Species Profile

Atlantic Salmon South Newfoundland population

Scientific Name: Salmo salar
Taxonomy Group: Fishes
COSEWIC Range: Newfoundland and Labrador, Atlantic Ocean
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: November 2010
COSEWIC Status: Threatened
COSEWIC Status Criteria: A2b
COSEWIC Reason for Designation:

This species requires rivers or streams that are generally clear, cool and well-oxygenated for reproduction and the first few years of rearing, but undertakes lengthy feeding migrations in the North Atlantic Ocean as older juveniles and adults. This population breeds in rivers from the southeast tip of the Avalon Peninsula, Mistaken Point, westward along the south coast of Newfoundland to Cape Ray. The numbers of small (one-sea-winter) and large (multi-sea-winter) salmon have both declined over the last 3 generations, about 37% and 26%, respectively, for a net decline of all mature individuals of about 36%. This decline has occurred despite the fact that mortality from commercial fisheries in coastal areas has greatly declined since 1992; this may be due to poor marine survival related to substantial but incompletely understood changes in marine ecosystems. Illegal fishing is a threat in some rivers. The presence of salmon aquaculture in a small section of this area brings some risk of negative effects from interbreeding or adverse ecological interactions with escaped domestic salmon. Genetic heterogeneity among the many small rivers in this area is unusually pronounced, suggesting that rescue among river breeding populations may be somewhat less likely than in other areas.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Threatened in November 2010.
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

The Atlantic salmon is an anadromous species, meaning it reproduces in fresh water but spends part of its life at sea. Its back is blue-green, its sides are silvery with several markings that are either round or x-shaped, and its belly is white. During the reproduction period, the Atlantic Salmon loses its silver colour and takes on a greenish or reddish hue; a few large, white-edged spots then appear on its sides.

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Habitat

Atlantic salmon spawn in fresh water, generally in the river in which they were born. Juveniles spend three to six years in fresh water before migrating to salt water in the North Atlantic. After a year or more, adults return to fresh water to spawn. In freshwater habitat, the species requires clean, cool, flowing water free from chemical or organic pollution. It prefers natural streams and rivers with riffles and pools, and a gravelly bottom. The Canadian range of Atlantic salmon has been subdivided into 16 designatable units (DUs) by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) based on genetics, life history variation, environmental factors, and geographic separation. The South Newfoundland DU (DU4) of Atlantic salmon extends from the southeast tip of the Avalon Peninsula, Cape Race, westward along the south coast of Newfoundland to Cape Ray. There are currently 104 known watersheds (58 scheduled rivers) containing Atlantic salmon within the South Newfoundland DU.

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Threats

COSEWIC has identified the following threats (actual or imminent) to DU4: recreational fisheries, illegal fishing (poaching), commercial fishery in St. Pierre and Miquelon, ecological and genetic interactions with escaped domestic Atlantic salmon in a small section of this DU, and poorly understood changes in marine ecosystems resulting in reduced survival during the marine phase of their life history.

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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

  • COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Atlantic Salmon Salmo salar in Canada (2015-12-02)

    The Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar) is a member of the family Salmonidae. This species has a fusiform body shape and matures at sizes ranging from 10 to 100+ cm. Atlantic Salmon exhibit plastic life histories and may have multiple reproductive and migratory phenotypes within a population, including freshwater resident and oceanic migrant forms. All phenotypes reproduce in fresh water. The oceanic migrant (anadromous) form is the best known phenotype, and with the exception of the extinct Lake Ontario population, is the only form considered in this report. Juveniles spend 1-8 years in fresh water, then migrate to the North Atlantic for 1-4 years, and then return to fresh water to reproduce. Demographically functional units tend to be at the watershed scale, but population subdivision may occur within watersheds. The Canadian range of this species was subdivided into 16 designatable units (DUs) based on genetic data and broad patterns in life history variation, environmental variables, and geographic separation.

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Atlantic Salmon, South Newfoundland population (2011-12-08)

    This species requires rivers or streams that are generally clear, cool and well-oxygenated for reproduction and the first few years of rearing, but undertakes lengthy feeding migrations in the North Atlantic Ocean as older juveniles and adults. This population breeds in rivers from the southeast tip of the Avalon Peninsula, Mistaken Point, westward along the south coast of Newfoundland to Cape Ray. The numbers of small (one-sea-winter) and large (multi-sea-winter) salmon have both declined over the last 3 generations, about 37% and 26%, respectively, for a net decline of all mature individuals of about 36%. This decline has occurred despite the fact that mortality from commercial fisheries in coastal areas has greatly declined since 1992; this may be due to poor marine survival related to substantial but incompletely understood changes in marine ecosystems. Illegal fishing is a threat in some rivers. The presence of salmon aquaculture in a small section of this area brings some risk of negative effects from interbreeding or adverse ecological interactions with escaped domestic salmon. Genetic heterogeneity among the many small rivers in this area is unusually pronounced, suggesting that rescue among river breeding populations may be somewhat less likely than in other areas.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2010 - 2011 (2011-09-09)

    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”. COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings during the past year assessing the status or reviewing the classification of a total of 92 wildlife species.

Consultation Documents

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