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DUTIL, J.-D., S. PROULX, P.-M. CHOUINARD, D. BORCARD, 2011. A hierarchical classification of the seabed based on physiographic and oceanographic features in the St. Lawrence. Can. Tech. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci., 2916, 79 p .
A hierarchical framework has been proposed to classify marine waters surrounding North America into 24 different marine ecoregions based on large-scale oceanographic features. One of those ecoregions (Acadian-Atlantic) includes shelf waters from the Strait of Belle Isle (Canada) down to Cape Cod (U.S.A.) and encompasses the St. Lawrence estuary and Gulf. The present report aims at proposing a hierarchical classification of the seafloor at the scale of the megahabitat for the St. Lawrence estuary and Gulf as a basis for mapping and describing marine habitats for conservation and integrated management purposes. Information on salinity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, depth, slope, and variability in landscape and sediments were aggregated using a grid made up of 100 km2 cells. Based on that information, cluster analyses were conducted grouping cells into 13 different megahabitats. Four megahabitats described the deep waters, and areas outside channels formed 9 megahabitats: four in the southern Gulf and five in the northern Gulf. These groups of cells were spatially coherent. The tool proposes a novel way of making validated and integrated data available to end users. Potential applications include the screening of areas considered for inclusion in a network of protected areas and a quantitative assessment of surface areas for each class of habitat. the method can also be applied to describe the habitats of species at risk.
DUTIL, J. -D., S. PROULX, S. HURTUBISE, J. GAUTHIER, 2010. Recent findingl on the life history and catches of wolffish (Anarhichas sp.) in research surveys and in the Sentinel Fisheries and Observer Program for the Estuary and Gulf of St-Lawrence Nouvelles données sur la biologie et les captures de loups (Anarhichas sp.)dans les relevés de recherche, et dans les Pêches sentinelles et le Programme des observateurs pour lestuaire et le golfe du Saint-Laurent. DFO, Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat, Science Advisory Report, 2010/126, 81 p .
The three species of wolffish that inhabit the eastern Canadian Coast are considered as being at risk. Two species are listed as threatened (Anarhichas denticulatus, Anarhichas minor) whereas the third species (Anarhichas lupus) is listed as being of special concern. Since 2000 and 2001 when the status of those species was first assessed, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has taken steps to facilitate their recovery. From a research and monitoring perspective, concrete actions included collecting more data and better data on which to base conservation measures in the future, as well as supporting research on life history, distribution and habitat associations of all three species. The present report reviews recent projects and publications on wolffish based on material collected in the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence and addressing the following topics: fish species assemblages to which wolffish are associated, use of shelters by juvenile spotted wolffish, diving and towed camera surveys, metabolism, growth and reproductive biology, including new tools for fish identification and critical reviews of fish identifications on research surveys. Catch and effort data were aggregated using a grid made up of 100 km2 square cells. The probability of catching wolffish of a given species in a set and within a cell (relative occurrence) was calculated as the ratio of the number of sets in which a species was recorded and the total number of sets made. This method allows the mapping of catch and effort for numerous time series based on data from different programs in both the whole study area (research surveys and Sentinel Fisheries using bottom trawls and a random stratified design) or in specific areas within the Gulf. The method also allows an estimate of surface areas occupied by each species and lends itself to matching area of occupancy and characteristics of the habitat. The data suggest no temporal trend in abundance. Wolffish represent a small biomass compared to other demersal species, with northern wolffish being very rare. The west coast of Newfoundland appears to be a hot spot for the distribution of spotted and striped wolffish in the Gulf.
LAROCQUE, R., J-D. DUTIL, S. PROULX, M. THORNE, P.-M. SCALLON-CHOUINARD, M.-H. GENDRON, J. PLOURDE, T. SCHMITT, 2010. Contribution à la description de l'habitat des loups de mer (Anarhichas spp.) près de la péninsule gaspésienne par vidéo remorquée et relevés acoustiques multifaisceaux. Rapp. tech. can. sci. halieut. aquat., 2902, 51 p .
