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COSEWIC Assessment and Update Status Report on the Blackfin Cisco in Canada

Existing Protection or Other Status

No specific legal protection exists for this species in Canada, although general protection is afforded through the fish habitat sections of the federal Fisheries Act. Although listed on Schedule 2 of the federal Species at Risk Act as a species to be reassessed for consideration on Schedule 1, it receives no official protection as a species at risk.

As with the taxonomic designation, the current conservation status of blackfin cisco is confusing. Globally, the species is presumed extinct (GXQ) by NatureServe, with the taxonomic distinctiveness of C. nigripinnis at the current level of understanding questionable (NatureServe 2004).

At the national level, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) considers blackfin cisco to be extinct (E) within Canada and the United States (Gimenez 1996), while NatureServe has assessed the species as extirpated (NX) (NatureServe 2004).

At the provincial level, blackfin cisco has been given the status of presumed extirpated (SX) from the Great Lakes of Ontario, but is still considered extant in Lake Nipigon (NatureServe 2004). Similarly, the Ontario Natural Heritage Information Centre (NHIC) also ranks the species as extirpated from the Great Lakes, but considers it extant in Lake Nipigon (NHIC 2004). However, the NHIC status for Ontario also includes an extinct designation based on a determination of status by the OMNR (NHIC 2004).

Within the United States, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan rank the species as presumed extirpated (SX) from lakes Michigan and Huron (NatureServe 2004).

In terms of the species’ commercial value, no specific harvest quotas are currently known to exist for blackfin cisco reported from Lake Nipigon. Commercial fishing quotas for all deepwater cisco species in Lake Nipigon are regulated through the Ontario Fisheries Regulations and enforced by OMNR. General restrictions or closures on the commercial harvest of ciscoes as a group have historically been in effect for Great Lakes waters in both Canada and the United States (Parker 1988).

Existing Status

Nature Conservancy Ranks (Naturserve 2004)

Global - GX

 US - NX
 Canada - NX

 US - IL - SX, IN - SX, MI -SX
 Canada - ON - SX.


Wild Species 2005 (Canadian Endangered Species Council 2006)
 Canada - 5
 Ontario - 5, SK - 5

 Threatened (1988)
 Data Deficient (2007)