Species Profile

Spotted Gar

Scientific Name: Lepisosteus oculatus
Taxonomy Group: Fishes
COSEWIC Range: Ontario
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: November 2015
COSEWIC Status: Endangered
COSEWIC Status Criteria: B2ab(iii)
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: This species has a very limited distribution in Canada and populations are known from only three coastal wetlands of Lake Erie. Shallow vegetated habitats that are required for all life stages continue to be degraded and are at risk from invasive aquatic vegetation, removal of native vegetation, filling, dredging, and siltation.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Special Concern in April 1983. Status re-examined and confirmed in April 1994. Status re-examined and designated Threatened in November 2000 and in May 2005. Status re-examined and designated Endangered in November 2015.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Endangered
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2003-06-05

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.

Go to advanced search

Quick Links: | Photo | Description | Distribution and Population | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | Recovery Initiatives | Recovery Team | National Recovery Program | Documents

Image of Spotted Gar

Spotted Gar Photo 1

Top

Description

The Spotted Gar is a long, cylindrical, primitive fish. It possesses a velvety brown colouring with conspicuous dark spots on snout, head, flanks and fins. Dorsal and anal fins are well back, close to the caudal fin. The species is distinguished from the Longnose Gar by head colour and snout length: Spotted Gars have spotted heads and wide snouts, whereas Longnose Gars have olive-brown to dark-green heads and long, narrow snouts. The Spotted Gar may reach 112 centimeters in length, 13 kilograms in weight. More commonly, it is found to reach 28 to 60 centimeters in length and 1 kilogram in weight. Females grow larger and live longer than males.

Top

Distribution and Population

Historically, Spotted Gar only existed in Canadian waters. Today it is essentially a southern species, occurring in all states of the U.S.A. bounded by the Gulf of Mexico, but it also extends north into the Mississippi River and Great Lakes drainages. It has been reported from Mississippi north through Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri to Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. The northern range limit in Canadian waters is the Great Lakes basin. Collection records are sparse but date back to 1913. Only 11 occurrences were recorded in Canadian waters in 1980. Since then, at least five additional specimens have been obtained from Rondeau Bay and Rondeau Harbour, which are both located on Lake Erie. The species occurs in small numbers in the Long Point Bay and Point Pelee regions of Lake Erie. It has also been captured in Lake St. Clair, albeit sporadically. The status of the sustained population is not clear. Specimens previously captured could represent members of a breeding population or could be transients from Lake Erie.

Top

Habitat

The species inhabits quiet bays and backwater areas along Lake Erie's north shore. Sites where the fish have been captured usually have dense aquatic vegetation. Lake-bottom habitats are characteristically composed of clays, organic debris and soft muck. It is tolerant of warm waters and low dissolved oxygen levels and can survive in these conditions for a long time.

Top

Biology

Males mature when they are two or three years old. Females mature in their third or fourth year. The life expectancy for Canadian populations is not known. Pairs spawn during the spring in shallow warm water where aquatic vegetation is abundant. Semi-adhesive eggs are spread over water plants, submerged brush and debris. The eggs hatch within a week. Larvae cling to aquatic plants and debris or hang from the surface film by their disc-like jaws. Gars are voracious predators. Yellow perch and minnows form a large part of their diet, but virtually all fish sharing the same habitat constitute viable food. A young gar's diet includes mosquito larvae and small crustaceans. Spotted Gar flesh is edible, but not preferred and eggs are toxic to mammals. All gars have indirect connections between their nasal openings and their swim bladder, which is rich in blood vessels and is used as a functional lung. These features enable gars to come to the water surface and breathe air.

Top

Threats

Habitat destruction of the north shore of Lake Erie could have a serious effect on the lake's Spotted Gar populations. Due to the gar's voracious feeding habits, it is often killed by fishers who have difficulty differentiating it from the Longnose Gar.

Top

Protection

Federal Protection

The Spotted Gar is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.

