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Consultation workbook on the addition of three aquatic species to the SARA List: shortnose cisco, black redhorse, kiyi (Great Lakes population)

Information About The Species

Shortnose cisco

Status: Endangered

Last Examination by COSEWIC:  May 2005

Biology

The shortnose cisco was endemic to the Great Lakes. It can be distinguished from other cisco species found in these lakes by the distinctive dark colouration of the snout.

Freshwater shrimps were the main prey items in lakes Huron and Ontario.

Spawning occurred from April to June at depth of 52-146 m. Age of maturity was reported as 2+ to 3+ years in Lake Michigan. Maximum known age is 11 years for females and 9 years for males. Maximum known length and weight is 265 mm in total length and 420 g.

Where is this fish found?

The shortnose cisco was endemic to lakes Huron, Michigan and Ontario. As it was last recorded in Lake Huron in 1985, Lake Michigan in 1982 and Lake Ontario in 1964, it might well be extinct.

The shortnose cisco was reported at depths ranging from 22 m to 146 m.

How many fish are there?

There are no known extant populations.

Threats to the population

Overfishing by the commercial deepwater cisco fishery (commonly known as the “chub fishery”) is the likely cause for the decline of the shortnose cisco. Competition with, or predation by, introduced fish species may also have contributed to the decline of remnant populations

COSEWIC Reason for Designation:

Endemic to three of the Great Lakes, this species was last recorded in Lake Michigan in 1982, in Lake Huron in 1985, and in Lake Ontario in 1964. Although it has probably disappeared throughout its range, searches for this species have not been extensive enough to declare this species extinct. The species’ apparent demise is suspected to be the result of commercial overfishing and possibly competition or predation from introduced species.

What will happen if this population is added to the SARA List?

  • If listed, general prohibitions under SARA would come into effect making it unlawful to kill, harm, harass, capture or take individuals of this species.
  • Under SARA, a recovery stratgy must be developed within one year of the shortnose cisco being listed.

Black redhorse

Status:  Threatened

Last Examination by COSEWIC:  May 2005

Biology

The black redhorse is a sucker that can be distinguished from other redhorse species by a combination of tail colour, shape and contours of the lips, and the number of scales on the lateral line.

The black redhorse is a bottom feeder using the grazing and picking method to feed mostly on crustaceans and insects. Young black redhorse, less than 65 mm in length, are thought to feed mainly on minute plant and animal material.

Black redhorse spawns, in spring, in riffle habitats over small cobbles at water temperatures ranging from 13-21ºC. During spawning, males exhibits colouration of the body and have tubercles on their anal and caudal fins while females show little or no colour. Lengths of fry at emergence range between 8.2 and 9.1 mm. In the Grand River, youngest mature females were 3 and males were 4 years of age. Maximum known age is 16 years and maximum known length is 658 mm total length and weight of 3200g.

Where is this fish found?

In Canada, the black redhorse is found only in southwestern Ontario. It occurs in drainages of Lake Erie (Grand River watershed); Lake St. Clair (Thames River watershed); Lake Huron (Bayfield River, Maitland River and the Ausable River watersheds); and western Lake Ontario (Spencer Creek watershed.)

Black redhorse general inhabits moderately sized, cool, clear streams. They prefer pools in summer and move into deeper pools in winter.

How many fish are there?

Despite extensive recent sampling, population sizes at all locations are unknown.

Threats to the population

It is likely impacted by changes in water quality and quantity related to agriculture, urbanization, dams and impoundments. Difficulty in identification and recreational by-catch together may also impact populations.

COSEWIC Reason for Designation:

A freshwater fish with a very small, highly fragmented distribution and area of occupancy, as well as restricted spawning habitat preferences. Native populations are found in only 5 Ontario watersheds in areas heavily impacted by urbanization and agriculture. It is at risk of habitat loss and degradation as a result of increased siltation and turbidity. Dams may adversely affect flow regimes and have fragmented populations in the two major rivers where this species occurs.

What would happen if this species is added to the SARA List?

  • If listed, general prohibitions under SARA would come into effect making it unlawful to kill, harm, harass, capture or take individuals of this species
  • Under SARA, a recovery strategy must be developed within four years of the black redhorse being listed
  • The black redhorse is included in the Ausable River, Thames River and Grand River ecosystem recovery strategies. These strategies are in the process of being reviewed
  • Plans for the black redhorse under the Ausable River Recovery Strategy include research into the distribution, abundance and identification of critical habitat
  • Plans for the black redhorse under the Grand River Recovery Strategy include research to identify critical habitat, develop and implement programs to protect known habitats, facilitate migration, protect from harvest, monitor known populations and their habitats, stewardship and awareness and community outreach
  • Plans for black redhorse under the Thames River Recovery Strategy include research into its distribution, abundance and genetics, identification of critical habitat, and awareness and community outreach programs.

Kiyi (Upper Great Lakes population)

Status:  Special Concern

Last Examination by COSEWIC:  May 2005

Biology

The kiyi is endemic to the Great Lakes and can be distinguished from other cisco species found in these lakes by its unique combination of large eyes and long paired fins.

Diet of kiyi in lakes Huron and Ontario consisted mainly of small freshwater shrimps.

Spawning occurs from September to January at depths of 106-165 m. Age of maturity is attained at 2+ to 3+ years old in Lake Michigan and minimum size at maturity is 132 mm total length. Maximum known age is 10+ years for females and 7+ years for males. Maximum known length is 250 mm total length.

Where is this fish found?

The kiyi is endemic to all the Laurentian Great Lakes of North America except Lake Erie. In Canada, the kiyi is known from lakes Huron, Ontario and Superior. It is believed to be currently extant only in Lake Superior.

The kiyi prefers the deepest parts of lakes where it is clear, poorly lit and cold. It is rarely collected in waters less than 108 m deep and has been reported at depths ranging from 35 m to 200 m.

How many fish are there?

Recent surveys (2000-01) suggest that there are between 22 and 330 tonnes of kiyi found in the deepest parts of Lake Superior.

Threats to the population

Commercial overfishing was likely the cause of decline of the kiyi in the lakes Huron, Michigan and Ontario. Competition with, or predation by, introduced fish species may also have contributed to the decline of remnant populations. However, these threats are not currently significant in Lake Superior where the only extant population remains.

COSEWIC Reason for Designation

Currently found only in Lake Superior, the subspecies has been extirpated from lakes Huron and Michigan, as the result of a complex of factors, which included exploitation and introduced exotic species. The extirpation in Lake Huron and Michigan occurred more than three generations in the past. The remaining population in Lake Superior appears to be stable, and supports a small, regulated fishery. Other threats such as the introduction of exotic species which have impacted populations in the lower Great Lakes do not appear to be important in Lake Superior.

What will happen if this population is added to the SARA List?

Under SARA, a management plan for the Kiyi must be developed within three years of species listing