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DFO science on northern shrimp out Friday

Fisheries and Oceans has scheduled a technical briefing for Friday (Feb. 25th) to release its science on northern shrimp for shrimp fishing areas (SFAs) 4,5, and 6 from northern Labrador to Newfoundland's northeast coast.

The province's inshore shrimp fleet (260 license holders) fishes mostly in SFA 6 from southern Labrador to the island's northeast coast, where the quota increased last year by 15% to 9,534 tonnes.

DFO science recorded an increase in the Area 6 spawning stock of 42% between 2020 and 2021, and harvesters expected a corresponding increase in quota to 11,800 tonnes last year.

Only the increase was capped at 15% — for a loss to fishermen of 2,260 tonnes (5 million/lbs).

The federal minister acknowledged that harvest rules for stocks in the critical zones do not limit increases in total allowable catch (TAC) to 15%, but she said there is such a 15% limit for the shrimp stock when it is in the cautious or healthy zone.

"Where the SFA 6 stock is in a critical state, it would not be prudent to implement a higher TAC increase than what is prescribed in the cautious or the healthy zone given our sustainability goals."

In short, that means that no matter how much the health of SFA 6 improves, any quota will increase be capped at 15%.

Keep in mind shrimp harvesters in SFA 6 have seen an 88% drop in quota between 2008 and 2021 — from 85,728 tonnes to 9,534 tonnes.

Here's to the health of SFA 6!

The following panel was taken from DFO's March 2021 technical briefing on northern shrimp.

Further north of SFA 6 are SFAs 4 and 5, which both saw increases in total allowable catch last year.

Ryan Cleary,

Executive Director,


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