Fisheries and Resources Monitoring System

Northern Prawn - Flemish Cap
Fact Sheet Title  Fact Sheet
Stocks management recommendations 2022
Northern Prawn - Flemish Cap
Fact Sheet Citation  
Northern Shrimp in Div. 3M
Owned byNorthwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) – ownership
ident Blockident Blockdisplay tree map
Species List:
Species Ref: en - Northern prawn, fr - Crevette nordique, es - Camarón norteño, ru - Креветка северная
ident Block Northern Prawn - Flemish Cap
Aq Res
Biological Stock: Yes         Value: Regional
Management unit: Yes        Reference year: 2021
Aq Res State Trend
Aq Res State Trend
Aq Res State Trend Aq Res State Trend
Aq Res State TrendNone-Low Fishing Mortality (fishing mortality may not be the main driver of biomass for Flemish Cap shrimp)No or low fishing mortalityGreen
Aq Res State TrendIntermediate Stock SizeIntermediate abundance

Since 2021 the biomass has been below Blim. The abundance at age 2 in 2021 and 2022 were the lowest of the historical series. Due to the low female survey biomass levels and weak recruitments, there are concerns that the stock will remain at low levels in the short term.
Habitat Bio
Climatic Zone: Temperate.   Bottom Type: Unspecified.   Depth Zone: Slope - Deepslope (500 m - 1000 m).   Horizontal Dist: Oceanic.   Vertical Dist: Demersal/Benthic.  

Geo Dist
Geo Dist: High Seas Purely

Water Area Overview
Spatial Scale: Regional

Water Area Overview
Aq Res Struct
Biological Stock: Yes

This fishery is effort-regulated. A moratorium was imposed in 2011. The fishery was reopened in 2020. Fishing effort and catches were very low in 2020 but increased in 2021. Due to the moratorium in 2022, catch and effort data is expected to be zero. Recent catches and agreed effort by the NAFO Commission were as follows:

Effects of the fishery on the ecosystem

The fishery was closed to directed fishing from 2011 to 2019, and in 2022.
Bio Assess
Ref Point

Scientific Council considers that a female survey biomass index of 15% of its maximum observed level (2564) provides a proxy for Blim (SCS Doc. 04/12). This corresponds to an index value of 2 564 t. A limit reference point for fishing mortality has not been defined.

Quantitative assessment of risk at various catch options is not possible for this stock at this time.
Assess Models
Analytical assessment

No analytical assessment is available. Evaluation of stock status is based upon fishery and research survey data.

The next assessment will take place prior to the NAFO Annual Meeting in September 2023.

Human impact

Mainly fishery related mortality and low bycatch in other fisheries. Other sources (e.g. pollution, shipping, oilindustry) are un-documented.

Biological and Environmental Interactions

Multispecies models (SCR Docs. 16/35, and 18/24), suggest that predation by cod and redfish, together with fishing, were the main factors driving the shrimp stock to the collapse after 2007.

Results of modelling suggest that, in unexploited conditions, cod and redfish would be expected to be a highly dominant component of the system, and high shrimp stock sizes like the ones observed in the 1998 – 2007 period would not be a stable feature in the Flemish Cap. It is uncertain whether this represents a causal relationship and/or covariance as a result of some environmental factor.

A 2018 summary of the state of the fish community in the Flemish Cap (3M) EPU indicated that this ecosystem has not experienced sustained reductions in overall productivity observed in other EPUs. With the exception of a short-lived increase in 2005-2009, total biomass has remained fairly stable over time despite the changes in individual stocks.

Fishing Mortality


Sci Advice

Special comments

In September 2019, the Commission asked the SC to advise on the possible sustainable management measures for northern shrimp in Div. 3M, including quota, fishing effort, periods or other technical measures. In its response, SC recommended that the management of 3M shrimp be converted from the existing “effort regulation” to “catch regulation” in line with all other stocks in the NAFO Regulatory Area. Full detail of the response is available in SCS Doc. 19-023.

SC notes that only about 17% of the allocated effort was used in 2021, but the advised catch for 2021 was slightly exceeded. If all fishing days were used, the catches advised by SC would be expected to be greatly exceeded.
Management unit: Yes



The indications of improved recruitment in 2020 did not result in an increase in stock biomass and the stock remains below Blim in 2022. To be consistent with the NAFO precautionary approach, Scientific Council advises that no directed fishery should occur in 2023.

No explicit management plan or management objectives have been defined by the Commission. Convention General Principles are applied. Advice is based on qualitative evaluation of biomass indices in relation to historic levels, and provided in the context of the precautionary approach framework (FC Doc. 04/18).

Stock definition for management purposes

The Northern Shrimp stock on Flemish Cap is considered to be a separate population.
Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) Scientific Council Documents SCR Doc. 16/35, 18/24, 22/052 and SCS Doc. 04/12, 19/023. Click to open
Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO). 2022. Report of the Scientific Council and STACFIS Shrimp Assessment Meeting, 12-16 September 2022. NAFO SCS Doc. 22/21. Click to open
Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO). 2008. Resolution on the Interpretation and Implementation of the Convention on the Future Multilateral Cooperation in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries. 30th Annual Meeting, September 2008. NAFO/GC Doc. 08/3. Click to open
Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO). 2004. NAFO Precautionary Approach Framework. Annual Meeting, September 2004. NAFO FC Doc. 04/18. Click to open
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