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DUFOUR, R., J.-P. DALLAIRE, 2003. Le crabe des neiges de l'estuaire et du nord du golfe du Saint-Laurent : état des populations de 1999 à 2001 ; Status of snow crab populations in the St. Lawrence Estuary and the Northern Gulf of St. Lawrence from 1999 to 2001. MPO, Secrétariat canadien de consultation scientifique, Document de recherche ; DFO, Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat, Research Document, 2003/048, 60 p .
This document reviews the status of the snow crab stocks in the estuary and northern Gulf of St. Lawrence from 1999 to 2001. It contains all biological and management information on snow crab that was used to produce the annual stock status reports for zones 13 to 17 for the above period. The last age class of the previous wave of recruitment was available to the fishery in 1994. Afterward, the less abundant age class groups caused a decrease in the commercial catch rates and exploitable biomass and an ageing of the population. The most recent wave of abundant age class groups (age classes 1988 - to 1992) began to recruit to the exploitable population in 1997 but its effect was not felt the same way in each of the areas. In the west (Area 17), the biomass strongly increased and the average size of the crabs caught decreased further to the arrival of the new recruitment. However, in the area 16, a decrease in growth and a premature terminal moult of a certain amount of the males was noticed so that the effect of the wave was not as pronounced as in Area 17. These effects would have been more marked in the eastern sectors (Areas 15 to 13), where the wave is not still perceptible in the fishery. Indeed, the recruitment in those areas is weak and does not allow an increase of the exploitable biomass. The difference in productivity combined with an intense exploitation in the east lead to a very critical situation and the conservation of the resource is compromised.
DUFOUR, R., J.-P. DALLAIRE, 1999. Le crabe des neiges de l'estuaire et du nord du golfe du Saint-Laurent : état des populations de 1995 à 1998. MPO, Secrétariat canadien pour l'évaluation des stocks, Document de recherche, 99/19, 46 p .
This document reviews the status of the snow crab stocks of the estuary and northern Gulf of St. Lawrence from 1995 to 1998. It contains all biological and management data on snow crab that was used to produce the annual stock status reports for snow crab in this territory for the above period. The years 1995 to 1998 were an important period in the evolution of snow crab stocks in the estuary and northern Gulf. Research carried out in the 1990s revealed that recruitment of these stocks varies over an intrinsic cycle of approximately eight years during which 3 year-classes of low abundance (recruitment low) follow 5 year-classes of moderate to high abundance (recruitment wave). Thus, a recruitment low composed of the 1985 to 1987 year-classes entered the fishery of 1995 to 1997 and was followed by the first year-class (1988) of the 1998-2002 recruitment wave. The fluctuations in recruitment, and thus in the commercial biomass of available crab, had significant repercussions on the fishery, specifically a decline in catches and yields. The impact of the recruitment low followed by an initial year of the next recruitment wave was not felt uniformly throughout the territory. The effects of the recruitment low of 1995 to 1997 (decline in yields, stabilization or decrease in size and aging of commercial crab) and the beginning of the recruitment wave in 1998 (stabilization or increase in yields and size of commercial crab and end of aging) were more apparent in the western part of the territory (Area 17 and west of Area 16) than in the eastern part (east of Area 16 and Areas 15 to 13). The fishery was gradually adjusted during this period and catches declined by 23% throughout the territory until 1997, before picking up again in 1998 in the western sectors of the territory. However, given the significant fishing effort and the lack of data, the status of snow crab populations in sectors further east appears to be more critical and is of particular concern to us. Further research and ongoing cooperation between the fishing communities of these sectors and DFO will be required in order to obtain the data needed to gain a clearer understanding of the present and future condition of these stocks.
GENDRON, L., J.-P. DALLAIRE, G. SAVARD, 1995. Lobster on the Québec coast (fishing areas 15 to 22). Pages 27-54 in L. Savard (ed.). Status report on invertebrates in 1994 : crustaceans and molluscs on the Québec coast, northern shrimp and zooplankton in the estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence. DFO (Can. Manuscr. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci., 2323) .
GENDRON, L., J.-P. DALLAIRE, G. SAVARD, 1995. Homard des côtes du Québec (zones de pêche 15 à 22). Pages 28-56 in L. Savard (éd.). Rapport sur l'état des invertébrés en 1994 : crustacés et mollusques des côtes du Québec, crevette nordique et zooplancton de l'estuaire et du golfe du Saint-Laurent. MPO (Rapp. manus. can. sci. halieut. aquat., 2323) .
Lobster landings in the Québec region have increased regularly during the last 20 years, reaching 3835 t in 1992. In 1993, landings decreased by 7 % from 1992, reaching 3552 t. In the Magdalen Islands, landings and abundance indices from at-sea- sampling and index-fishermen have all decreased relatively to 1992. Despite this decrease, the abundance level is still high, considering values for the last fifty years. Recruitment indices obtained from at-sea-sampling, i.e. prerecruit (67-75 mm CTL) CPUE were lower in 1993 compared to 1992, indicating the possibility of a decrease in landings for 1994. In the Gaspé, in 1993, landings showed a 10 % decrease from 1992. Abundance indices obtained from the index-fishermen program also decreased. CPUE from commercial at sea sampling showed a slight increase compared to 1992, in the middle and end of the fishing season. CPUE observed at the beginning of the season in 1992 and 1993 were lower compared to the average of the past 8 years. Colder springs in the last two years may have reduced catchability at the beginning of the season. The relationship between the abundance of prerecruits a given year and the landings the next year for the Gaspé is not as clear as what was observed in Magdalen Islands. Forecasting the trend of the landings for the next season is not possible. The recent increase in landings is generally attributed to an increase in the abundance of lobsters on the fishing grounds. Because the phenomenon was observed over the whole range of distribution of the species, it is believed that common environmental factors have favoured large-scale lobster recruitment. It is also believed that the increase in landings can be, to a certain extent, the result of an increase in some components of the fishing effort, which contributed namely to the exploitation of new grounds. Lobster populations are heavily exploited and landings a given year strongly depend on recruitment in that year. This dependance appears to be greater in the Gaspé. Research efforts are presently directed at forecasting the recruitment to the fishery one to four years in advance.
DALLAIRE, J.-P., 1993. État des principales pêcheries de homard du Québec, les Îles-de-la-Madeleine et la Gaspésie. MPO, Document de recherche sur les pêches dans l'Atlantique, 93/35, 29 p .
Lobster landings in Quebec have increased since 1973 in spite of a stabilisation in fishing effort. The increase is in the same order as the one obtained for all of Atlantic Canada. In the Magdalen Islands, catches per unit of effort (CPUE) taken from sea samplings in the middle of the season follows the same increasing pattern as the landings and indicate an increase in the exploitable stock. Exploitation rates are high but the yields are still going up. The north side of the island has lower landings and a lower exploitation rate but the commercial length are bigger and the CPUE are higher than those of the south side. In the Gaspé peninsula, landings have also risen but less rapidly than those of Magdalen Islands. Except for 1992, CPUE haven't followed the increase and are almost two times lower then those of the Magdalen Islands, even though the number of traps allowed per boat is lower. To increase the fishermen's yields and revenues, fishing pressure should be lessened.
GENDRON, L., J.-P. DALLAIRE, 1992. Effet de l'augmentation de la taille des casiers sur l'effort de pêche et le taux d'exploitation des stocks de homard Homarus americanus sur les côtes du Québec. CSCPCA doc. rech., 92/117, 22 p .
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