The federal Fisheries Act prohibits destruction of fish habitat. The Spotted Gar occurs in Point Pelee National Park, where it is protected under the Canada National Parks Act. It is also found in Rondeau Provincial Park. Under SARA, critical habitat on federal lands must be legally protected from destruction within 180 days after it is identified in a recovery strategy or in an action plan. Critical habitat protection for the Spotted Gar will be accomplished through the application of the Species at Risk Act (SARA), including subsection 58(1) which prohibits the destruction of any part of the identified critical habitat. Therefore, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans invites all interested Canadians to submit comments within the next 60 days on the potential use of the prohibition in subsection 58(1) of SARA to protect the critical habitat of the Spotted Gar.

Provincial and Territorial Protection

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

Top

Recovery Initiatives

Status of Recovery Planning

Recovery Strategies :

Name Recovery Strategy for the Spotted Gar (Lepisosteus oculatus) in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry

Top

Recovery Team

Essex-Erie Recovery Team

  • Shawn Staton - Chair/Contact - Fisheries and Oceans Canada
    Phone: 905-336-4864  Fax: 905-336-6437  Send Email

Ontario Freshwater Fish Recovery Team

  • Amy Boyko - Chair/Contact - Fisheries and Oceans Canada
    Phone: 905-336-6236  Fax: 905-336-6437  Send Email
  • Shawn Staton - Chair/Contact - Fisheries and Oceans Canada
    Phone: 905-336-4864  Fax: 905-336-6437  Send Email

Top

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.

111 record(s) found.

Reports on the Progress of Recovery Document Implementation

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC assessment and update status report on the spotted gar Lepisosteus oculatus in Canada (2016-10-13)

    The Spotted Gar (Lepisosteus oculatus) is a member of a family of ray-finned fishes, the Lepisosteidae. It is characterized by a long, narrow body; long, relatively broad snout (length 43.6-82.8% of head length, least width 9.9-16.0% of snout length); short, deep caudal peduncle (least depth 43.4-49.4% of caudal peduncle length); and a rounded, abbreviate heterocercal caudal fin. The body of the Spotted Gar is olive-green to velvety brown with a lighter underside. Darker brown spots are present on the snout, head, body, and fins. The Spotted Gar is one of two gar species native to Canada. In comparison to the other native gar species, Longnose Gar (Lepisosteus osseus), the Spotted Gar has a shorter, wider snout and a shorter, deeper caudal peduncle.

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Spotted Gar (2017-01-11)

    This species has a very limited distribution in Canada and populations are known from only three coastal wetlands of Lake Erie. Shallow vegetated habitats that are required for all life stages continue to be degraded and are at risk from invasive aquatic vegetation, removal of native vegetation, filling, dredging, and siltation.
  • Response Statements - Spotted Gar (2005-11-15)

    This species has a very limited range in Canada where it is only known from three coastal wetlands in Lake Erie. Although its distribution is likely limited by temperature, some of the shallow vegetated habitats that it requires for all life stages are subject to the impacts of siltation, dredging, filling, and aquatic vegetation removal and harbour improvements.

Recovery Strategies

  • Recovery Strategy for the Spotted Gar (Lepisosteus oculatus) in Canada (2012-10-30)

    The Spotted Gar is a relatively large (up to 760 mm in total length), heavily armoured, predatory species with a long, narrow body and elongated snout with many sharp teeth. The back and upper sides are olive green to velvety brown above the lateral line, dull silvery below, and adults have brown spots on the snout, head, body and fins. The Spotted Gar is distinguished from the more common Longnose Gar by its shorter, wider snout. Although globally secure, the Spotted Gar is at the northern extent of its range in southern Ontario and was never common. Extant populations occur within three shallow, heavily vegetated coastal wetlands of Lake Erie (Long Point Bay, Point Pelee National Park and Rondeau Bay). Additionally, new records exist for East Lake and Hamilton Harbour (Lake Ontario drainage); however, it is not known whether reproducing populations exist at these locations as only one individual has been confirmed from each location (in 2007 and 2010, respectively). Historic records of Spotted Gar include single specimens from both Lake St. Clair and the Bay of Quinte (Lake Ontario). Threats to Spotted Gar populations include overall habitat loss (due to dredging, filling and harbour improvements), sediment and nutrient loading, exotic species, barriers restricting movement, climate change and possibly fishing pressure (commercial/recreational incidental harvest). 2012/10/30 The Final Recovery Strategy for the Spotted Gar has been reposted due to issues with the translation of the French version, posted on September 24, 2012.

