Northern shrimp (Pandalus borealis
) is found in the Northwest Atlantic from Baffin Bay to the Gulf of Maine, with the highest population abundances occurring in water temperatures of 0-4?C and most frequently at depths of 150-600 m over soft muddy substrates. This species can reach a maximum total length of 120 mm for males and 165 mm for females; and is a protandric hermaphrodite, maturing first as a male but changing sex at an age of around 3 to 7 years old and completing the remainder of their live cycle as a female. Shrimp spawn from late summer to autumn, and females carry their eggs until spring when the larvae hatch. Some females may survive to repeat the spawning process in succeeding years. Natural mortality seems to be most pronounced immediately following hatching, and most shrimp do not live past age 5. Newly hatched shrimp spend three to four months as pelagic larvae, and at the end of this period they move to deeper waters and take up the life cycle of adults (Skúladóttir, 1998; Idoine, 2006; Aschan et al., 2011; DFO, 2013).
The offshore fleet fishing in shrimp fishing area (SFA) 2 is comprised of 13 large factory freezer trawlers operating from ports in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, Canada. Vessels in the present fleet are 49 to 75 m in length, purpose built for shrimp trawling and processing, but able to fish and process groundfish if required. The fishing season in all shrimp fishing areas (SFAs 2 to 6) runs from April 1st
to March 31st
of each year. The offshore fleet tend to fish all year round, starting in SFAs 5 and 6, then moving north up to SFA 2 when ice conditions and quotas allow (Aschan et al., 2011).
Since 1994, the majority of catches of northern shrimp in SFA 2 have originated from southeast of Resolution Island and east of the Nunavut and Nunavik land claim borders (SFA 2CM). Total catches from the directed and bycatch fisheries varied without trend at around 6 000 tonnes between 1997/98 and 2009/10. Followed by an increase in catches between 2010/11 and 2013/14 (6 000-8 000 tonnes) mainly due to increased fishing effort in SFA 2EX (east of 63?W). The status of the stock is considered healthy by the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans with female spawning stock biomass remaining well within the healthy zone of the integrated fisheries management plan precautionary framework. Management of this stock is by a total allowable catch (TAC) for northern shrimp in SFA 2. The TAC for 2013/14 was 9 767 tonnes, but the demersal otter trawl fleet have not fully taken the TAC since 1998 (DFO 2013, 2014).
Figure 1. Location of the SFA 2 (SFA 2CM + SFA 2EX) and adjacent SFAs in respect to stock assessment zones off east Canada (Western - WZA and Eastern - EZA) and Resolution Island Survey Area (RISA). Borders between SFAs are shown in grey (right picture). Boundaries of the Nunavut, Nunavik and Nunatsiavut land claims are shown in red (DFO, 2013).
Aschan, M., Powles, H. and Angel, J. 2011. MSC Assessment Report for The Canadian Offshore Northern Shrimp (Pandalus borealis) Trawl Fishery - Shrimp Fishing Areas 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 Client: Canadian Association of Prawn Producers and the Northern Coalition Version: Stakeholder Comment Draft. 153 pp.
DFO. 2013. Assessment of Northern Shrimp (Pandalus borealis) and Striped Shrimp (Pandalus
montagui) in the eastern and western assessment zones (Shrimp Fishing Areas 2 and 3). DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Sci. Advis. Rep. 2013/031.
DFO. 2014. Update of stock status indicators for Northern Shrimp, Pandalus borealis, and
Striped Shrimp, Pandalus montagui, in the western and eastern assessment zones. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Sci. Resp. 2014/003.
Idoine, J. 2006. Northern shrimp. Status of Fishery Resources off the Northeastern US NEFSC - Resource Evaluation and Assessment Division. 13 pp. Available at: http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/sos/spsyn/iv/shrimp/
Skúladóttir, U. 1998. Size at sexual maturity of female Northern Shrimp (Pandalus borealis Krøyer) in the Denmark Strait 1985–93 and a comparison with the nearest Icelandic shrimp populations. J. Northw. Atl. Fish. Sci., 24: 27–37