Language selection


Terms of Reference

Updated Science Advice on Status of American Eel and Elver Fisheries in Maritimes Region

Regional Peer Review - Maritimes Region

October 11-12, 2023

Dartmouth NS and virtual meeting

Chairperson: Kristana Worcester


The American Eel (Anguilla rostrata) fisheries in Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) Maritimes Region were last assessed in 2018 (DFO 2019; Bradford et al. 2022). At the time, spawner-per-recruit (SPR) analysis (ICES 2001; Chaput and Cairns 2011) was used to define mortality reference points for all directed fisheries and hydroelectric facilities. The assessment of mortality relative to reference points was limited to the Elver fishery because of a lack of information concerning large Eel harvest, biomass, and survival. The mortality rate that results in a 70% loss of spawning biomass relative to the population without losses from human activities (SPR30) was recommended as the limit mortality reference point for the Elver fishery. The East River-Chester (ERC) Elver recruitment index was recommended as the primary indicator of American Eel productivity in the Maritimes Region.

Since 2018, direct monitoring has been reduced in some years and not possible in other years, due to factors outside of the authorized fishery. This has led to increased uncertainty in the advice provided to DFO Maritimes Resource Management (RM) to support decisions on watershed-based harvest levels relative to the maximum acceptable fishing mortality rate. Given data deficiencies and uncertainties in annual estimates of elver recruitment and escapement at ERC for the last five years, there could be negative impacts to regional Eel productivity if directed and unreported elver harvesting continues at levels considered to be unsustainable. While DFO continues to review methods and data sources in support of the precautionary management of Maritimes Region American Eel and elver fisheries, RM has asked DFO Science to provide, to the extent possible, updated information on the status, trends, and distribution of large Eel and elver fisheries from 2017 to 2022.


The specific objectives for this Regional Peer Review process are:

Expected Publications

Expected Participation



Participation to CSAS peer review meetings is by invitation only.

Date modified: