Species Profile

Deepwater Redfish Gulf of St. Lawrence - Laurentian Channel population

Scientific Name: Sebastes mentella
Taxonomy Group: Fishes
Range: Atlantic Ocean
Last COSEWIC Assessment: April 2010
Last COSEWIC Designation: Endangered
SARA Status: No schedule, No Status

Individuals of this species may be protected under Schedule 1 under another name; for more information see Schedule 1, the A-Z Species List, or if applicable, the Related Species table below.


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Quick Links: | Description | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | National Recovery Program | Documents

Image of Deepwater Redfish

Description

Deepwater Redfish are spiny-rayed and range in colour from bright orange to red. They are characterized by their protruding lower jaw, large eyes, and the bony spines that cover their gills.

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Distribution and Population

In Canadian waters, there are two Deepwater Redfish populations: Northern, and Gulf of St. Lawrence and Laurentian Channel. The latter population is observed in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and on the Scotian Shelf, up to the continental slope. Deepwater Redfish of this population can be found as far as the Saguenay Fjord.

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Habitat

Deepwater Redfish are found on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. They live primarily along continental slopes and in deep channels, from 350 to 500 metres. Larvae prefer surface waters, where they feed on copepods and fish eggs, while adults live in cold, deep waters where they prey upon other fish.

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Biology

Deepwater Redfish are ovoviviparous, meaning that females keep their fertilized eggs inside their bodies until the larvae have hatched. They reach sexual maturity very late, and abundant generations are only observed every 5 to 12 years. Distinctive characteristics of Redfish are their slow growth and long lifespan; they can live up to 75 years.

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Threats

The directed fishery is still the main threat to the survival and recovery of this population, except in the Gulf of St. Lawrence where it is prohibited since 1995. It is estimated that the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Laurentian Channel population of Deepwater Redfish has declined in abundance by 97% since 1984. Deepwater Redfish are also caught as bycatch in other fisheries, such as the Northern Shrimp fishery.

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Protection

Federal Protection

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.

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Documents

PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

5 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

COSEWIC Assessments

  • COSEWIC Assessment Summary and Status Report: Deepwater Redfish/Acadian Redfish complex Sebastes mentella and Sebastes fasciatus (2010)

    Assessment Summary – April 2010 Common name Deepwater Redfish - Gulf of St. Lawrence - Laurentian Channel population Scientific name Sebastes mentella Status Endangered Reason for designation As with other members of the family Sebastidae, this species is long-lived (maximum age about 75 yr), late-maturing (generation time 18 yr), and highly vulnerable to mortality from human activities. Recruitment is episodic, with strong year-classes only occurring every 5-12 years. Abundance of mature individuals has declined 98% since 1984, somewhat more than one generation, and the decline has not ceased. Directed fishing and incidental harvest in fisheries for other species (bycatch) are the main known threats. Harvesting in parts of this population (Gulf of St. Lawrence) is currently limited to an index fishery, but commercial fisheries remain open in other areas (Laurentian Channel). Bycatch in shrimp fisheries has been substantially reduced since the 1990s by use of separator grates in trawls, but could still be frequent enough to affect recovery. Occurrence Atlantic Ocean Status history Designated Endangered in April 2010. Assessment Summary – April 2010 Common name Deepwater Redfish - Northern population Scientific name Sebastes mentella Status Threatened Reason for designation As with other members of the family Sebastidae, this species is long-lived (maximum age about 75 yr), late-maturing (generation time 23 yr), and highly vulnerable to mortality from human activities. Recruitment is episodic, with strong year-classes only occurring every 5-12 years. Abundance of mature individuals has declined 98% since 1978, somewhat over one generation. However, declines have stopped since the mid-1990s and increases have been observed in some areas. Directed fishing and incidental harvest in fisheries for other species (bycatch) are the main known threats. Fisheries in parts of this designatable unit are currently closed, but remain open in other areas. Bycatch in shrimp fisheries has been substantially reduced since the 1990s by use of separator grates in trawls, but could still affect population recovery. Occurrence Arctic Ocean, Atlantic Ocean Status history Designated Threatened in April 2010. Assessment Summary – April 2010 Common name Acadian Redfish - Atlantic population Scientific name Sebastes fasciatus Status Threatened Reason for designation As with other members of the family Sebastidae, this species is long-lived (maximum age about 75 yr), late-maturing (generation time 16-18 yr), and highly vulnerable to mortality from human activities. Recruitment is episodic, with strong year-classes only occurring every 5-12 years. Abundance of mature individuals has declined 99% in areas of highest historical abundance over about two generations. However, since the 1990s, there has been no long-term trend in one area, and trends have been stable or increasing in other areas where large declines have been previously observed. Directed fishing and incidental harvest in fisheries for other species (bycatch) are the main known threats. Fisheries in parts of the range of this designatable unit (DU) are currently closed, but remain open in other areas. Bycatch in shrimp fisheries has been substantially reduced since the 1990s by use of separator grates in trawls, but could still be frequent enough to affect population recovery. Occurrence Atlantic Ocean Status history Designated Threatened in April 2010. Assessment Summary – April 2010 Common name Acadian Redfish - Bonne Bay population Scientific name Sebastes fasciatus Status Special Concern Reason for designation As with other members of the family Sebastidae, this species is long-lived (maximum age about 75 yr), late-maturing (females 50% mature at 8-10 yr in the adjacent Gulf of St. Lawrence/Laurentian Channel population), and highly vulnerable to mortality from human activities. Little is known of the biology of this designatable unit (DU). It has a small range of occurrence but there is no indication of decline. The population has been exploited by fishing in the past, but is currently closed to directed fishing. This DU is susceptible to extirpation by random events such as oil spills. Occurrence Atlantic Ocean Status history Designated Special Concern in April 2010.

