Profile updated on 19 August 2016

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Gadus morhua

SPECIES NAME(s)

Atlantic cod


ANALYSIS

Strengths

Work is underway to determine stock rebuilding objectives. However, no formal recovery plan is known to have been established yet. Industry complies with set quotas

Weaknesses

Laurentian North cod (which includes NAFO Areas 3Pn, 4RS and 3Ps) has been designated as “Endangered” by COSEWIC in 2010. Stock is has been the critical zone, i.e. below the lower reference limit, in the last 23 years. Even in absence of fishing, the probabilities of stock growth are low. Exploitation ratesregarded as too high given the status of the stock (DFO, 2012a).While DFO and Cosewic claim closure of thedirected fishery, a significant targeted fishery still exists under the auspices of a “bycatch” in the fixed gear fishery. Mangers set quotas higher then scientific advice.

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

< 6

Managers Compliance:

< 6

Fishers Compliance:

10

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

0.8

Future Health:

< 6


RECOMMENDATIONS

CATCHERS & REGULATORS

1. Support the maintenance of current closures for recreational and commercial directed fisheries for cod and implement measures to reduce bycatch in other fisheries.
2. Implement an effective recovery plan for this stock.

RETAILERS & SUPPLY CHAIN

1. Encourage the Regional Director-General for the Gulf Region to maintain closures, reduce cod bycatch in other fisheries, and implement a recovery plan for this stock.
2. Encourage your supply chain to start a fishery improvement project. For advice on starting a FIP see SFP’s Seafood Industry Guide to FIPs at http://www.sustainablefish.org/publications/2014/04/30/the-seafood-industry-guide-to-fips.


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
N Gulf of St. Lawrence Canada 3Pn4SR Canada Gillnets and entangling nets
Longlines

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Last updated on 19 August 2016

Strengths

Work is underway to determine stock rebuilding objectives. However, no formal recovery plan is known to have been established yet. Industry complies with set quotas

Weaknesses

Laurentian North cod (which includes NAFO Areas 3Pn, 4RS and 3Ps) has been designated as “Endangered” by COSEWIC in 2010. Stock is has been the critical zone, i.e. below the lower reference limit, in the last 23 years. Even in absence of fishing, the probabilities of stock growth are low. Exploitation ratesregarded as too high given the status of the stock (DFO, 2012a).While DFO and Cosewic claim closure of thedirected fishery, a significant targeted fishery still exists under the auspices of a “bycatch” in the fixed gear fishery. Mangers set quotas higher then scientific advice.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 17 August 2016

Improvement Recommendations to Catchers & Regulators

1. Support the maintenance of current closures for recreational and commercial directed fisheries for cod and implement measures to reduce bycatch in other fisheries.
2. Implement an effective recovery plan for this stock.

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain

1. Encourage the Regional Director-General for the Gulf Region to maintain closures, reduce cod bycatch in other fisheries, and implement a recovery plan for this stock.
2. Encourage your supply chain to start a fishery improvement project. For advice on starting a FIP see SFP’s Seafood Industry Guide to FIPs at http://www.sustainablefish.org/publications/2014/04/30/the-seafood-industry-guide-to-fips.

1.STOCK STATUS

STOCK ASSESSMENT

Last updated on 19 August 2016

A sequential population analysis (SPA) is conducted every two years to estimate stock status. Uncertainties include historical catch rates related with migration and mixing with southern stocks, gear saturation for the sentinel fisheries, and undocumented recreational catch.Current reproductive potential survey shows a high degree of variability, probably related with insufficient sampling. Current survey coverage may overestimate maturity at age (DFO, 2012a). Lambert (2012) indicates a lower proportion of older fish since 2008. Stock projections of stock dynamics over 36 years using a demographic model indicate a very slow recovery of the spawning stock biomass (SSB) in the absence of fishing and an absence of rebuilding of the stock if the fishing mortality level observed in 2011 was maintained or increased (Lambert, 2012). An update of stock status indicators (DFO, 2014) indicate little change.

