small spatial scales (Weetman et al. 2006; Shelmerdine et al. 2007; Pálsson et al. 2014; McIntyre et al. 2015; Valentinsson et al.). This makes whelk populations vulnerable to local depletion or even extirpation (Gendron 1991; de Jonge et al. 1993), and slow to recover from their removal.
There is currently an exploratory whelk fishery in Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) Divisions 4W and 4Vs. There are no independent surveys and thus information on these stocks is based on data collected by the exploratory license holders (Louisbourg Seafoods Ltd. and Premium Seafoods Ltd.). This assessment framework review will enable DFO Science to address requests from DFO Resource Management and provide advice on the stock status of whelk to guide decisions in the management of offshore 4Vs and 4W whelk including the viability of commercial fisheries, the management of food, social, and ceremonial allocations, and commercial quota allocations.
The specific objectives to be addressed in this assessment framework review are as follows:
- Review current biological knowledge and fisheries practices for whelk.
- Analyze available fishery dependent and independent data to assess the 4Vs and 4W offshore whelk stocks.
- Develop appropriate indicators for monitoring stock status or provide contextual indicators.
- Determine if the NAFO Divisions 4Vs and 4W are appropriate spatial scales to monitor stock status and if not, determine appropriate spatial scale for fishing zones.
- Outline any potential recommendations for an annual fishing season and recommendations for time closures if appropriate.
- Determine an approach for developing limit reference points for each zone, and advice on appropriate reference points.
- Discuss the appropriate timeframe for future updates and assessments.
- Provide recommendations to improve future monitoring and research.
- Research Document
- DFO Science
- DFO Resource Management
- Provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick
- Aboriginal communities/organizations
- Fishing industry
- Non-government organizations
de Jonge VN, Essink K, Boddeke R (1993) The Dutch Wadden Sea: a changed ecosystem. Hydrobiologia 265: 45-71.
Gendron L (1991) Gestion de l’exploitation du buccin Buccinum undatum au Quebec : determination d’une taille minimal de capture. Rapp. Tech. can. Sci. halieut. Aquat. 1833, 47.
Hancock, DA (1967) Whelks. Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Laboratory Leaflet No. 15, Fisheries Laboratory, Brunhan of Crouch, Essex.
Hansson HG (1998) NEAT (North East Atlantic Taxa) database. Tjärnö Marine Biological Laboratory.
Heude-Berthelin, C, Hégron-Macé, L, Legrand, V, Jouaux, A, Adeline, B, Mathieu, M, Kellner, K (2011) Growth and reproduction of the common whelk Buccinum undatum in west Cotentin (Channel), France. Aquatic Living Resources. 24:317-327.
Himmelman JH, Hamel J-R (1993) Diet, behavior and reproduction of the whelk Buccinum undatum in the northern gulf of St. Lawrence, eastern Canada. Marine Biology. 116(3):423-430.
Lapointe V, Sainte-Marie B (1992) Currents, predators, and the aggregation of the gastropod Buccinum undatum around bait. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 85:245-257.
McIntyre R, Lawler A, Masefiled R (2015) Size of maturity of the common whelk, Buccinum undatum: Is the minimum landing size in England too low? Fisheries Research. 162:53-57.
Pálsson S, Magnúsdóttir H, Reynisdóttir S, Jónsson ZO, Örnólfsdóttir EB (2014) Divergence and molecular variation in common whelk Buccinum undatum (Gastropoda: Buccinidae) in Iceland: A trans-Atlantic comparison. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 111: 145-159.
Shelmerdine RL, Adamson J, Laurenson CH, Leslie B (2007) Size variation of the common whelk, Buccinum undatum, over large and small spatial scales: Potential implications for micro-management within the fishery. Fisheries Research. 86: 201-206.
Valentinsson, D, Sjodin F, Jonsson PR, Nilsson P, Wheatley C (1999) Appraisal of the potential for a future fishery on whelks (Buccinum undatum) in Swedish waters: CPUE and biological aspects. Fisheries Research. 42:215-227.
Weetman, D, Hauser, L, Bayes, MK, Ellis, JR, Shaw, PW (2006) Genetic population structure across a range of geographic scales in the commercially exploited marine gastropod Buccinum undatum. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 317: 157-169.
Włodarska-Kowalczuk, M (2007) Molluscs in Kongsfjorden (Spitsbergen, Svalbard): a species list and patterns of distribution and diversity. Polar research. 26: 48-63.
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