Profile updated on 26 January 2017

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Gadus morhua

SPECIES NAME(s)

Atlantic cod


ANALYSIS

Strengths

Stock assessment uses well researched methodologies that have been in use for a number of years.
Indices and commercial CPUE compare well with scientific analysis. Managers have closed directed fishing to this stock since 2009, to assist in rebuilding.

Weaknesses

Assessment has a slight retrospective pattern that underestimates stock size and over estimates fishing mortality. Stock remains highly depleted and without signs of recovery in the near future. Decreased stock productivity likely the result of increased natural mortality.
Managers have only been following scientific advice since 2008. Recently, a targeted removal program of grey seals in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence was proposed as an additional measure to allow cod stock rebuilt. However, the effects of such removal program in the ecosystem are insufficiently known.

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

< 6

Managers Compliance:

10

Fishers Compliance:

10

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

3

Future Health:

< 6


RECOMMENDATIONS

CATCHERS & REGULATORS

1. Maintain the directed fishery closure until sufficient recovery is seen.
2. Continue investigations into causes for increased natural mortality. Suggest more research on the ecosystem effects of a possible removal program of grey seals, before such program is implemented.
3. Adopt an ecosystem based fisheries management approach.

RETAILERS & SUPPLY CHAIN

1. Companies sourcing from the stock should contact the national administration and request that an ecosystem based fisheries management approach is adopted.
2. Companies not currently sourcing should avoid doing so until sufficient recovery is seen in the stock. Companies should also encourage national administration to adopt an ecosytem based fisheries management approach to support long-term recovery of the stock.


FIPS

No related FIPs

CERTIFICATIONS

No related MSC fisheries

Fisheries

Within FishSource, the term "fishery" is used to indicate each unique combination of a flag country with a fishing gear, operating within a particular management unit, upon a resource. That resource may have a known biological stock structure and/or may be assessed at another level for practical or jurisdictional reasons. A fishery is the finest scale of resolution captured in FishSource profiles, as it is generally the scale at which sustainability can most fairly and practically be evaluated.

ASSESSMENT UNIT MANAGEMENT UNIT FLAG COUNTRY FISHING GEAR
S Gulf of St. Lawrence Gulf of St. Lawrence S. Canada Bottom-set longlines
Bottom trawls
Gillnets and entangling nets

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Last updated on 5 August 2014

Strengths

Stock assessment uses well researched methodologies that have been in use for a number of years.
Indices and commercial CPUE compare well with scientific analysis. Managers have closed directed fishing to this stock since 2009, to assist in rebuilding.

Weaknesses

Assessment has a slight retrospective pattern that underestimates stock size and over estimates fishing mortality. Stock remains highly depleted and without signs of recovery in the near future. Decreased stock productivity likely the result of increased natural mortality.
Managers have only been following scientific advice since 2008. Recently, a targeted removal program of grey seals in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence was proposed as an additional measure to allow cod stock rebuilt. However, the effects of such removal program in the ecosystem are insufficiently known.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 28 June 2016

Improvement Recommendations to Catchers & Regulators

1. Maintain the directed fishery closure until sufficient recovery is seen.
2. Continue investigations into causes for increased natural mortality. Suggest more research on the ecosystem effects of a possible removal program of grey seals, before such program is implemented.
3. Adopt an ecosystem based fisheries management approach.

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain

1. Companies sourcing from the stock should contact the national administration and request that an ecosystem based fisheries management approach is adopted.
2. Companies not currently sourcing should avoid doing so until sufficient recovery is seen in the stock. Companies should also encourage national administration to adopt an ecosytem based fisheries management approach to support long-term recovery of the stock.

1.STOCK STATUS

STOCK ASSESSMENT

Last updated on 5 August 2014

Stock assessment utilizes a standard methodology called a virtual population analysis (VPA). Assessment has a very small retrospective pattern that underestimates SSB and over estimates F in the terminal year. Assessment indicates the productive hampered by increases in natural mortality (Swain, 2012a)

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Last updated on 5 August 2014

Despite recent adherence to scientific advice, stock continues to decline. This decline is thought to be mainly the result of increased natural mortality given recent low exploitation rates (Swain, 2012a). Recent research has suggested that grey seal predation is one of the main factors of the increased natural mortality of cod. As a result, scientists have recommended that the only remaining action to allow stock recovery would be to reduce natural mortality on adult cod (Swain et al., 2012).

Reference Points

Last updated on 05 Aug 2014

The biomass limit reference point (Blim) was set at 80 thousands tonnes; other reference points have been defined as well (Rivard & Rice, 2002):

RK50 = 64,000 tonnes.
BH50 = 70,000 tonnes.
Np50 = 77,000 tonnes.
Sb50/90 = 70,000 tonnes.
Brecovery = 77,000 tonnes.

Given the closesess of these estimates the biomass limit is a reasonable approximation (Swain et al, 2012).

Fishing mortality reference points are not used for this fishery (Swain, 2012).