Action Plans

  • Multi-species Action Plan for Point Pelee National Park of Canada and Niagara National Historic Sites of Canada (2016-07-05)

    The Multi-species Action Plan for Point Pelee National Park of Canada and the Niagara National Historic Sites of Canada applies to lands and waters occurring within the boundaries of the two sites: Point Pelee National Park of Canada (PPNP) and the Niagara National Historic Sites of Canada (NNHS). The NNHS is being used as a term to collectively refer to two locations in the Niagara region that consist of three National Historic Sites: Fort George National Historic Site, Battlefield of Fort George National Historic Site, and Butler’s Barracks National Historic Sites of Canada. The plan meets the requirements for action plans set out in the Species At Risk Act (SARA s.47) for species requiring an action plan and that regularly occur in these sites. Measures described in this plan will also provide benefits for other species of conservation concern that regularly occur at PPNP and at NNHS.

Orders

  • Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act (Volume 153, Number 17, 2019) (2019-08-21)

    Biodiversity is rapidly declining at all scales, from local to global, as a result of a variety of human activities that increase the rates of species extinction. Current extinction rates are estimated to be between 1 000 and 10 000 times higher than the natural background rate. Higher species diversity positively supports healthy and productive ecosystems that are more resilient to disturbances, and, given the interdependency of species, a loss of biodiversity can lead to a declining resilience of ecosystem functions and services (e.g. natural processes such as pest control, pollination, coastal wave attenuation, pharmaceutical products, temperature regulation and carbon fixing). These services are vital to the health of all Canadians and are important for Canada’s economic well-being. Biodiversity loss can therefore result in adverse, irreversible and broad-ranging effects on Canadians.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2005 (2005-08-12)

    2005 Annual Report to the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (CESCC) from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.
  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2015-2016 (2016-10-13)

    Over the past year COSEWIC re-examined the status of 25 wildlife species; of these, the majority (68%) were re-assessed at the same or lower level of risk. Of a total of 45 species assessed, seven were assigned a status of Not at Risk (two re-assessments and five new assessments). To date, and with the submission of this report, COSEWIC’s assessments now include 724 wildlife species in various risk categories, including 320 Endangered, 172 Threatened, 209 Special Concern, and 23 Extirpated (i.e., no longer found in the wild in Canada). In addition, 15 wildlife species have been assessed as Extinct, 54 wildlife species have been designated as Data Deficient, and 177 have been assessed and assigned Not at Risk status.

Permits and Related Agreements

  • Explanation for issuing other simliar documents(#19-HCAA-01966 ), persuant to the provisions of section 74 of SARA (2020-08-25)

