Freshwater Fish Species at Risk in Canada

Tuesday, August 19, 2014: 9:20 AM
205B (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
Nicholas Mandrak , Biological Sciences, University of Toronto Scarborough, Toronto, ON, Canada
John R. Post , Biological Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada
John Reynolds , Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada
Eric Taylor , Department of Zoology, Beaty Biodiversity Research Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
The conservation status of Canada’s 193 native freshwater fish species has been assessed using a variety of methods. COSEWIC has assessed over 100 species, of which 54 species were listed at the level of Special Concern or higher. Of these 54 species, 39 have been subsequently listed under the federal Species at Risk Act. In 2008, the AFS Conservation Committee published an assessment of the conservation status of over 700 North American freshwater fish species independent of political jurisdictions. Sixty species that occur in Canada were listed at the level of Special Concern or higher, representing a 125% increase since 1989. The leading causes of imperilment identified by both assessments are habitat alteration and destruction, invasive species, and overexploitation. Current issues in the conservation of Canadian freshwater fishes include identification of designatable units, assessment of range edge species, and failure to adequately protect species due to lack of legal listing and changing legislation. To better protect and conserve Canadian freshwater fishes and their habitat, COSEWIC assessment guidelines should be critically evaluated and revised if necessary, and existing federal legislation should be strengthened, fully enacted and implemented.