Fisheries and Resources Monitoring System

Squid - Scotian Shelf, Grand Bank
Fact Sheet Title  Fact Sheet
Stocks management recommendations 2013
Squid - Scotian Shelf, Grand Bank
Fact Sheet Citation  
Squid Illex in Subareas 3 and 4
Owned byNorthwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) – ownership
ident Blockident Blockdisplay tree map
Species List:
Species Ref: en - Northern shortfin squid, fr - Encornet rouge nordique, es - Pota norteña, ru - Иллекс американский
ident Block Squid - Scotian Shelf, Grand Bank
Aq Res
Biological Stock: No         Value: Regional
Management unit: Yes        Reference year: 2012
Aq Res State Trend
Aq Res State Trend
Aq Res State Trend Aq Res State Trend
Aq Res State TrendNone-Low Fishing MortalityNo or low fishing mortalityGreen
Aq Res State TrendSmall Stock SizeLow abundance

During 2012, the northern stock component remained in a state of low productivity and fishing mortality indices were at the lowest levels in the time series.
Habitat Bio
Climatic Zone: Temperate.   Bottom Type: Unspecified.   Depth Zone: Slope - Deepslope (500 m - 1000 m).   Horizontal Dist: Neritic; Oceanic.   Vertical Dist: Demersal/Benthic.  

Geo Dist
Geo Dist: Straddling between High Seas and EEZ

Water Area Overview
Spatial Scale: Regional

Water Area Overview
Aq Res Struct
Biological Stock: No

Prior to the mid-1980s, international bottom trawl and midwater trawl fleets participated in directed fisheries in Subareas 3, 4 and 5+6. Since 1999, there has been no directed fishery in Subarea 4, but some squid is taken as bycatch in the Canadian small-mesh bottom trawl fishery for silver hake. Directed fisheries currently consist of a Canadian inshore jig fishery in Subarea 3 and a small mesh bottom trawl fishery in Subareas 5+6. There is no bycatch in the jig fishery. The fishery is regulated by a quota.

Recent catch and TACs are:
  2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
TAC 34 34 34 34 34 34 34 34 34 34
STATLANT 21 2.6 0.6 7.0 0.2 0.5 0.7 0.1 0.1 <0.1  
STACFIS 2.6 0.6 7.0 0.2 0.5 0.7 0.1 0.1 <0.1  

Effects of the fishery on the ecosystem

The effects of the directed fisheries on the ecosystem are unknown, but are limited to specific seasons as a result of the species’ migration patterns on and off the continental shelves.
Bio Assess
Ref Point

Conventional reference points are inappropriate for squid stocks because of their unique life history. Two references, “high-” or “low productivity” states are defined by trends in stock biomass and mean body weight (STACFIS 2013). Low productivity periods have an estimated potential annual yield of 19 000 t to 34 000 t. The potential yields of a high productivity state have not been determined.

Projections were not possible because recruitment is highly variable and cannot currently be predicted.
Assess Models
Analytical assessment

The assessment consisted of a comparison of average survey biomass indices and mean body weights, during high (1976 – 1981) and low (1982 – 2011) productivity periods, with the values of these indices during the most recent year. Fishing mortality indices were used to assess exploitation. Uncertainty in the assessment is high because recruitment, occurrence of the species in the survey area, and growth rates are highly variable and greatly influenced by oceanographic conditions. Assessment data were from research surveys and the catches (STACFIS Report 2013). The next assessment is planned for 2016.

Human impact

Fishery related mortality in SA 3+4 is currently low. Other sources (e.g. pollution, shipping, oil-industry) are undocumented.

Biological and environmental interactions

This species is annual semelparous (spawns once during the year then dies). A sufficient numbers of spawners must survive the fishery (spawner escapement) each year in order to ensure a high probability of successful recruitment during the subsequent year and sustain the stock. Ocean climate effects have a strong influence on the distribution, growth rates, and recruitment. This species is both an important prey and predator in the ecosystem. It is consumed by a wide range of cetacean, pinniped, avian, invertebrate, and finfish predators and the natural mortality is very high. Small Northern shortfin squid prey primarily upon crustaceans and larger squid prey primarily upon finfish, and during the autumn, on smaller shortfin squid.

Fishing Mortality


Body Size
Sci Advice

Special comments

The assessment of this annual northern stock component may not reflect stock conditions during the years for which management advice is given because the most recent year of data used in the assessment is always for two years prior. Fishery removals in relation to the biomass levels of each stock component affect one another. The southern stock component is managed by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council.
Management unit: Yes


Recommendation for 2014-2016

During 2012, the northern stock component remained in a state of low productivity. Therefore, Scientific Council recommends a TAC of no more than 34 000 t/yr.

No explicit management plan or management objectives defined by Fisheries Commission. General Convention objectives (GC Doc. 08/3) are applied.

Stock definition for management purposes

The species is assumed to constitute a single stock throughout its range in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean, from Newfoundland to Florida, including Subareas 2-6, but is managed as northern (Subareas 3+4) and southern stock components (Subareas 5+6).
SCR Doc. 98/59, 75; 99/66; 06/45; 13/31 Click to open
Report of the Meeting, 7-20 June, 2013 - SCS Doc. 13/17 Click to open
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