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Science Response 2014/027

Reference point options for the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence lobster stock (Lobster Fishing Areas 23, 24, 25, 26A, 26B)


The last assessment for the lobster stocks of the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence (sGSL) was completed in 2013 (DFO 2013c). The lobster fishery in this area is an input control fishery managed using measures that control effort and size of animals at harvest. Total allowable catches for the fishery or individual harvesters are not established. Reference points (RPs) have not been defined for this stock. During the recent stock assessment, it was indicated that the definition and application of RPs to the sGSL stock required further analyses and review.

RPs have been defined for lobster stocks in Lobster Fishing Area (LFA) 22 in the Quebec Region (DFO 2012a), and LFAs 27-38 of the Maritimes Region (DFO 2012b, DFO 2013a, 2013b; Tremblay et al. 2012). Since no biomass estimates for stock abundance were available, landings from a productive period were used as a stock status indicator and median or mean landing values corresponding to the productive period were used as a proxy to define maximum sustainable yield. The limit reference point, upper stock reference point, and the stock status zones (healthy, cautious, and critical) were defined in accordance with the DFO operational policy framework (DFO 2009). This science response report is the result of the Science Response Process of November 21, 2013. It describes options for RPs for the sGSL lobster stock, based on the method used in the Quebec and Maritimes Regions, and discusses alternatives to the approach currently used. Data collection requirements are also summarized.

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