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DFO Science Identifies Little Change with Northern Shrimp Biomass 

March 20, 2024

Today’s stock assessment update from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Science Department notified industry that the biomass for northern shrimp in area 6 has not changed between 2021 and 2023. The stock remains in the critical zone, however that reference point is based on a period when there were few predators in the area. 

For years the FFAW has argued that a Limit Reference Point for northern shrimp in SFA 6 should include consideration of shrimp biomass levels from the 1980s. FFAW continues to advocate for the inclusion of information from before the collapse of cod and before the explosion in shrimp biomass in the estimation of reference points for SFA6 shrimp.    

While it is difficult to estimate the relative biomass levels in the 1980s, it is clear that there were considerably fewer shrimp in the system prior to the reference period for this stock.  Data from catch rates, limited surveys, and predator stomach contents all clearly show that shrimp biomass levels increased from low levels in the 1980s. The upcoming framework assessment for northern shrimp should address and – ideally – resolve this issue.