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Last updated on 19 August 2016

Uncertainty is not accounted for in the current advice. Given the poor stock condition, scientific advice for 2012 and 2013 is to close recreational and commercial direct fisheries for cod and implement measures to reduce bycatch in other fisheries (DFO, 2012a). Further advice (DFO, 2014) suggest that the stock is still well below it’s limit reference point, and that implementation of a precautionary approach should be a priority.

Reference Points

Last updated on 19 Aug 2016

Reference points for the northern Gulf of St Lawrence cod stock were updated in 2009, based on changes made on the weight at age vector, which is in use for the calculation of SSB. Updated reference points are as follows (Duplisea and Fréchet, 2011):

Limit reference point (Blim): 116,000 t

Upper stock reference point (USR): 180,000 t [estimated as “the lowest SSB where further increases in SSB did not produce markedly improved recruitment” (Duplisea and Fréchet, 2011)

CURRENT STATUS

Last updated on 19 August 2016

Spawning stock abundance was estimated at 20 million fish in 2012, it is estimated to remain substantially below the conservation limit reference points for this stock (116,000 tonnes). Exploitation rates have dropped to 9% in 2011 but the 1997-2011 exploitation rates are still regarded too high to allow for any rebuilding of the stock (DFO, 2012a). A recent update (DFO, 2014) indicates little change in stock staus from the full benchmark assessment.

Trends

Last updated on 19 Aug 2016

Population growth was estimated to be very low in recent years (3% annually, compared with 17% in the early 2000s), with a downward trend since 2008. Stock projections indicate that spawning stock biomass is not expected to reach the limit reference point in the next 36-years. Even in the absence of fishing, a very slow increase in spawning stock biomass is expected to occur. Exploitation rates have been decreasing since 2008, but the 1997-2011 exploitation levels are still regarded as too high given the poor condition of the stock (DFO, 2012a).A recent update (DFO, 2014) indicates little change in the stock trajectory from the full benchmark assessment.

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

Last updated on 19 August 2016

Managers have set quotas higher then advised in the past, and again for the 2012/ 2013 fishing season. Despite scientific advice of no direct fishery in 2012 and 2013 (DFO, 2012a), a 1,500 t TAC was set for the 2012/2013 fishing season (DFO, 2012b). For 2013/2014 season the set TAC is zero (DFO, 2013). However while DFO and Cosewic claim closure of thedirected fishery, a significant targeted fishery still exists under the auspices of a “bycatch” in the fixed gear fishery. The recreational fishery and it’s impacts are unaccounted for in the current scientific advice and in the management but the directed fishery has been closed as of 2013. According to DFO (2012d), work is underway to determine stock rebuilding objectives. However, no formal recovery plan is known to have been established yet. Managers do have some time area closures in place to protect spawning. Little progress has been made since that time.

Recovery Plans

Last updated on 19 Aug 2016

A Recovery Potential Assessment was conducted in 2011 to provide scientific advice and information, to support decisions on a future recovery plan (DFO, 2011b). The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is currently working on defining rebuilding objectives for the Laurentian North cod stocks(DFO, 2012d), but to date no formal recovery plan has been adopted for this stock.

COMPLIANCE

Last updated on 19 August 2016

Harvesters comply with set quotas, but quotas have not been met due to low abundance. IUU fishing impacts are unknown, but thought to be small for this fishery. Stock is part of a mixed groundfish fishery, so removals are incidental in nature and direct targeting of the stock is discouraged. Logbooks have been mandatory since 1997 for cod-directed commercial fishing boats under 35 feet (DFO, 2014).

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

Last updated on 19 August 2016

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), harbour 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.
As with other fisheries in this area management measures including; at-sea observation, gear modifications, closed areas and seasons, are in place to mitigate PET species interactions (DFO, 2006a & 2010a,b,c).

Canada
Gillnets and entangling nets

Last updated on 19 August 2016

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), harbour 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).