This report presents the results of several initiatives that examine the potential habitat of wolffish (Anarhichas spp.) in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and in particular near the Gaspé peninsula. The habitat features were examined at different spatial scales: by towed video, multibeam acoustic surveys and an examination of historical catch data. High-resolution bathymetry and backscatter coupled with information extracted from video allowed for a detailed description of environments known to be used by wolfish. Features believed to be favourable to wolfish were identified on both survey sites, including shelters and glacial scours. The resulting information is presented within the attached multimedia DVD-ROM. The complimentary nature of these methods and the management implications for a species at risk are discussed.
DUTIL, J.-D., C. NOZÈRES, P.-M. SCALLON-CHOUINARD, L. VAN GUELPEN, D. BERNIER, S. PROULX, R. MILLER, C. SAVENKOFF, 2009. Poissons connus et méconnus des fonds marins du Saint-Laurent. Naturaliste can., 133(2): 70-82 .
[Abstract only available in French]
Des relevés effectués au moyen de chaluts benthiques entre 2004 et 2008 dans le bas Saguenay, l'estuaire maritime et le nord du golfe du Saint-Laurent ont permis d'identifier à l'espèce plus d'un million de poissons. Les captures ont été largement dominées par quatre espèces de prédateurs d'intérêt commercial: le flétan du Groenland, deux espèces de sébaste et la morue franche, mais on a dénombré plus d'une centaine d'espèces dont la moitié peuvent être considérées rares sur les fonds chalutés. Les espèces les plus abondantes dans les captures étaient également celles qui furent répertoriées dans une plus forte proportion des stations échantillonnées. Les espèces inusitées possèdent une distribution soit boréale, soit méridionale, et fréquentent généralement le plateau continental ou même le talus continental au-dessus de la plaine abyssale dans l'Atlantique. Les données issues de ces relevés ne fournissent qu'une vision partielle des communautés de poissons dans le Saint-Laurent: les poissons pélagiques et estuariens étaient mal représentés dans nos échantillons, les fonds rocheux ou escarpés n'étant généralement pas chalutables. Ce vaste territoire d'environ I5O 000 km2 est peuplé d'une faune variée.©2009 La Société Provancher d'histoire naturelle du Canada Certains poissons sont communs, d'autres représentent des visiteurs occasionnels en provenance des profondeurs de l'Atlantique, mais tous sont fascinants. Encore aujourd'hui, l'écologie d'un grand nombre de ces espèces reste mal connue.
DUTIL, J.-D., P. DUMONT, D.K. CAIRNS, P.S. GALBRAITH, G. VERREAULT, M. CASTONGUAY, S. PROULX, 2009. Anguilla rostrata glass eel migration and recruitment in the estuary and Gulf of St Lawrence. J. Fish. Biol., 74: 1970-1984 .
This study describes catches of Anguilla rostrata glass eels and associated oceanographic conditions in the St Lawrence Estuary and Gulf. Ichthyoplankton survey data suggest that they enter the Gulf primarily in May, migrate at the surface at night, and disperse broadly once they have passed Cabot Strait. T hey arrive in estuaries beginning at about mid-June and through the month of July. Migration extends west up to Quebec City, in the freshwater zone of the St Lawrence Estuary, 1000 km west of Cabot Strait. Anguilla roslrata glass eels travel between Cabot Strait and receiving estuaries at a straight-line ground speed of c. 10–15 km day-1. Catches of fish per unit effort in estuaries in the St Lawrence system are much lower than those reported for the Atlantic coast of Canada. Low abundance of A. rostrata glass eels in the St Lawrence system may be due to cold surface temperatures during the migration period which decrease swimming capacity, long distances from the spawning ground to Cabot Strait and from Cabot Strait to the destination waters (especially the St Lawrence River), complex circulation patterns, and hypoxic conditions in bottom waters of the Laurentian Channel and the St Lawrence Estuary.©2009 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles
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