Original St. Lawrence River Striped Bass Extinct

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OTTAWA, ONTARIO (Dec 2, 2019). The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) has reassessed the status of the original St. Lawrence River population of Striped Bass -- one of three distinct populations in Canada -- and concluded that this population is Extinct. The last known original St. Lawrence River Striped Bass was caught in 1968, and the population of Striped Bass that historically lived in the St. Lawrence River is gone, the victim of overfishing and habitat degradation.

Striped Bass © Steven G. Johnson.
Image taken from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Striped_bass,_Boston_Aquarium.JPG
(license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

A successful stocking program started introducing Striped Bass in 2002 from the Miramichi River in New Brunswick into the -- now healthier -- St. Lawrence River, and this program has established a reproducing population. Importantly, these Miramichi-derived fish come from a separate population of Striped Bass and so are different from the original St. Lawrence River population of Striped Bass.

“A designation of Extinct may seem unusual, but it reflects the reality of the situation,” said Nick Mandrak, Co-chair of the Freshwater Fishes Subcommittee. In 2012, COSEWIC assessed the original St. Lawrence River population as Endangered, but the committee later determined that the introduced fish should not be considered part of the original St. Lawrence River population. “This new assessment highlights our commitment to both identify and assess Canadian biodiversity, using rigorous, standardized methods that are applied to the loss of unique populations.”

COSEWIC plans to re-evaluate all Striped Bass in Canada in 2022.

Dr. John Reynolds
Chair, COSEWIC
Department of Biological Sciences
Simon Fraser University
Telephone: 778-782-5636
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For general inquiries:
COSEWIC Secretariat
Canadian Wildlife Service
Environment and Climate Change Canada
351 St. Joseph Blvd, 16th floor
Gatineau QC K1A 0H3
Telephone: 819-938-4125
Fax: 819-938-3984
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www.cosewic.ca
For inquiries on Striped Bass (St. Lawrence River population):
Dr. Nicholas E. Mandrak
Department of Biological Sciences
University of Toronto Scarborough
Telephone: 416-208-2248
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About us

The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) is an independent advisory panel to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada that meets twice a year to assess the status of wildlife species at risk of extinction. Members are wildlife biology experts from academia, government, non-governmental organizations and the private sector responsible for designating wildlife species in danger of disappearing from Canada.

COSEWIC secretariat

Canadian Wildlife Service
Environment and Climate Change Canada
351 St. Joseph Blvd, 16th floor
Gatineau QC K1A 0H3

Telephone: 819-938-4125
Fax: 819-938-3984
Email: ec.cosepac-cosewic.ec@canada.ca