    The purpose of this project is to use Round-up (Glyphosate), a herbicide, to manage the control and spread of Phragmites australis as part of an invasive species management plan that is being completed in partnership between the Canadian Wildlife Service, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and the Nature Conservancy of Canada. The project will take place on federal lands where there is a need to control the invasive aquatic reed Phragmites to support wetland rehabilitation, the restoration of fish habitat, and the protection of Spotted Gar (Lepisosteus oculatus), Pugnose Shiner (Notropis anogenus), and Lake Chubsucker (Erimyzon sucetta), all of which all have critical habitat in this area and are protected under the Species at Risk Act. The works include the aerial and ground spraying of herbicides in combination with mechanical removal. According to the proponent, since 2006, Phragmites has increased in coverage inside the Big Creek National Wildlife Area, and at both the Thoroughfare Unit and Squires Ridge of the Long Point National Wildlife Area. The project involves both the spraying of deleterious substances combined with mechanical rolling, resulting in a maximum total footprint of 550,530 m2 of Phragmites removal. The proponent states that this integrated management approach (combining physical management with herbicide application) is consistent with established best management practices for Phragmites control. Based on aerial imaging, a review of the proponent's application and the relevant recovery strategies, it was determined that the fringe/overspray areas would be considered critical habitat. Approximately 35,530 m2 of critical habitat for Spotted Gar, Pugnose Shiner, and Lake Chubsucker will be destroyed and an offsetting plan has been developed that will offset impacts to the critical habitat. The proposed offsetting will result in a minimum of 515,000 m2 of habitat created. This integrated management approach has been applied in the United States for over 40 years and has an established history of success.
  • Explanation for issuing other simliar documents(#20-HCAA-01397 ), persuant to the provisions of section 74 of SARA (2020-08-21)

    The purpose of this project is to use Round-up, Glyphosate, which is a herbicide used to manage the control and spread of Phragmites australis as part of an invasive species management plan that is being completed by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. The project is being completed to support wetland rehabilitation, the restoration of fish habitat, and the protection of Spotted Gar (Lepisosteus oculatus), Pugnose Shiner (Notropis anogenus), and Lake Chubsucker (Erimyzon sucetta) all of which all have critical habitat in this area and are protected under the Species at Risk Act. The project involves both the spraying of deleterious substances combined with mechanical rolling. The proponent states that this integrated management approach (combining physical management with herbicide application) is consistent with established best management practices for Phragmites control. Based on aerial imaging, a review of the proponent's application and the relevant recovery strategies it was determined that 386,170 m2 will be sprayed or mechanically removed below the high water mark and includes the destruction of 67,700 m2 of Spotted Gar, Pugnose Shiner, and Lake Chubsucker critical habitat within the Long Point Crown Marsh.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(# DFO-15-PCAA-00008), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2015-04-10)

    This is an annual young-of-year (YOY) index survey on Lake St. Clair that has been carried out intermittently since 1979. This program is used to assess YOY abundance and diversity of key economically and ecologically important species in addition to the nearshore fish community composition and abundance. Fixed sites on the lake allow changes in community structure to be tracked, relative abundance and presence of aquatic invasive fish through time.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#17-PCAA-00001), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2017-03-10)

    The St. Clair Region Conservation Authority (SCRCA) is sampling fish and mussels in several locations for presence/absence data. Currently, fish and mussel data is lacking in these areas. Baseline data will be collected to assist in future project proposals and inquiries. Benthic sampling will be undertaken for watershed characterization to allow the SCRCA to assess water quality throughout the watershed. Data obtained will assist the SCRCA in the identification of potential rehabilitation sites and impact monitoring.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#17-PCAA-00005), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2017-04-06)

    The purpose of the activity is early detection surveillance sampling for Asian carps. Sampling is planned for near shore and tributaries throughout the Canadian waters of the Great Lakes basin. A total of 36 early detection sites have been selected in the Great Lakes basin. Combinations of sampling gears are deployed at each site in order in target all life-stages of Asian carps. A community assessment of the fishes present in the areas is collected. Field sampling techniques include a combination of passive and active fish sampling gears. A combination of gear types has proven to be the most effective method for detecting the majority of fishes in a specific habitat type.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#17-PCAA-00006), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2017-04-07)

    This is an annual young-of-year (YOY) index survey of Lake St. Clair that has been carried out intermittently since 1979. This program is used to assess YOY abundance and diversity of key economically and ecologically important species in addition to the nearshore fish community composition and abundance. Fixed sites on the lake allow changes in the community structure relative abundances and presences of aquatic invasive species and species at risk to be tracked through time. Collection is carried out using a 30' long 1/8" mesh beach scene in 2m of water or less during daylight hours. Seine hauls are carried out perpendicular to the shore and are approximately 30m in length. Captured fishes are identified, enumerated and released on site.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#17-PCAA-00010), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2017-04-10)

