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Quebec Bulletin
October - November 2013/Volume 16/Number 5

Consultation on the Atlantic Salmon: What's new?

Atlantic Salmon Fishery

From November 2012 to July 2013, Fisheries and Oceans Canada held a consultation in Quebec on the possibility of adding five Atlantic Salmon populations to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk under the Species at Risk Act (SARA).

Consultation is an important component of the process associated with the Species at Risk Act. Other steps remain to be taken, including advising on the relevance of adding salmon populations to the List and thus protecting them under the Species at Risk Act.

According to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) report, Atlantic Salmon populations in Canada are threatened by environmental changes in the ocean, fishing, freshwater obstructions (such as dams), agriculture, urbanization, aquaculture and aquatic invasive species.

Consultations are planned for the other Atlantic Salmon populations in the Maritime provinces.

If these populations are listed...

The Anticosti Island population has been designated as “endangered.” Its listing would lead to planning its recovery with key stakeholders. A recovery strategy would identify threats as well as measures to be implemented to promote recovery. Critical habitat — the habitat necessary for the survival and recovery of the Anticosti Island salmon population — would be identified and protected. Under the Act, there are automatic prohibitions: No person shall kill, harm, harass, capture or take an individual of a species that is endangered.  However, certain activities, such as sport fishing, may be authorized if they do not jeopardize the population’s survival or recovery.

Four other populations have a “special concern” status:

  • Quebec Eastern North Shore
  • Quebec Western North Shore
  • Inner St. Lawrence
  • Gaspé–Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence

In collaboration with key stakeholders, the listing of these populations would lead to the development of a recovery document to identify conservation measures and reduce threats resulting from human activity. This status is not accompanied by any prohibition. Therefore, listing these populations would not end the fishery.

It should be noted that listing salmon populations does not conflict with the river-by-river management approach as practised in Quebec. The objective is not to change the salmon fishery management regime, but rather to work together with the Government of Quebec and key stakeholders. If the populations were listed, the Government of Quebec and co-managers would continue to fulfill their responsibilities and could collaborate with Fisheries and Oceans Canada to determine the measures required to protect the salmon populations and help them to recover.

In Quebec, a federal-provincial agreement, the Canada-Quebec Cooperation Agreement for the Protection and Recovery of Species at Risk, establishes the terms and conditions for coordinating activities related to the protection and recovery of species at risk of common interest in order to avoid duplication. This agreement also seeks to promote information sharing and to enhance knowledge on species at risk. The agreement was renewed in 2013 for 10 years.

For more information on the Act and the process leading up to listing, please consult our Frequently Asked Questions site or contact Species at Risk Management at 1-877-775-0848 or at

Marthe Bérubé
Ecosystems Management

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