Northern Shrimp Biomass in SFA 6 Continues at Critical Level

It looks as though the Northern shrimp fishery off Newfoundland’s northeast coast will soon be receiving another quota cut.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans held a technical briefing today regarding the 2018 Northern Shrimp Stock Assessment and as was the trend over the last decade, the news was not good — particularly in the beleaguered Shrimp Fishing Area (SFA) 6.

DFO scientists announced that in the all-important SFA 6, the fishable 2017 biomass has declined to 87,300 tonnes from 104,000 tonnes in 2016. In comparison, the 2006 biomass was 785,000 tonnes.

This continued decrease means SFA 6 biomass will stay within the critical zone — with a DFO recommended harvest or exploitation rate of only 10 per cent, with a possible TAC of 8,730 tonnes.

Last year, DFO announced a 63 per cent cut to the inshore northern shrimp quota in SFA 6 — meaning the total allowable catch for SFA 6 went from 48,196 tonnes in 2015 to 27,825 tonnes in 2016, to 10,400 tonnes for 2017.

That amounted to a 78 per cent quota reduction over two years.

DFO science also released the biomass totals for SFA 4 and 5 — results far more encouraging than in area 6.

In SFA 5, the fishable biomass has incrased by 31 per cent, to 140,000 tonnes in 2017, up from 110,000 tonnes in 2016.

However, in the more northerly SFA 4, the 2017 fishable biomass was down 13 per cent to 82,700 tonnes form the 2016 total of 95,300 tonnes.

DFO said that 19.4 per cent of the 2017 biomass was taken in SFA 4 and 20.6 per cent in SFA 5.

Fisheries management will be holding the Northern Shrimp Advisory meeting on March 7, 2018. DFO science advice is presented and discussed with industry stakeholders and indigenous groups at this meeting.The stock assessment advice, along with recommendations from DFO Fisheries Management and input from industry will be considered by the Minister in developing future Total Allowable Catch (TAC) and other management actions.

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