As with other fisheries in this area management measures including; at-sea observation, gear modifications, closed areas and seasons, are in place to mitigate PET species interactions (DFO, 2006a & 2010a,b,c).

Longlines

Last updated on 19 August 2016

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), harbour 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). Long lines can impact both marine mammals and seabirds but to a lesser extent when compared to gillnets and bottom trawls.


As with other fisheries in this area management measures including; at-sea observation, gear modifications, closed areas and seasons, are in place to mitigate PET species interactions (DFO, 2006a & 2010a,b,c).

Other Species

Last updated on 19 August 2016

Other fish caught as bycatch include Atlantic halibut, Greenland halibut, monkfish, redfish, skate, white hake, dogfish, Winter flounder, and others DFO, 2006 & 2010a,b,c), but it’s unclear if they are incidentally caught by the cod fishery as cod tends to be a bycatch/incidental caught species itself. Retained bycatch rates of Pollock, American plaice, haddock, sharks, Atlantic wolffish and greysole are and others are regulated. Overall bycatch is accounted for by at sea and dockside monitoring, with catch going against other regulated species quotas (DFO, 2006a & 2010a,b,c).

Canada
Gillnets and entangling nets

Last updated on 19 August 2016

Other fish caught as bycatch include Atlantic halibut, Greenland halibut, monkfish, redfish, skate, white hake, dogfish, Winter flounder, and others DFO, 2006 & 2010a,b,c), but it’s unclear if they are incidentally caught by the cod fishery as cod tends to be a bycatch/incidental caught species itself. Retained bycatch rates of Pollock, American plaice, haddock, sharks, Atlantic wolffish and greysole are and others are regulated. Overall bycatch is accounted for by at sea and dockside monitoring, with catch going against other regulated species quotas (DFO, 2006a & 2010a,b,c).

Longlines

Last updated on 19 August 2016

Other fish caught as bycatch include Atlantic halibut, Greenland halibut, monkfish, redfish, skate, white hake, dogfish, Winter flounder, and others DFO, 2006 & 2010a,b,c), but it’s unclear if they are incidentally caught by the cod fishery as cod tends to be a bycatch/incidental caught species itself. Retained bycatch rates of Pollock, American plaice, haddock, sharks, Atlantic wolffish and greysole are and others are regulated. Overall bycatch is accounted for by at sea and dockside monitoring, with catch going against other regulated species quotas (DFO, 2006a & 2010a,b,c).

HABITAT

Last updated on 19 August 2016

The impact of the fishing gears used in cod fisheries on the habitat is acknowledged as an issue due to be addressed. Overall habitat damage by trawl and glilnet gear can be high, while long-line and fixed gear fisheries have little impact.However as with other fisheries in this area, management measures including; gear modifications, closed areas and seasons, are in place to mitigate habitat impacts to sensitive areas(DFO, 2006a & 2010a,b,c).

Marine Reserves

Last updated on 19 Aug 2016

Closed areas and seasons in place to protect spawning stock (DFO, 2012a). 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 (DFO, 2006a & 2010a,b,c)

Canada
Gillnets and entangling nets

Last updated on 19 August 2016

The impact of the fishing gears used in cod fisheries on the habitat is acknowledged as an issue due to be addressed. Overall habitat damage bygillnet gear can be high particularly for sensitive corals and sponges.However as with other fisheries in this area, management measures including; gear modifications, closed areas and seasons, are in place to mitigate habitat impacts to sensitive areas(DFO, 2006a & 2010a,b,c).

Marine Reserves

Last updated on 19 Aug 2016

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 (DFO, 2006a & 2010a,b,c)

Longlines

Last updated on 19 August 2016

The impact of the fishing gears used in cod fisheries on the habitat is acknowledged as an issue due to be addressed. Overall habitat damage by long line fisheries is low to very low.As with other fisheries in this area, the long line fishery has management measures including; gear modifications, closed areas and seasons, in place to mitigate habitat impacts to sensitive areas if they occur(DFO, 2006a & 2010a,b,c).

