Fisheries and Resources Monitoring System

Witch flounder - Northeast Newfoundland Shelf and Northern Grand Bank
Marine Resource  Fact Sheet
Stocks management recommendations 2013
Witch flounder - Northeast Newfoundland Shelf and Northern Grand Bank
Fact Sheet Citation  
Witch flounder in Div. 2J3KL
Owned byNorthwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) – More
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FAO Names: en - Witch flounder, fr - Plie cynoglosse, es - Mendo, ru - Камбала длинная (красная) атлантическая
Geographic extent of Witch flounder - Northeast Newfoundland Shelf and Northern Grand Bank
Main Descriptors
Considered a single stock: Yes        Spatial Scale: Regional
Management unit: Yes        Reference year: 2012
Biological State and Trend
State & Trend Descriptors
Exploitation rateNon-Low Fishing MortalityNo or low fishing mortalityRed
Abundance levelDepleted Stock SizeDepleted

The stock remains below Blim. Recruitment in 2011 and 2012 was below average and fishing mortality is currently 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

A moratorium was implemented in 1995 following drastic declines in catch from the mid-70s, and catches since then have been low levels of bycatch in other fisheries (e.g. Greenland halibut and redfish fisheries).

Recent catch estimates and TACs are:
  2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
TAC ndf ndf ndf ndf ndf ndf ndf ndf ndf ndf
STATLANT 21 0.3 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.2 0.2  
STACFIS 0.8 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.2 0.2  

ndfno directed fishing.

Effects of the fishery on the ecosystem

There is no directed fishery.
Overall Assessment Results
Reference Point

Blim is 15% of the highest observed survey biomass, adjusted to the entire stock distribution (B1984*1.48) (STACFIS 2010 p 193).

Quantitative assessment of risk at various catch options is not possible at this time.
Assessment Model
Analytical assessment

Qualitative evaluation of trends in survey biomass indices relative to exploitation and recruitment information were used to assess the status of the stock. Next assessment is planned for 2016.

Human impact

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

Biological and environmental interactions

In the late 1970s and early 1980s witch flounder were widely distributed throughout the Div. 2J3KL shelf area in deeper channels around the fishing banks, and were more abundant in Div. 3K. By the mid-1980s they were rapidly disappearing and by the early 1990s had virtually disappeared from the area entirely except for some very small catches along the slope and more to the southern area. Since 1998, witch flounder have been found mostly along the deep continental slope area, in depths of 200-750m.

Fishing Mortality


Scientific Advice

Special comments

Management unit: Yes  Div. 3L only

Management Advice

Recommendation for 2014-2016

No directed fishery to allow for stock rebuilding. By-catches of witch flounder in other fisheries should be kept at the lowest possible level.
Management Objectives

No explicit management plan or management objectives are defined by Fisheries Commission. General convention objectives (GC Doc. 08/3) are applied. Advice is based on survey indices, catch trends and estimates of recruitment.

Stock definition for management purposes

The stock is widely distributed throughout the shelf area of Div. 2J3KL in deeper channels around the fishing banks, primarily in Div. 3K.
Source of information
SCR Doc. 13/39; SCS Doc. 13/07, 09, 13 Click to open
Report of the Meeting, 7-20 June, 2013 - SCS Doc. 13/17 Click to open
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