Terms of Reference
Assessment of Softshell Clam stocks in Quebec coastal waters
Regional Peer Review – Quebec Region
February 9, 2023
Chairperson: Renald Belley
The softshell clam (Mya arenaria) is present along most of Quebec’s shoreline. Clam harvesting includes food, recreational and commercial harvesting. Recreational harvesting of softshell clams has been practised for a long time in Quebec without being well documented. Commercial harvesting is permitted on the Upper North Shore and the Magdalen Islands. Only hand tools are allowed and there is a minimum legal size. In addition, commercial activities on the Upper North Shore are regulated by the number of licences, a fishing season and a landing quota by shellfish harvest area. To obtain a licence, the individual must have a proof of residence. For recreational harvesting, the number of daily catches is regulated for all of Quebec. The fishing seasons are regulated by the Atlantic Fishery Regulations. At the request of the Fisheries Management Branch, resource assessment is done every three years. The last assessment of Quebec inshore waters Softshell clam was done in 2020. The objective of the review is to determine whether changes that have occurred in the stock status necessitate adjustments to management plans based on the conservation approach used.
Provide scientific advice on the stock status of softshell clam in Quebec’s inshore waters for the 2023-2025 fishing seasons. This advice shall include:
- Description of the species biology and its distribution in Quebec’s coastal waters;
- Description of the fishery including management measures by region;
- Analysis of landings and fishing effort by shellfish harvest areas;
- Analysis of catch per unit effort from the commercial fishery;
- Analysis of data from the commercial dockside sampling program;
- Identification and prioritization of research projects to be considered for the future;
- Perspectives for the 2023-2025 fishing seasons based on indicators derived from fishing and research activities.
- Science Advisory Report
- Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) (Science and Fisheries Management sectors)
- Fishing industry
- Provincial representatives
- Aboriginal communities/organizations
Participation to CSAS peer review meetings is by invitation only.
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