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THE QUEBEC REGION BULLETIN
FEBRUARY - MARCH 2010/VOLUME 13/NUMBER 1
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Biodiversity
IDENTIFICATION GUIDE FOR MARINE FISHES
A TOOL TO STUDY BIODIVERSITY
GUIDE_01-large.jpg

Every year, Fisheries and Oceans Canada conducts a major biological survey aboard the large trawler CCGS Teleost. The data gathered in the estuary and northern Gulf of St. Lawrence are a valuable source of information on the status of harvested marine resources. They are used to estimate the abundance and biomass of five commercially important species – the Atlantic cod, Greenland halibut, redfish (Acadian and deepwater redfish) and northern shrimp.

In recent years, biologists have sought to more fully integrate information on the status of these stocks and the ecosystems in which they live; to do so, the many other fish species captured needed to be described in greater detail. It quickly became clear how hard it is to properly identify the dozens of species captured. Although the staff are familiar with the most common species, identifying many others can be problematical. For instance, one must observe spines, any barbels or tubercles that might be present, peritoneum colour, the position of light organs… all within the space of a few minutes.

To make this work easier, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has just published the Identification guide for marine fishes of the estuary and northern Gulf of St. Lawrence. Using identification sheets and colour plates, it describes 115 marine fish species. The guide has been incorporated into Canadian technical report of fisheries and aquatic sciences, Number 2866, which also presents the sampling protocol and a summary analysis of the fish caught during surveys conducted aboard the CCGS Teleost between 2004 and 2008.

In addition to being an essential companion volume for DFO biologists and technicians, this guide will be a valuable aid for sailors, observers at sea and people who make their living from the sea or are interested in the marine world. It is available in PDF format or in paper version with the accompanying CD at the Maurice Lamontagne Institute Library at biblioIML@dfo-mpo.gc.ca or 418-775-0500.

Improved knowledge about marine biodiversity and habitats translates into informed decisions, and improves the Department’s capacity to fulfil its legal obligations, whether they stem from the Fisheries Act, the Oceans Act or the Species at Risk Act.



Jean-Denis Dutil
Science