Marine Reserves

Last updated on 19 Aug 2016

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 (DFO, 2006a & 2010a,b,c)

FishSource Scores

SELECT SCORES

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2014 data.

The score is < 6.

Spawning stock has been below the limit reference point in the last 23 years (DFO, 2012a) and, according to DFO (2012b), catches in recent years have not allowed a stock growth. In 2010, the Laurentian North cod (which includes NAFO Areas 3Pn, 4RS and 3Ps) has been designated as “Endangered” by COSEWIC and in response a recovery potential assessment was conducted by DFO (DFO, 2011b). Although work is assumed to be underway to determine stock rebuilding objectives (DFO, 2012c), no formal rebuilding plan is known to have been adopted yet.

As calculated for 2014 data.

The score is < 6.

While DFO and Cosewic claim closure of the directed fishery, a significant targeted fishery still exists under the auspices of a "bycatch" in the fixed gear fishery, as recreational catch, and as part of the sentinel fishery.

As calculated for 2013 data.

The score is 10.0.

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

The Catch is 1.24 ('000 t). The Set TAC is 1.50 ('000 t) .

The underlying Catch/Set TAC for this index is 82.6%.

STOCK HEALTH:

As calculated for 2010 data.

The score is 0.8.

This measures the SSB as a percentage of the SSB=SSBlim.

The SSB is 16.3 ('000 t). The SSB=SSBlim is 116 .

The underlying SSB/SSB=SSBlim for this index is 14.0%.

As calculated for 2014 data.

The score is < 6.

Although exploitation rates have decreased since 2008, they are still regarded as too high for rebuilding of the stock (DFO, 2012a). According to DFO (2012b): "None of the projections supports reaching the established limit reference point of 116 000 t."

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.

