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Atlantic silverside (Menidia menidia)
2. STOCK STATUS
DFO Roles and Responsibilities
This Integrated Fisheries Management plan is a five-year management plan, which covers the 2000-2004 Silverside fishery for the coastal and inland waters of Prince Edward Island.
Note: This plan is intended to operate in conjunction with an annual Silverside harvesting plan in which specific harvesting guidelines such as fishing areas, seasons, bag limits, etc. may be adjusted according to conservation requirements.
The commercial Silverside fishery on Prince Edward Island dates back to the early 1970's and is the only commercial Silverside fishery in Canada. Silversides are fished in the tidal ponds, rivers, bays and estuaries all around the Island. Trap/box net is the only authorized gear type used to fish silversides and fishers normally use dories 12 to 14 feet in length to fish these nets. The following is a brief description of a trap/box net:
Box/Trap Net: is a net set so as to enclose an area of water into which fish are guided through an opening or openings by one or more leaders. These nets are usually set perpendicular to the shoreline and as the smelt arrive at the leader they follow it and swim though the open doors into a box shaped trap. Once inside the trap, the Silversides swim in circles trying to avoid the leader and fail to locate the open doors. Fishers close the doors and remove the silversides from the box shaped enclosure.
There is 98 licenced Silverside fishers on Prince Edward Island. The majority of these fishers reside in Prince County in the Alberton and Tignish areas.
There is no aboriginal participation in the Silverside fishery and there is also no recreational fishery.
The Silverside fishery in Prince Edward Island is undertaken in the tidal ponds, rivers, bays and estuaries throughout the province. The highest concentration of fishing occurs in the Eastern part of the Island in Kings County.
The open season for Silversides is from October 1 to December 31 and the main concentration of fishing effort occurs from October 1 to mid November.
|YEAR||LANDINGS (kg)||VALUE ($)|
*Note that 1999 is preliminary and subject to change.
The majority of Silversides caught on Prince Edward Island are sold in a frozen state and shipped to markets in the U.S.A. There are three processing plants that freeze and ship Silversides on Prince Edward Island.
Consultations with clients are carried out in a number of ways using both formal and informal processes. The silverside fishery is covered under the Prince Edward Island Estuarine Advisory Committee. The PEI Estuarine Committee is chaired by Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans and only meets as issues come up which needs industry feed-back (at least once per year). Representation is listed below:
Prince Edward Island Estuarine Advisory Committee
The Silverside fishery on Prince Edward Island is managed by effort controls. The most significant of these are the following;
The Atlantic Silverside is a small schooling fish that ranges from the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence to Florida. Silversides spawn in the early summer and fish from each summer's spawning form the bulk of the catch in the following fall. The life cycle is brief and only a very small proportion of silversides reach the age of two years. The species is encountered mostly near shorelines, especially in estuaries and coastal ponds, but it may also undergo offshore migrations in winter.
Silversides are consumed by a wide variety of predators, including birds, seals, and groundfish. Seals commonly prey on silversides near or in traps, which affects commercial catches. Silversides frequently school with three-spined sticklebacks (pinfish), and undesired stickleback bycatch may make Silversides catches un-sellable.
Silversides are not subject to formal scientific assessment. Because of the species' short life cycle, stock size fluctuates greatly among years. Landings are taken as a reflection of stock status, although landings are also influenced by market demand.
No research on Silversides is presently being conducted, nor is any planned.
Silverside landings, presumed to reflect stock size, have fluctuated with no overall trend since the 1970s. It is presumed that they will continue to do so. Available biological data on PEI Silversides are presented in:
Cairns, D.K. 1996. An update on the Atlantic Silverside fishery of Prince Edward Island, 1995. DFO Atl. Fish. Res. Doc. 96/116. 9 pp.
Cairns, D.K. 1997. A biological review of commercial diadromous fishes of Prince Edward Island. Can. Stock Assess. Sec. Res. Doc. 97/74. 53 pp.
Long term objectives for the Prince Edward Island silverside fishery include the following:
The management objectives for the smelt fisheries in Prince Edward Island are as follows:
There are no international considerations with respect to the management of Silverside stocks in the Prince Edward Island area, as they do not migrate outside of our local coastal region.
Issue: Aboriginal Access to the Commercial Fishery The aboriginal community does not have any commercial Silverside licences.
Utilize existing programs under the Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy to obtain commercial licences for the aboriginal community.
Issue: Berths for Silverside Trap/box Nets
Fishers in the Eastern part of Prince Edward Island have traditionally been assigned berths for their Silverside nets while fishers in the Western part of Prince Edward Island have operated on a first come basis for net berths. This causes gear conflict issues when fishers from the Western part of the province decide to fish in the Eastern part of the province in areas where berths have already been assigned.
Develop a uniform approach to berths for the entire province by meeting with fishers and Conservation and Protection personnel to decide if a total berthage system or a first come, first serve access to berths would be the best approach.
The fishing season for Silversides using trap/box nets is from October 1 to December 31.
This fishery is controlled and monitored by fishery officers in vehicles, small launches, ATV's and on foot patrols. Fishing gear and licences are checked to ensure that only licensed fishers partake in the fishery.
There is no quota assigned to the Silverside fishery as it is managed by effort controls (i.e. season, #of licences, etc.)
All individuals participating in the Silverside fishery must be registered as commercial fishers. Silverside fishing licences must be renewed on an annual basis. Fishers can combine licences up to the maximum allowable amount per gear type. The maximum amount for trap/box nets is 2 nets.
Fisheries Act, Fishery (General) Regulations, Maritime Provinces Fishery Regulations and the Aboriginal Communal Fishing Licences Regulations.
Conservation and Protection are tasked with ensuring compliance of numerous Silverside fishers in a commercial fishery on Prince Edward Island.
The commercial fishery is limited to trap/box nets set in tidal waters.
Market conditions seem to dictate activity in this fishery.
The main activity in this fishery involves fishery officers conducting patrols on land and at sea to monitor license compliance, seasonal closures, and other regulatory compliance's, such as net distances, channel obstruction, and net identification.
Fishery Officers conduct patrols using small launches, ATV's, motor vehicles and on foot to ensure compliance of above activities.
No directed flights dedicated to Silverside fishery but any opportunity to monitor this fishery in conjunction with other directed flights is an asset.
Conservation and Protection
|Name||Groups||Tel. Number||Fax Number||E-mail Address|
|Hank Scarth||Area Directorfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Jim Jenkins||Chief, Resource Managementemail@example.com|
|Peter Zahrndt||Chief, Conservation & Protectionfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|David Cairns||Research Scientist||902-566-7825||902-566-7848||Cairnsd@dfo-mpo.gc.ca|
Atlantic silverside (Menidia menidia)
Common names: silverside, capelin.
1.2 Physical Characteristics
1.3 Facts on silversides
1.4 Fishing Facts
1.5 Natural History