    The goal of this research is to assess the status of freshwater fishes in southwestern Ontario wetlands in order to inform the management, conservation, and restoration of these systems. Wetlands in will be surveyed to assemble fish community data and assess the status of fishes at risk in these regions. Eight weeks of fieldwork in wetlands throughout southwestern Ontario will be completed in the summer of 2017. The eight weeks of fieldwork will include seining and mini fyke nets.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#17-PCAA-00011), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2017-04-10)

    This is a monitoring project to investigate the use and suitability of newly created wetland sites at Crown Marsh; sampling will occur annually. Study design permits characterization of successional changes. Each summer, fishes are sampled by five hauls of a bag seine within a 75 m2 area, enclosed by a block-net. At each site, fish and macrophyte sampling take place at 10 randomly selected points. Visual estimates are used to characterize aquatic macrophyte species composition and submersed plant coverage. The same sampling methods will be applied to: 1) inventory fishes in currently isolated ponds; and, 2) characterize changes to fish assemblage composition over a three-year period after isolated ponds are connected to Long Point Bay.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#17-PCAA-00012), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2017-04-12)

    The Biodiversity Science Section of the Great Lakes Laboratory for Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (GLLFAS) will be conducting a survey of Spotted Gar spawning habitat in Rondeau Bay, Ontario. Since 2015 the GLLFAS Biodiversity Lab has been tracking Spotted Gar to determine spawning locations in Rondeau Bay. This three year study will conclude in 2017 as the telemetry tags will stop working this year. The macrophyte component of this study will involve identifying spawning sites with telemetry tracking. Once sites are identified, a randomized search of these locations will be conducted to determine macrophyte preferences of Spotted Gar. Within each location 10 quadrat samples will be collected of aquatic macrophytes. Spotted Gar eggs may be encountered; eggs will be collected along with the macrophytes to be counted to determine egg density within each quadrat. Macrophyte species preferences for egg adhesion will also be assessed.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#19-HCAA-00158 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2019-08-07)

    Phragmites australis is an invasive species that is expanding exponentially in Long Point Bay displacing native species and limiting critical habitat for numerous species at risk. A method that has been used in the United States but is relatively new to Canada includes applying a custom made herbicide, RoundUp (active ingredient glyphosate), with AquaSurf (a surfactant), which has been shown to be effective at reducing Phragmites density and spread. This project is an extension of the works that the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF) has conducted in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and is proposed for 2019 in Long Point Bay and Rondeau Bay as part of a 5-year pilot project to determine the effectiveness of this method in Canada. The current proposal is to treat a total of 9.7 hectares in the following locations in Long Point Bay by ground application: Otter Pond (0.4 ha), Long Pond (4 ha), and Brown's Marsh (5.3 ha). This activity may result in the incidental harm, harassment, or death of Pugnose Shiner (Notropis anogenus), Lake Chubsucker (Erimyzon sucetta), Eastern Pondmussel (Ligumia nasuta), Rainbow (Villosa iris), Spotted Gar (Lepisosteus oculatus), or Eastern Sand Darter (Ammocrypta pellucida) (Ontario populations) resulting from the application of herbicide, use of heavy equipment for spraying by ground, or oxygen depletion from vegetative die-off.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#19-HCAA-00700 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2019-08-06)

