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COSEWIC Assessment and Update Status Report on the Lake Sturgeon in Canada

Acknowledgements

There exists a vast body of literature on sturgeon in general and lake sturgeon in particular; however, recent site-relevant information essential for assessment of status is not largely available and is yet to be published. Therefore, a great reliance has had to be placed on unpublished data and personal communications to enable the authors to outline the current status of the species in Canada. We are indeed grateful to the various researchers and agencies that were willing to share this information in the interest of conservation of the species. These individuals are listed in the Authorities consulted section.

The following people are thanked for advice and logistical support over the past few years: Dave Block (graduate student, University of Manitoba), Keith Kristofferson (Conservation Manitoba, Lac du Bonnet) and Henry Letander (Elder, Sagkeeng First Nations, Pine Falls). We are indebted to Sue Cotterill and Mike Sullivan, Fish and Wildlife Division, Alberta Sustainable Resource Development and Michel Lepage for providing excellent comments and important and current information. Thanks also to Lloyd Mohr, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) for sharing published and unpublished information, Tim Haxton (OMNR) for sharing information and Tom Mosindy for his constructive and clarifying comments on the Lake of the Woods populations. We appreciate the management information that Daniel Nadeau, Abitibi-Témiscamingue Region, Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune du Québec, shared with us. We also thank the numerous reviewers who provided many editorial comments, especially the contibutions of North/South Consultants and Manitoba Hydro received during the Community Knowledge review process. We appreciate the technical help of Patrick Nelson and Ron Hempel, and Colin Gallagher for translating several important documents, and Ron Hempel in map production. We also acknowledge financial support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada; Manitoba Hydro; Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Winnipeg; Environment Canada, Winnipeg; Tembec Paper Co., Pine Falls; Manitoba Model Forest; and Manitoba Conservation.


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Biographical Summaries of Report Writers

T.A. Dick has a Bachelor of Science in Forestry (silviculture and wildlife management) and an M.Sc. in parasite ecology from the Universityof New Brunswick and a Ph.D. (immunology and cell biology) from the University of Toronto. He is currently a professor in the Department of Zoology, University of Manitoba and a recent recipient of an NSERC Northern Research Chair. Research over the years has included taxonomy, systematics, biogeography, ecology, immunology, cell and molecular biology. Over the past 15 years, he has been especially interested in food webs and trophic feeding patterns of freshwater fishes, and more recently his interests have become more interdisciplinary dealing with issues relating to aquatic biota, fish habitat, indices of biotic integrity in perturbed and unperturbed environments and conservation biology. He is also interested in marine environments and historical and contemporary ecological associations in aquatic systems. Research on the Acipenseriformes includes paddlefish (Polyodon spathula), shovelnose sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus platorhynchus) and lake sturgeon. Studies on lake sturgeon include use of traditional and local knowledge in lake sturgeon management, aquaculture and enhancement, and developing tools to describe sturgeon habitat using sonar technology to measure substrate and current and incorporating data into GIS. In addition, sturgeon behaviour is studied using radio and sonar tags.

R. Campbell is co-chair of the COSEWIC Freshwater Fishes SSC, and formerly CITES Management Authority for Canada, and Senior Policy Program Advisor Northern and Inland Fisheries, Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Bob has authored and co-authored several COSEWIC reports and currently works as a freelance consultant on environmental and fishery-related issues mainly dealing with species at risk.

Nicholas E. Mandrak is a Research Scientist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada in Burlington, Ontario. His research interests are the biodiversity, biogeography and conservation of Canadian freshwater fishes. Nick has co-authored 12 COSEWIC reports. He is a member of the COSEWIC Freshwater Fish Species Specialist Subcommittee.

Becky Cudmore is a Research Biologist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada in Burlington, Ontario. Her research interests involve the biodiversity of freshwater fishes, including the protection and recovery of species at risk and invasive species. Becky has co-authored four COSEWIC reports.

James D. Reist is a research scientist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada where he has investigated the biodiversity, ecology and anthropogenic impacts for northern and arctic fishes for the past 22 years. He holds graduate degrees specializing in evolution, systematics and taxonomy of northern fishes from the universities of Alberta and Toronto. His current work includes research on SARA-listed species such as shortjaw cisco, diversity and ecology of Arctic char and related species, development of a field guide for Canadian Arctic marine fishes, general status assessment and advice regarding arctic freshwater and marine fishes, and assessment of impacts from northern development and climate change upon freshwater fishes and their ecosystems. He is also presently a member of the COSEWIC Freshwater Fish Species Specialist Subcommittee.

Jake Rice is Director of Assessments and Scientific Advice for the Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat, Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Prior to taking on his position with CSAS in DFO Headquarters in 1996, he held positions as a Research Scientist with DFO, and served as Division Head of Groundfish in Newfoundland Region (St. John's) and Marine Fish in Pacific Region (Nanaimo). He has also held faculty positions in Biology, Environmental Studies, and Mathematics and Statistics at Memorial University, Arizona State University, and University of Copenhagen (as Guest Professor of the Royal Danish Academy). He received his B.Sc. in Conservation from Cornell University in 1970, and his Ph.D. in Zoology (Ornithology) from University of Toronto in 1974. He has over 150 primary scientific publications on community ecology of passerines in Canadian forests and US deserts, seabirds on the Newfoundland Coast, single-species and multi-species fisheries assessment methods, marine ecosystem indicators, and ecosystem approaches to management. He has been a jurisdictional member of COSEWIC since 1996, a member of the Science Advisory Board of NOAA, and has chaired a number of Expert Groups for the International Council for Exploration of the Seas, including a term as Chief Scientist of ICES.

Paul Bentzen is a professor and holds the Department of Fisheries Ocean Chair in Resource Conservation Genetics in the Department of Biology at Dalhousie University. He has been a member of the Marine Fishes Specialist Subcommittee of cosewic since 2005, and co-chair of that subcommittee since 2006.

Pierre Dumont is a fisheries biologist, working in Québec freshwater ecosystems since the beginning of the 1970s, where he has been involved in the impact studies of the James Bay hydropower development. He has worked for the Quebec government since 1978, first as a regional biologist in the Outaouais region and, since 1982, in the St. Lawrence River lowlands, in the most urbanized part of the province. He is mainly involved in scientific studies on the status and the exploitation of lake sturgeon, yellow perch and American eel, on the long-term monitoring of fish communities along the St. Lawrence River, on fish habitat improvement and on the restoration of the copper redhorse, a rare and endangered species, endemic to southwestern Québec. He has also been involved in the restoration program of the European sturgeon since 1998, when he had the chance to work at the Cemagref (Bordeaux France) for one year. He acts as co‑director of graduate students in four Quebec universities. He received his doctoral degree in environmental sciences from the Université du Québec à Montréal in 1996. He has co-authored four COSEWIC reports.