NAFO Sci. Coun. Studies, 12:27-36
Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans, Biological Sciences Branch
Bedford Institute of Oceanography, P. O. Box 1006, Dartmouth, N. S., Canada B2Y 4A2
Seasonal closures of haddock spawning areas in Div. 4X and Subarea 5 of the Northwest Atlantic were instituted by the International Commission for the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries (ICNAF) for 1970 and subsequent years, and these have been retained by both Canada and USA after extensions of jurisdiction. The ostensible reason for initiating these closures was because they encompassed the spawning area and season, spawning area closures being one of a limited set of regulatory measures available under the ICNAF Convention in 1969. The objectives were to reduce catches during this period and supplement total catch limitations by spreading catches throughout the year; this was a reasonable expectation as the closures corresponded to areas and times of peak commercial catch rates. There is no basis upon which to judge whether or not spawning closures have intrinsic biological value, e.g. through improving recruitment. Nonetheless. this appears to be the basis for fishermen's support of these measure Despite numerous changes made to the closures, those in effect now are not greatly different than those first instituted. Areas off Cape Cod and on Browns Bank are slightly smaller, but closed seasons are one or two months longer than in 1970. Attempts to institute a spawning closure for Div. 4W haddock failed.