Fisheries and Resources Monitoring System

Atlantic Cod - Flemish Cap
Marine Resource  Fact Sheet
Stocks management recommendations 2018
Atlantic Cod - Flemish Cap
Fact Sheet Citation  
Cod in Div. 3M
Owned byNorthwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) – More
Related observationsLocate in inventorydisplay tree map
FAO Names: en - Atlantic cod, fr - Morue de l'Atlantique, es - Bacalao del Atlántico, zh - 大西洋鳕, ru - Треска атлантическая
Geographic extent of Atlantic Cod - Flemish Cap
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 mortalityGreen
Abundance levelIntermediate Stock SizeIntermediate abundance
Habitat and Biology
Climatic zone: Temperate.   Bottom type: Unspecified.   Depth zone: Slope - Deepslope (500 m - 1000 m).   Horizontal distribution: Oceanic.   Vertical distribution: Demersal/Benthic.  

Geographical Distribution
Jurisdictional distribution: High Seas Purely

Water Area Overview
Spatial Scale: Regional

Geo References
Resource Structure
Considered a single stock: Yes

Cod is caught in directed trawl and longline fisheries and as bycatch in the directed redfish fishery by trawlers. The fishery is regulated by quota.

Recent catch estimates and TACs (000 t) are as follows:

Effects of the fishery on the ecosystem

No specific information available. General impacts of fishing gear on the ecosystem should be considered. A large area of Div. 3M has been closed to protect sponge, seapens and coral.
Overall Assessment Results
Reference Point
Blim: 20 000 t of spawning biomass (Scientific Council, 2018).
Flim = F30%SPR: 0.153 (Scientific Council, 2018)

Assessment Model
Analytical assessment

A new Bayesian SCAA model was used as the basis for the assessment of this stock for the first time. This model was approved during the 2018 3M cod benchmark. As a result of poor reliability of catch data prior to 1988, the assessment was conducted from 1988 to 2017.

The results of the Bayesian SCAA model have changed the perception of recent stock size compared to previous assessments. The level of M is higher than that in previous assessments; this may result in higher changes in stock abundance estimates from year to year and also in projections. Higher stock abundance is derived from the Bayesian SCAA, especially since 2010, which implies a higher level of SSB and a lower level of F. Recruitment is estimated at very low levels over the last years, which implies that the SSB is projected to decrease in the near future.

Timing of the next full assessment of this stock will be subject to the timelines of the ongoing MSE process.

Fishing Mortality



Human impact

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

Biological and environmental interactions

Redfish, shrimp and smaller cod are important prey items for cod. Recent studies indicate strong trophic interactions between these species in the Flemish Cap.
Management unit: Yes

Management Advice

Recommendation for 2019

Scientific Council notes that the strong year classes of 2009 to 2011 are dominant in the current SSB. Subsequent recruitments are much lower, therefore substantial declines in stock size are expected over the medium term under any option.

For 2019, SC recommends a catch of no more than 20 796 t (yield at ¾ Flim).

Catches above ¾ Flim increase the risk of being below Blim in the medium term.
Management Objectives

A management strategy evaluation process has been initiated for this stock by Commission and Scientific Council but is not yet been finalized. At this moment general convention objectives (NAFO/GC Doc 08/3) are applied.

Stock definition for management purposes

The cod stock in Flemish Cap (NAFO Div. 3M) is considered to be a separate population.
Source of information
NAFO SC Reports 2018.
Report of the Meeting, 01 - 14 June, 2018 - SCS Doc. 18/19.
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