Fisheries and Resources Monitoring System

American Plaice - Grand Bank
Marine Resource  Fact Sheet
Stocks management recommendations 2018
American Plaice - Grand Bank
Fact Sheet Citation  
American plaice in Div. 3LNO
Owned byNorthwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) – More
Related observationsLocate in inventorydisplay tree map
FAO Names: en - Amer. plaice(=Long rough dab), fr - Balai(=Plie canadienne), es - Platija americana, ar - هوشع كندي, zh - 拟庸鲽, ru - Камбала-ерш
Geographic extent of American Plaice - Grand Bank
Main Descriptors
Considered a single stock: Yes        Spatial Scale: Regional
Management unit: Yes        Reference year: 2017
Biological State and Trend
State & Trend Descriptors
Exploitation rateNone-Low Fishing MortalityNo or low fishing mortalityRed
Abundance levelDepleted Stock SizeDepleted

The stock remains low compared to historic levels and is presently at 34% of the Blim level. Recruitment has been low since the late 1980s, but Canadian surveys indicate a large number of pre-recruits in Div. 3L in recent years. Current estimates of fishing mortality are very low.
Habitat and Biology
Climatic zone: Temperate.   Bottom type: Unspecified.   Depth zone: Slope - Deepslope (500 m - 1000 m).   Horizontal distribution: Neritic.   Vertical distribution: Demersal/Benthic.  

Geographical Distribution
Jurisdictional distribution: Straddling between High Seas and EEZ

Water Area Overview
Spatial Scale: Regional

Geo References
Resource Structure
Considered a single stock: Yes

The stock has been under moratorium since 1995. American plaice in recent years is caught as bycatch mainly in otter trawl fisheries of Yellowtail Flounder, skate, Greenland Halibut and redfish. In 2015 and 2016, STATLANT 21A data was used for Canadian fisheries and Daily Catch Records (DCR) for fisheries in the NRA. Catches for 2017 were obtained from CESAG estimates.

Recent catch estimates and TACs are:
  2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
TAC ndf ndf ndf ndf ndf ndf ndf ndf ndf ndf
STATLANT 21 1.8 1.5 1.2 1.3 2.2 1.4 1.1 1.7 1.2  
STACFIS 3.0 2.9 2.41 2.11 3.01 2.31 1.12 1.72 1.2  

ndf No directed fishing.

1 Catch was estimated using fishing effort ratio applied to 2010 STACFIS catch.

2 Catch was estimated using STATLANT 21 data for Canadian fisheries and Daily Catch Reports for fisheries in the NRA.

Effects of the fishery on the ecosystem

No specific information is available. There is no directed fishery for this stock. General impacts of fishing gears on the ecosystem should be considered. Areas within Divs. 3LNO have been closed to protect sponges and coral.
Overall Assessment Results
Reference Point

Blim: 50 000 t of spawning biomass (Scientific Council Report, 2003)

Bmsy: 242 000 t of spawning biomass (Scientific Council Report 2011)

Flim: 0.31 (Scientific Council Report, 2011)
  SSB(‘000 t) Yield (t)
  Median (90% CI)
  F = 0
2019 17.0 (14.6, 19.8) -
2020 18.0 (15.5, 21.0) -
2021 19.5 (16.6, 23.0) -
2022 21.1 (18.0, 25.3) -
  F2015-2017 = 0.08
2019 17.0 (14.7, 19.7) 1542
2020 16.7 (14.4, 19.5) 1538
2021 16.9 (14.5, 19.9) 1567
2022 17.2 (14.8, 20.7) 1594

Fishing Mortality Yield P(SSB<Blim) P(SSB2022>SSB2018)
  2019 2020 2021 2022 2019 2020 2021 2022  
F = 0 - - - - >99% >99% >99% >99% 99%
F2015-2017 = 0.08 1542 1538 1567 1594 >99% >99% >99% >99% 47%

Simulations were carried out to examine the trajectory of the stock under 2 scenarios of fishing mortality: F = 0 and F= F2015-2017 (0.08). SSB was projected to have a probability of >0.99 of being less than Blim by the start of 2022 under both fishing mortality scenarios. Under the F=0 scenario, there is a 99% probability that SSB in 2022 will be greater than in 2018, however this is reduced to 47% probability under F status-quo. Even very low levels of F are inhibiting growth of the stock.
Assessment Model
Analytical assessment

An analytical assessment using the ADAPTive framework tuned to the Canadian 3LNO spring, Canadian 3LNO autumn and the EU-Spain Div. 3NO survey.

Given the low potential for stock growth, the next full assessment is scheduled for 2021.

Fishing Mortality



Human impact

Mainly fishery related mortality. Other sources (e.g. pollution, shipping, oil-industry) are undocumented.

Biological and environmental interactions

Capelin and sandlance as well as other fish and invertebrates are important prey items for American plaice. There has been a decrease in age at 50% maturity over time, possibly brought about by some interaction between fishing pressure and environmental/ecosystem changes during that period. The Grand Bank (3LNO) EPU is currently experiencing low productivity conditions and biomass has declined across multiple trophic levels and stocks since 2014.
Scientific Advice

Special Comments
Management unit: Yes

Management Advice

Recommendation for 2019 - 2021
Management Objectives

In 2011 FC adopted an “Interim 3LNO American Plaice Conservation Plan and Rebuilding Strategy” (FC Doc. 11/21). There is a Harvest Control Rule (HCR) in place for this stock.

Stock definition for management purposes

The management unit is NAFO Divisions 3LNO. The stock is distributed throughout Div. 3LNO but historically most of the biomass was found in Div. 3L.
Source of information
Report of the Meeting, 1 - 14 June, 2018 - SCS Doc. 18/19.
FC Doc. 11/21.
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