Redfish - Consultations on listing under the Species at Risk Act

Information summary and questionnaire for the consultations on adding three populations of Redfish to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk

November 1, 2013 to January 31, 2014

Populations:

  • Atlantic (Acadian Redfish)
  • Gulf of St. Lawrence and Laurentian Channel (Deepwater Redfish)
  • Northern (Deepwater Redfish)

We would like to receive your comments on the potential impacts of adding three populations of Redfish to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk.

Your comments are important.

Consultations - Let your opinion be heard

The Species at Risk Act acknowledges that all Canadians have a role to play in preventing the disappearance of wildlife species.

Before deciding whether any of these Redfish populations will be added to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk, we would like your opinion, comments and suggestions regarding the possible ecological, cultural and economic impacts of listing or not listing these populations under the Species at Risk Act.

Consultation on three Redfish populations

Atlantic Canada is home to two Redfish species, the Acadian and Deepwater Redfish. Seeing as it is nearly impossible to visually tell them apart, certain physiological criteria are used to differentiate them. Genetic differences among the two species of Redfish are used to separate them into populations. This consultation focuses on three of the four populations, as defined by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.

The consultation for the Acadian Redfish Bonne Bay population was held from November to December 2011.

Facts on Redfish

Redfish have a long lifespan and can live up to 75 years. They reach sexual maturity very late (about age 10), and abundant generations are observed only every 5 to 12 years.

Redfish prefer cold waters along the slopes of banks and deep channels. Acadian Redfish usually live at depths varying from 150 to 300 m, while Deepwater Redfish occupy depths from 350 to 500 m.

When Redfish were abundant, they played a major ecological role in the marine ecosystem as both dominant predators and important prey.

Redfish

Why are these populations of Redfish at risk?

Using the best available information the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada has determined that:

  • Given their long lifespan, slow growth and late maturation, Redfish species are susceptible to threats.
  • Directed fishing remains the main threat.
  • Bycatch in other fisheries, notably in the shrimp fishery, may contribute to mortality.
  • Seal predation may be a significant.

This table presents the statuses assigned by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada and the decline in the abundance of adults for each redfish population. The first column presents the populations, the second presents the statuses and the third presents the decline.

Status assigned by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife
Species, Population (NAFO Areas)COSEWiC statusDecline in adult abundance
Acadian Redfish, Atlantic population (0B, 2GHJ, 3KLNOP and 4RSTVWX)Threatened
  • 99.8% since 1978 off the
    coast of Newfoundland
    and Labrador
  • 99.5% since 1984 in the
    Gulf of St. Lawrence
  • No trend on the Scotian Shelf
Deepwater Redfish, Gulf of St. Lawrence and Laurentian Channel population (4RSTXWV, 3P)Endangered97% since 1984
Deepwater Redfish, Northern population (0AB, 2GHJ, 3KLNO)Threatened98% since 1978

This map shows the location of the three redfish populations targeted by the consultation. The Gulf of St. Lawrence and Laurentian Channel population of Deepwater Redfish is observed in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) areas in the Gulf of St. Lawrence (areas 4RST and 3P) and on the Scotian Shelf (areas 4VXW), up to the continental slope. The Northern population of Deepwater Redfish is observed in the areas east of Newfoundland and Labrador and Baffin Island (areas 0, 2, 3KLNO). The Atlantic population of Acadian Redfish extends across all NAFOareas in Canada's Atlantic waters, with the exception of the northernmost area (area 0A).

Map of Redfish populations (designatable units) under consultation
(by Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization [NAFO] areas)

distribution area

Adding a population to the list of Wildlife Species at Risk

The process of listing a species under the Species at Risk Act consists of several steps. It begins with an assessment by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and ends with a government of Canada decision whether or not to add a species to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. Consultations are conducted to gather the views of Canadians and are an important step in this process.

Who assigned an endangered or threatened status to these populations of Redfish?

COSEWICis an independent committee of experts that assesses and designates which wildlife species are in some danger of disappearing from Canada. The status of multiple Redfish populations in Canada was assessed in 2010. This assessment was based on the best available information, including scientific data, community knowledge and Aboriginal traditional knowledge, where available.

If a population is listed...

A recovery strategy will be developed to identify threats and measures to be implemented to address these threats. Automatic prohibitions will also apply. It will be illegal to kill, harm, harass, take, possess, capture, buy, sell or trade Redfish from this population. Critical habitat – the habitat necessary for the survival and recovery of Redfish – will be protected.

For a copy of the COSEWICDeepwater and Acadian Redfish Assessment and Status Report or other information, visit the Species at Risk Public Registry

Answers to a few of your questions

Why list these Redfish populations?

According to the COSEWICassessment, the abundance of Deepwater and Acadian Redfish populations has declined considerably and they are now considered to be at risk. The prohibitions that would be implemented under the Species at Risk Act would offer added protection for these populations. Listing would also initiate recovery planning with key partners.

Would the directed commercial Redfish fishery continue if these populations were listed?

If these populations of Redfish were added to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk, the directed commercial redfish fishery would be prohibited.

What would happen if i captured Redfish while fishing other groundfish species?

Bycatch or retention may be allowed under certain conditions (e.g. bycatch may need to be released back into the water in the best possible condition). However, it would be prohibited to buy, sell or trade Redfish from these populations.

Would my aboriginal community be able to continue to fish Redfish for food, social and ceremonial purposes if it was listed?

Under certain conditions, Aboriginal fisheries for food, social and ceremonial purposes may continue.

Questionnaire

You can make a difference: your comments are important!

The purpose of these questions is to obtain your comments on adding three redfish populations to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. If you cannot use our interactive PDF questionnaire (1,08 MB), please submit your comments using the comment form. Please identify the populations you are commenting on:

  • Acadian Redfish, Atlantic population
  • Deepwater Redfish, Gulf of St. Lawrence and Laurentian Channel population
  • Deepwater Redfish, Northern population

1. Do you support adding one or several Redfish populations to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk? Why?

2. What would be the positive impacts of listing one or several Redfish populations on your activities, the community, the environment,
the culture and the economy?

3. What would be the negative impacts of listing one or several Redfish populations on your activities, the community, the
environment, the culture and the economy?

4. Do you have any other comments on the listing of one or several populations of Redfish?

5. If you are answering on behalf of an Aboriginal community or organization, an industry, a small business1, an association or organization, please specify which one.

6. In what province or territory do you live? In what province or territory does your organization operate?

Your name and contact information (optional):

 


1Defined as any business, including its affiliates, that has fewer than 100 employees or between $30,000 and $5 million in annual gross revenues.