Species Profile

Roundnose Grenadier

Scientific Name: Coryphaenoides rupestris
Taxonomy Group: Fishes
COSEWIC Range: Arctic Ocean, Atlantic Ocean
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: November 2008
COSEWIC Status: Endangered
COSEWIC Status Criteria: A2b
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: Survey data indices of adult numbers show declines of 98% from 1978 to 1994 with a further decline from 1995 to 2003.  Although much of the population lives at depths greater than those surveyed, adding uncertainty to the assessment, this constitutes the best available information to assess species status. The species is long-lived (60 yr) and matures late (around 10 yr) which makes it susceptible to human-caused mortality. Commercial catches were high in the 1960s and 1970s but have since declined, although harvest still occurs.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Endangered in November 2008.
SARA Status: No schedule, No Status
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd):

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.

Please note that this information is provided for general information purposes only. For the most up to date and accurate list of species listed under the Species at Risk Act, please see the Justice Laws Website.

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

Description

Roundnose Grenadier (Coryphaenoides rupestris) is a deepwater, marine fish. It belongs to the family Macrouridae, a family commonly referred to as “rattails”. It has the following characteristics: • Body is short and slightly compressed, with a long, tapering, pointed tail; • Broad, compressed head with a soft, rounded snout; • Small barbel on chin, and a button-shaped plate on the tip of its snout; • Medium brown to grey in colour, with brownish-grey to black fins and mouth; • Can grow to 110 cm in length and weigh 1.7 kg; and • Can live to at least 72 years of age.

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Habitat

Roundnose Grenadier is found on the continental slopes and the mid-Atlantic ridge of the North Atlantic Ocean. In the west, its range extends northwards from Cape Hatteras to Baffin Island and Greenland. In the east, its range extends from North Africa to Norway. In Canadian waters, this species is most abundant from Davis Strait, on the continental slope off of Newfoundland and Labrador, and along the edge of the Grand Banks to Georges Bank. It is sometimes captured on the Scotian Shelf. Roundnose Grenadier is a deepwater fish that forms large schools. It is most abundant at depths of 400–1,200 m and has been reported as deep as 2,600 m. It prefers habitat with little or no current and water temperatures of 3.5–4.5 °C. Owing to its preference for deep waters, life stages of the Roundnose Grenadier are not well understood. Exact timing of spawning is unknown and may occur throughout the year. The eggs are round, 2.4 mm in diameter, free-floating, and are fertilized externally during a spawning event (known as “batch” spawning). This species has a low fecundity, a slow growth rate, and is late to mature. Females mature at about 10 years of age. Despite being very slow swimmers, Roundnose Grenadiers undergo seasonal migrations (possibly following preferred water temperatures or prey), as well as daily vertical migrations of more than 1,000 m off of the ocean floor (to feed on shrimp, shrimp-like crustaceans, squids, and small fish).

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Threats

Fishing is the principal threat to Roundnose Grenadier. In the late 1950s–1960s, Roundnose Grenadier was harvested commercially through a targeted fishery. Directed fishing of Roundnose Grenadier has been under moratorium in North Atlantic Fisheries Organization Subareas 0, 2, and 3 since 1997. However, Roundnose Grenadier can be a significant bycatch in deepwater fisheries such as those targeting Greenland Halibut (Reinhardtius hippoglossoides). Outside of Canadian waters, the Roundnose Grenadier fishery is not regulated, with the exception of net mesh size. To date, there are no signs of population recovery for Roundnose Grenadier in Canadian waters. Roundnose Grenadier populations are very susceptible to mortality caused by humans, because of their life-history characteristics (long lifespan, slow growth rates, late maturity and low fecundity) that limit this species' recovery after a disturbance.

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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.

4 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Roundnose Grenadier (2009-11-25)

    Survey data indices of adult numbers show declines of 98% from 1978 to 1994 with a further decline from 1995 to 2003.  Although much of the population lives at depths greater than those surveyed, adding uncertainty to the assessment, this constitutes the best available information to assess species status. The species is long-lived (60 yr) and matures late (around 10 yr) which makes it susceptible to human-caused mortality. Commercial catches were high in the 1960s and 1970s but have since declined, although harvest still occurs.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2009 (2009-08-28)

    2009 Annual Report to the The Minister of the Environment and the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (CESCC) from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.

Consultation Documents

  • Roundnose Grenadier Consultations on listing under the Species at Risk Act (2015-01-15)

    Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA) provides legal protection for wildlife species at risk to conserve biological diversity.  It also acknowledges that all Canadians have a role to play in the conservation of wildlife species. Before deciding whether Roundnose Grenadier (Coryphaenoides rupestris) will be added to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk, we would like to hear your opinion, comments, and suggestions regarding the possible ecological, cultural, and economic impacts of listing or not listing this species under SARA.
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