Just a quick dogfish fishery news post for your Friday afternoon. NMFS has released the spiny dogfish quota for the 2012 fishing season, and as expected the quota has gone up. This year (starting May 1st) the dogfish quota will be set at 35.694 million lbs, with daily trip limits remaining the same as last year at 3,000 lbs. The rationale is that raising the quota while maintaining the status quo for daily trip limits will allow for a fishing season that doesn’t close as ridiculously quickly as last year’s. The agency’s scientists do caution that a dip in dogfish population is expected starting in 2014, because the dogfish reaching maturity then will be the offspring of the extreme low-recruitment years in the late 90s-early 2000s. If this increased quota manages to not crash the stock, it will bode well for the fishery’s bid (and very possible approval) for Marine Stewardship Council sustainability certification.
This has all been made possible by a sudden and seemingly unrealistic increase in dogfish biomass in the late 2000s. One interesting theory for how this may have happened was presented at the AFS Southern Division Meeting (unfortunately, I couldn’t make it this year) by Ryan Knotek (check out the podcast of his talk). Basically, not all spiny dogfish are breeding at the same time, which may have staggered the reproductive output of the species and helped mitigate the effects of overfishing. It’s one of many shark talks (and other worthwhile fisheries science talks) available on SDAFS’ podcast page.