Response Statement - Atlantic Salmon, Quebec Eastern North Shore population

December 8, 2011

Common Name: Atlantic Salmon, Quebec Eastern North Shore population
Scientific Name: Salmo salar

Status assessment by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC): Special Concern

How the Minister of the Environment intends to respond to the assessment: The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans will undertake consultations with the government of Quebec, Aboriginal peoples, stakeholders, and the public on whether or not the Atlantic Salmon, Quebec Eastern North Shore population, should be added to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk (Schedule 1) under the Species at Risk Act as Special Concern.  The Minister of the Environment will forward the COSEWIC assessment of the Atlantic Salmon, Quebec Eastern North Shore population, to the Governor in Council upon completion of consultations.

Once a species has been assessed as at risk by COSEWIC, further steps must be undertaken before it is added to Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act. For more information on this process, please view The Species Listing Process Under SARA.

Reason(s) for status designation provided by COSEWIC:  This species requires rivers or streams that are generally clear, cool and well-oxygenated for reproduction and the first few years of rearing, but undertakes lengthy feeding migrations in the North Atlantic Ocean as older juveniles and adults. This population breeds in rivers along the north shore of the St. Lawrence River estuary from the Napetipi River (not inclusive) westward to the Kegaska River (inclusive). This population shows opposing trends in the abundance of small (1 sea-winter) and large (multi-sea-winter) fish. Small salmon have declined 26% over the last 3 generations, whereas large salmon have increased 51% over the same period; pooling the data for both groups suggests a decline of about 14% for all mature individuals considered together. The small size of the population, about 5000 mature fish in 2008, is cause for concern. As is the case for most populations of the species, poor marine survival related to substantial but incompletely understood changes in marine ecosystems is also a concern.

Occurrence: Quebec, Atlantic Ocean

Competent Minister(s):
Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Province(s) and territory (territories) to be consulted:

Applicable federal legislation:  Fisheries are managed and fish and fish habitat are protected under the Fisheries Act.

Conservation activities underway: In Quebec under the Fisheries Act, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has delegated management of the fishing of freshwater, anadromous and catadromous species to the province. The Quebec government has implemented management measures for the sport and aboriginal fisheries. There is no commercial fishery. Atlantic salmon habitat is also protected under the Fisheries Act.