CURRENT STATUS

Last updated on 5 August 2014

The cod stock of the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence has not recovered since it collapsed in the early 1990s, and in 2010 the Laurentian south cod (which includes management units 4T, 4Vn and 4VsW) has been designated as “Endangered” by COSEWIC (COSEWIC, 2010). The spawning stock biomass at the beginning of 2010 was at its lowest levels and estimated at 49% of the limit reference point for this stock. Fishing mortality is at very low levels, and was estimated at 0.014 as a result of the directed fishing closure (Swain et al., 2012).

Trends

Last updated on 05 Aug 2014

Stock is anticipated to continue to decline given poor year class strength, lower recruitment, increased natural mortality, and overall low production (Swain et al., 2012).

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

Last updated on 5 August 2014

As recently as 2008 managers have set quotas in excess of scientific recommendations.In recent years scientific advice has been followed however, and since 2009 the directed fishing is closed. As in previous years, in 2013 and 2014 there will be no directed commercial fishery for southern Gulf Cod (4TVn). A 300 tonnes allocation is to cover bycatch of cod in other fisheries, scientific activities, and other non-commercial purposes (DFO, 2013).

As a result of recent research suggesting grey seal predation as one of the main factors of the increased natural mortality of cod Swain et al., 2012), the Senate’s fisheries committee has proposed a targeted removal program of grey seals in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence, in order to allow cod stock rebuilt (SFOC, 2012). The effects of such removal program in the ecosystem are not sufficiently known, however.

Recovery Plans

Last updated on 05 Aug 2014

A recovery plan is not in place given the decoupling between exploitation and stock growth. Directed fishing has been closed until the stock is rebuilt to Blim, but some removals as bycatch are occurring. Recently, a targeted removal program of grey seals in the Gulf of St. Lawrence has been proposed as an additional measure to assist cod stock rebuilt (SFOC, 2012) but has not been carried out.

COMPLIANCE

Last updated on 5 August 2014

Managers and harvesters have recently been following the scientific advice.Unregulated fishing and bycatch removals are thought to be low. Unlike other adjacent areas, there is no mention of recreational fishing and it’s impacts.

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

Last updated on 5 August 2014

Note Because the directed fishery for Cod is closed evaluation is on principle fisheries which catch Cod as bycatch.
Marine mammals listed as at risk in the region by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) are: blue whale (endangered), grey whale (extirpated), harbor porpoise (of special concern), north Atlantic right whale (endangered) and Sowery’s beaked whale (of special concern. Of these, harbor porpoise is the most susceptible to become caught in fishing nets and is recorded as bycatch in gillnets, with efforts having been made to reduce impacts by this fishery (SARA, 2014).Bottom trawl may have some impact on Sea turtles and other fish, while long lines can impact both marine mammals and seabirds.

Interactions with Protected marine mammals, birds, and turtles are rare but do sometimes occur. Gillnets can have significant interactions with some dolphin species. Overall risk is low however given the low effort (Cascorbi & Stevenes, 2010)

Other Species

Last updated on 5 August 2014

Note Because the directed fishery for Cod is closed evaluation is on principle fisheries which catch Cod as bycatch.

Bycatch of species other then cod can be high in trawl fisheries to low for longline fisheries with gillnets in the middle of this range (Cascorbi & Stevenes, 2010). However given that effort in this area is low, little impact is expected.

HABITAT

Last updated on 5 August 2014

Note Because the directed fishery for Cod is closed evaluation is on principle fisheries which catch Cod as bycatch.

Trawling can have significant and severe impacts on bottom structure if deployed in sensitive habitats.Longlines and gill nets have low habitat impact overall but can impact some deep water coral communities(Cascorbi & Stevenes, 2010).

Marine Reserves

Last updated on 05 Aug 2014

Note Because the directed fishery for Cod is closed evaluation is on principle fisheries which catch Cod as bycatch.

A series of MPA’s exists in this region (Marine Protected Areas). Additionally managers utilize area closures by specific gear types and seasons to limit bycatch, reduce effort, and mitigate habitat impacts.

FishSource Scores

SELECT SCORES

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2014 data.

The score is < 6.

The stock biomass has been below Blim since 2002 and is currently at very low levels (Swain 2012). Although work is assumed to be underway to determine stock rebuilding objectives, and the directed fishery is closed since 2009 (DFO, 2012), no formal rebuilding plan is known to have been formally adopted yet.

As calculated for 2014 data.

The score is 10.0.

This measures the Set TAC as a percentage of the Advised TACC.

The Set TAC is 0.300 ('000 t). The Advised TACC is 0.300 ('000 t) .

The underlying Set TAC/Advised TACC for this index is 100%.

As calculated for 2013 data.

The score is 10.0.

This measures the Catch as a percentage of the Set TAC.

The Catch is 0.0740 ('000 t). The Set TAC is 0.300 ('000 t) .

The underlying Catch/Set TAC for this index is 24.7%.

