CANADA : The state of the northern shrimp stock in key Shrimp Fishing Area 6, off the northeast coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, shows small signs of recovery this year, compared to the same time last year, according to data showed by the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO)
Although the shrimp stock remains listed in the critical zone, the fishable biomass (the weight of all shrimp larger than 17 mm) has increased by three per cent between 2017 and 2018, and there’s a 27 percent increase in spawning stock biomass (based on the weight of females) between 2017 and 2018.
The fishable biomass of northern shrimp has risen slightly in Shrimp Fishing Area 6, but has dropped dramatically in areas 4 and 5, reports CBC.
The DFO latest northern shrimp assessment shows a dramatic decrease in the offshore Labrador stock, with a slight increase for the inshore fishery in Newfoundland.
DFO revealed a 46 percent decrease in the fishable biomass between 2017 and 2018 in Shrimp Fishing Area 4, along Labrador's northernmost coast, to 42,100 tonnes.
South down Labrador's coast to Shrimp Fishing Area 5, the biomass has dropped 43 per cent, to 80,100 tonnes.
But in Shrimp Fishing Area 6, off Newfoundland and Labrador's southernmost coast, fishable biomass increased three per cent, to 89,600 tonnes.
Based on these results, DFO considers that Area 6 stock is still at critical levels, while the drop in areas 4 and 5 placed the stock's rating from "healthy" to "cautious."
"When it enters the cautious zone, our goal is to reduce the exploitation rates so that we stop the decline of the stock, and then once it's below the limit reference point, then it would be in the critical zone. So at this point management tries to keep exploitation at no higher than 10 per cent," said DFO scientist Katherine Skanes.
According to Fish Food and Allied Workers-Unifor (FFAW) president Keith Sullivan, DFO research suggests shrimp larvae mainly drift from north to south, and the quotas should reflect the connectivity between the fishing areas.
"Maybe there's more opportunities where we see an increase in Area 6 where the inshore harvesters are fishing, so we'll certainly look forward to those meetings that are coming up in the next few weeks," he explained.