No related analysis

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. Baer, A., A. Donaldson & J. Carolsfeld, 2010. Impacts of Longline and Gillnet Fisheries on Aquatic Biodiversity and Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems. DFO Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat Research Document 2010/012.http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/CSAS/Csas/publications/resdocs-docrech/2010/2010_012_e.pdf
  2. DFO, 2006. Impacts of Trawl Gears and Scallop Dredges on Benthic Habitats, Populations and Communities. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Sci. Advis. Rep. 2006/025.http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/csas/Csas/status/2006/SAR-AS2006_025_E.pdf
  3. DFO, 2007a. Assessment of cod stock in the northern gulf of St. Lawrence (3Pn, 4RS) in 2006. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec., Sci. Advis. Rep. 2007/003.http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/csas/Csas/status/2007/SAR-AS2007_003_E.pdf
  4. DFO. 2007b. The status of cod in the Northern Gulf of St. Lawrence (3Pn, 4RS) in 2006. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec., Res. Doc. 2007/068.http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/CSAS/Csas/DocREC/2007/RES2007_068_B.pdf
  5. DFO. 2008. Assessment of cod stock in the northern Gulf of St. Lawrence (3Pn, 4RS) in 2007. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec., Sci. Advis. Rep. 2008/003.http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/CSAS/Csas/Publications/SAR-AS/2008/2008_003_e.htm
  6. DFO. 2009. Assessment of cod stock in the northern Gulf of St. Lawrence (3Pn, 4RS) in 2008. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec., Sci. Advis. Rep. 2009/010http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/CSAS/Csas/Publications/SAR-AS/2009/2009_010_e.pdf
  7. DFO. 2010a. Potential impacts of fishing gears (excluding mobile bottom-contacting gears) on marine habitats and communities. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Sci. Advis. Rep. 2010/003.http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/340622.pdf
  8. DFO. 2010. Assessment of cod stock in the northern Gulf of St. Lawrence (3Pn, 4RS) in 2009. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec., Sci. Advis. Rep. 2010/011http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/CSAS/Csas/Publications/SAR-AS/2010/2010_011_E.pdf
  9. DFO. 2010b Impacts of Fishing Gears other than Bottom Trawls, Dredges, Gillnets and Longlines on Aquatic Biodiversity and Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Sci. Advis. Rep. 2010/011.http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/340531.pdf
  10. DFO. 2010C Impacts of Longline and Gillnet Fisheries on Aquatic Biodiversity and Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Sci. Advis. Rep. 2010/012http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/340472.pdf
  11. DFO, 2011a. Management decisions. Atlantic Cod - Northern and Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. Accessed on 19 August 2011. http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/decisions/fm-2011-gp/atl-041-eng.htm
  12. DFO, 2011b. Recovery Potential Assessment for Laurentian North Designatable Units (3Pn,4RS and 3Ps) of Atlantic Cod (Gadus morhua). Sci. Advis. Rep. 2011/026 DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. 27 pp.http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Csas-sccs/publications/sar-as/2011/2011_026-eng.pdf
  13. DFO, 2012a. Assessment of the northern Gulf Of St. Lawrence (3pn, 4rs) cod stock in 2011. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Sci. Advis. Rep. 2012/005. 14 pp.http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/csas-sccs/Publications/SAR-AS/2012/2012_005-eng.pdf
  14. DFO, 2012b. Proceedings of the regional peer review meeting on the assessment of cod stock in the Northern Gulf of St. Lawrence (3Pn, 4RS). March 8th and 9th, 2012. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Proceed. Ser. 2012/013. 14 pp.http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/csas-sccs/Publications/Pro-Cr/2012/2012_013-bil.pdf
  15. DFO, 2012c. Management decisions: Atlantic Cod in the Northern and Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. Accessed on 12 August 2012.http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/decisions/fm-2012-gp/atl-028-eng.htm
  16. DFO, 2012d. Aquatic Species at Risk: Atlantic Cod - Laurentian North. Accessed on 12 August 2012.http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/species-especes/species-especes/atlanticcod-morue_laurentian-laurentienne-eng.htm
  17. DFO, 2012e. 2012 Canadian Atlantic Quota Report - Codhttp://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/stats/commercial/qr-rc/2012/cod-eng.htm
  18. DFO, 2013. Species Quota Report Newfoundland and Labrador Region Preliminary Data Last Data Update: Apr 04, 2013http://www.nfl.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/publications/reports_rapports/Cod_Morue_2013_eng.htm
  19. DFO. 2014. Update of indicators of the status of the northern Gulf of St. Lawrence (3Pn, 4RS) cod stock in 2013. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Sci. Resp. 2014/009.http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2014/mpo-dfo/Fs70-7-2014-9-eng.pdf
  20. Duplisea, D. and Fréchet, A. 2011. Updated reference point estimates for northern Gulf of St. Lawrence (3Pn4RS) cod (Gadus morhua) based on revised beginning of year weights at age. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Res. Doc. 2011/003.http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Csas-sccs/publications/resdocs-docrech/2011/2011_003-eng.pdf
  21. Fréchet, A., J. Gauthier, P. Schwab, Y. Lambert, A. Le Bris, C. Tournois, M. Way & F. Collier, 2009. The status of cod in the Northern Gulf of St. Lawrence (3Pn, 4RS) in 2008. Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat Research Document 2009/090.http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/CSAS/Csas/Publications/ResDocs-DocRech/2009/2009_090_B.pdf
  22. Fuller, S., C. Picco, J. Ford, C.-F. Tsao, L.E. Morgan, D. Hangaard & R. Chuenpagdee, 2008. How We Fish Matters: Addressing the Impacts of Canadian Fishing Gear. Ecology Action Centre, Living Oceans Society and Marine Conservation Biology
  23. 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
  24. SARA, 2012. Species Profile: Atlantic Cod Laurentian North population. Species at Risk Public Registry SARA) Website. Date last Modified: 27 July 2012.http://www.sararegistry.gc.ca/species/speciesDetails_e.cfm?sid=764
  25. 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&
References

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    Atlantic cod - N Gulf of St. Lawrence

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