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Deepwater Redfish, Gulf of St. Lawrence - Laurentian Channel population (2010)

    As with other members of the family Sebastidae, this species is long-lived (maximum age about 75 yr), late-maturing (generation time 18 yr), and highly vulnerable to mortality from human activities. Recruitment is episodic, with strong year-classes only occurring every 5-12 years. Abundance of mature individuals has declined 98% since 1984, somewhat more than one generation, and the decline has not ceased. Directed fishing and incidental harvest in fisheries for other species (bycatch) are the main known threats. Harvesting in parts of this population (Gulf of St. Lawrence) is currently limited to an index fishery, but commercial fisheries remain open in other areas (Laurentian Channel). Bycatch in shrimp fisheries has been substantially reduced since the 1990s by use of separator grates in trawls, but could still be frequent enough to affect recovery.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2010 (2010)

    Under Canada’s Species At Risk Act (SARA), the foremost function of COSEWIC is to “assess the status of each wildlife species considered by COSEWIC to be at risk and, as part of the assessment, identify existing and potential threats to the species”. During the past year, COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings and reviewed the status of 79 wildlife species (species, subspecies, populations). During the meeting of November 2009, COSEWIC assessed or reviewed the classification of the status of 28 wildlife species. COSEWIC assessed or reviewed the classification of an additional 51 wildlife species (species, subspecies and populations) during their April 2010 meeting. For species already found on Schedule 1 of SARA, the classification of 32 species was reviewed by COSEWIC and the status of the wildlife species was confirmed to be in the same category (extirpated - no longer found in the wild in Canada but occurring elsewhere, endangered, threatened or of special concern). The wildlife species assessment results for the 2009-2010 reporting period include the following: Extirpated: 6 Endangered: 39 Threatened: 16 Special Concern: 17 Data Deficient: 1 This report transmits to the Minister the status of 46 species newly classified as extirpated, endangered, threatened or of special concern, fulfilling COSEWIC’s obligations under SARA Section 24 and 25. A full detailed summary of the assessment for each species and the reason for the designation can be found in Appendix I of the attached report. Since its inception, COSEWIC has assessed 602 wildlife species in various risk categories, including 262 Endangered, 151 Threatened, 166 Special Concern and 23 Extirpated. In addition, 13 wildlife species have been assessed as Extinct. Also, to date, 46 wildlife species have been identified by COSEWIC as Data Deficient and 166 wildlife species were assessed as Not at Risk. This year has been a particularly productive year for COSEWIC’s Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge (ATK) Subcommittee. In April 2010 COSEWIC approved the Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Process and Protocol Guidelines, providing clear and agreed principles for the gathering of Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge to carry out COSEWIC functions as required under Section 15(2) of SARA (See Appendix III of the attached report). We are grateful for the rich and enthusiastic contribution made by community elders and experts in helping the ATK Subcommittee prepare the ATK protocols.

Consultation Documents

  • Redfish - Consultations on listing under the Species at Risk Act (2013)

    The Species at Risk Act acknowledges that all Canadians have a role to play in preventing the disappearance of wildlife species. Before deciding whether any of these Redfish populations will be added to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk, we would like your opinion, comments and suggestions regarding the possible ecological, cultural and economic impacts of listing or not listing these populations under the Species at Risk Act.