Research Document - 2009/090

The status of cod in the Northern Gulf of St. Lawrence (3Pn, 4RS) in 2008

By A. Fréchet, J. Gauthier, P. Schwab, Y. Lambert, A. Le Bris, C. Tournois, M. Way, and F. Collier


The commercial landings for the Northern Gulf of St. Lawrence (3Pn, 4RS) reached a maximum of 106,000 tons in 1983 while the spawning biomass reached a maximum of 351,000 tons in 1983. The stock was reduced to a historic minimum mature biomass of 8,000 tons in 1994. The stock was under moratorium from 1994 to 1996 which allowed for a modest improvement of the mature biomass which was at 26,000 tons at the reopening of the commercial fishery in 1997. Since 1997, the commercial fishery has been conducted by fixed gears only (longlines, gillnets and handlines). Despite the low fishing effort and a second moratorium in 2003, the mature biomass of this stock remains low at only 32,000 t in 2009. The stock has thus increased from 1994 to 1996 but since then has remained stable because the fishery takes the total stock production. The limit reference point was recalculated at 140,000 t of spawning stock biomass.

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