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Quebec Bulletin
December 2013 - January 2014/Volume 16/Number 6

Species at Risk: Public Consultation on Cod, Redfish and Plaice

A public consultation is currently being held on adding several populations of cod, redfish and plaice on Canada's east coast to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk.

The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) assessed the Atlantic Cod, Acadian Redfish, Deepwater Redfish and American Plaice populations. Four Atlantic Cod populations were designated as endangered. The Gulf of St. Lawrence and Laurentian Channel population of Deepwater Redfish also received the endangered status whereas the Acadian Redfish and Northern population of Deepwater Redfish were designated as threatened. A threatened status was given to the two American Plaice populations. For all these populations, COSEWIC determined that fishing – directed or incidental – is the principal cause of decline in abundance and remains the main threat for most. For several populations, natural mortality, caused by adverse environmental conditions and predation, is also considered a threat to recovery.

If these groundfish populations were listed under the Species at Risk Act, the directed commercial fishery of these populations would be prohibited. Under certain conditions, bycatch during other fisheries could be allowed; however, selling or buying individuals from these populations would be prohibited. Recreational fishing of these populations would also likely be prohibited.

Before deciding whether these groundfish populations will be added to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk, Fisheries and Oceans Canada would like to know Canadians' opinion on the potential ecological, cultural and economic impacts of listing or not listing these populations under the Species at Risk Act. Please complete the online questionnaires on the Species at Risk Public Registry website or click on the guide of your choice.

Andréanne Demers
Ecosystems Management

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