STOCK HEALTH:

As calculated for 2010 data.

The score is 3.0.

This measures the SSB as a percentage of the Blim.

The SSB is 39.5 ('000 t). The Blim is 80.0 ('000 t) .

The underlying SSB/Blim for this index is 49.4%.

As calculated for 2014 data.

The score is < 6.

a change in productivity is not seen, the population is expected to keep declining even with no or low fishery removals (Swain et al, 2012).

To see data for biomass, please view this site on a desktop.
To see data for catch and tac, please view this site on a desktop.
To see data for fishing mortality, please view this site on a desktop.
No data available for recruitment
No data available for recruitment
To see data for management quality, please view this site on a desktop.
To see data for stock status, please view this site on a desktop.
DATA NOTES
Notes: 1) There is no Bmsy or equivalent (e.g., B40%) adopted for this fishery (Blim is currently set at 80,000t), nor target fishing mortality. 2) DFO (2013) indicates there will be no directed commercial fishery for southern Gulf Cod (4TVn) in 2013 and 2014. A 300 tonnes allocation is to cover bycatch of cod in other fisheries, scientific activities, and other non-commercial purposes. 3) Quota and landings are on shown on the fishing rather then the calendar year and are preliminary in the most recent year.

Download Source Data

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Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

No related FIPs

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

No related MSC certifications

Sources

Credits
  1. Cascorbi, A. & Stevens, M. 2010. Atlantic Cod Gadus morhua .Monterey Bay Aquarium. http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/cr_seafoodwatch/content/media/MBA_SeafoodWatch_AtlanticCodReport.pdf
  2. COSEWIC, 2010. COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Atlantic cod Gadus morhua in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Otawa. Xiii + 105 pp.http://www.sararegistry.gc.ca/species/speciesDetails_e.cfm?sid=1108
  3. DFO. 2003. Cod in the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. DFO Science Stock Status Report 2003/016.http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/csas/Csas/status/2003/SSR2003_016_E.pdf
  4. DFO. 2007. Assessment of the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence cod stock, March 2007. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Res. Doc. 2007/033.http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/csas/Csas/DocREC/2007/RES2007_033_b.pdf
  5. DFO. 2008. Assessment of Cod in the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Sci. Advis. Rep. 2008/004.http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/CSAS/Csas/Publications/SAR-AS/2008/SAR-AS2008_004_E.pdf
  6. DFO. 2009. Assessment of Cod in the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Sci. Advis. Rep. 2009/007http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/CSAS/Csas/Publications/SAR-S/2009/2009_007_e.pdf
  7. DFO, 2011. Atlantic Cod - Northern and Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. Assessed at 19 August 2011. http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/decisions/fm-2011-gp/atl-041-eng.htm
  8. DFO. 2012. Atlantic Cod in the Northern and Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, May 22, 2012. Accessed on August 15, 2012. http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/decisions/fm-2012-gp/atl-028-eng.htm
  9. DFO, 2013. Notice to Harvesters: 2013 and 2014 Northern and Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence cod Total Allowable Catch. Fisheries & Oceans Canada (DFO). EKME 2813220. May 14, 2013. Québec City. 1 p.http://www.peifa.org/userfiles/Notice_to_Fish_Harvesters_COD_2013_E.pdf
  10. Rivard, D., and Rice, J. 2002. National workshop on reference points for gadoids, Ottawa, November 5-8, 2002. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Proceed. Ser. 2002/033.http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/csas/Csas/proceedings/2002/PRO2002_033e.pdf
  11. SARA (Government of Canada), 2014 Species at Risk Public Registry. Accessed:July 2014. http://www.sararegistry.gc.ca/sar/index/default_e.cfm?stype=species&lng=e&index=1&common=&scientific=&population=&taxid=5&locid=0&desid=0&schid=0&desid2=0&
  12. SFOC, 2012. The sustainable management of grey seal populations: A path toward the recovery of cod and other groundfish stocks. Report of the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans (SFOC). October 2012. 42 pp.http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/SEN/Committee/411/pofo/rep/rep07oct12-e.pdf
  13. Swain, D.P. 2012a. Revised population model for Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Res. Doc. 2012/034. iii + 39 p.http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Csas-sccs/publications/resdocs-docrech/2012/2012_034-eng.pdf
  14. Swain, D.P., Savoie, L. and Aubry, É., 2012. Recovery Potential Assessment for the Laurentian South designatable unit of Atlantic Cod (Gadus morhua): the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence cod stock (NAFO Div. 4T-4Vn(Nov-Apr)). DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Res. Doc. 2012/052. iii + 51 pp.http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Csas-sccs/publications/resdocs-docrech/2012/2012_052-eng.pdf
  15. Swain, D.P., Savoie, L., Hurlbut, T., Surette, T. and Daigle, D. 2009. Assessment of the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence cod stock, February 2009. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Res. Doc. 2009/037http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/CSAS/Csas/Publications/ResDocs-DocRech/2009/2009_037_B.pdf
References

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