    Phragmites australis is an invasive species that is expanding exponentially in Long Point Bay and Rondeau Bay, displacing native species and limiting critical habitat for numerous species at risk. A method that has been used in the United States but is relatively new to Canada includes applying a custom made herbicide, RoundUp (active ingredient glyphosate), with AquaSurf (a surfactant), which has been shown to be effective at reducing Phragmites density and spread. This project is an extension of the works that the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF) conducted in 2016, 2017 and 2018 in Long Point Bay and Rondeau Bay as part of a 5-year pilot project to determine the effectiveness of this method in Canada. The current proposal is to treat a total of 48 hectares in the following locations in Rondeau Bay and Long Point Bay by ground application: Rondeau Provincial Park (10 ha), Long Point Bay (5 ha), Turkey Point Region (1 ha), Lower Big Creek Marshes (6 ha), Big Creek Watershed (20 ha), North Shore of the Inner Bay (6 ha), and as required where regrowth is observed in Long Point Bay. This activity may result in the incidental harm, harassment, or death of Eastern Pondmussel (Ligumia nasuta), Round Pigtoe (Pleurobema sintoxia), Lake Chubsucker (Erimyzon sucetta), Pugnose Shiner (Notropis anogenus), Kidneyshell (Ptychobranchus fasciolaris), Rainbow (Villosa iris), Round Hickorynut (Obovaria subrotunda), Mapleleaf (Great Lakes - Upper St. Lawrence River populations) (Quadrula quadrula), Spotted Gar (Lepisosteus oculatus), or Eastern Sand Darter (Ammocrypta pellucida) (Ontario populations) resulting from the application of herbicide, use of heavy equipment for spraying by ground, or oxygen depletion from vegetative die-off.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#19-PCAA-00001 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2019-02-06)

    The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF) is conducting a fish community survey in the Inner Long Point Bay of Lake Erie in March to May of 2019. This is a new program and is anticipated to take place annually. The gear used will be 4' hoop nets at 36 sites. Net sets will be 24 hours long. All species captured during the study will be identified, counted, and a subset measured for total length (up to 20 individuals). There is a spring commercial hoop net fishery in the Inner Bay and OMNRF wishes to perform an independent survey using the same gear during the same time period. It is probable that an at-risk species will be captured during the survey. However, it is expected that there will be minimal impacts on species at risk (SAR) populations because the gear being used is non-lethal, and captured fishes will be live released back into the lake at the site of capture. These activities may result in the incidental harm, harassment or death of the species listed on the permit resulting from capture, processing, and release.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#19-PCAA-00019 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2019-06-10)

    The objective of the activities covered by the permit is to conduct a survey of the fish communities in Point Pelee National Park (PPNP) ponds, including a mark-recapture study to determine habitat use in the park. This survey would consist of setting fyke nets over a four week period. Sampling may result in the capture of the species listed on this permit. The activities authorized by the permit consist of: 1. The capture of Lake Chubsucker (Erimyzon sucetta), Pugnose Shiner (Notropis anogenus) and/or Spotted Gar (Lepisosteus oculatus) from the locations listed on this permit using fyke nets. Sixty fyke net sets will occur over a two-week period and will be repeated (total of four weeks of sampling); 2. The handling of the species listed on the permit for the purposes of identification and processing (count, measure, photograph, tag, etc.). With the exception of vouchers that may be retained to confirm identification, all fishes will be released alive after processing. Vouchers will be collected using digital cameras but some vouchers of smaller fishes may be retained, in 10% formalin, to confirm identification (if digital vouchers cannot be collected). Captured Lake Chubsucker (>75 mm total length) and Spotted Gar will be tagged with a passive integrated transponder (PIT) tag, fin clip, and visible implant elastomer (VIE) tag following Fisheries and Oceans Canada's (DFO's) animal use tagging procedures; and, 3. The possession and transport of any of the species listed on the permit killed incidentally or for vouchering purposes, preserved in 10% formalin.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#19-PCAA-00022), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2019-05-13)

    The objectives of the activities covered by the permit are to determine the use and suitability of newly created wetland sites within Crown Marsh (Long Point Bay, Lake Erie) via annual sampling. Sampling methods will be applied to inventory fishes in currently isolated ponds and characterize changes to fish assemblage composition over a 4-year period after the isolated ponds are connected to Long Point Bay. The species listed on the permit may be captured incidentally during the course of the work. The activities authorized by the permit consist of the capture of the species listed on the permit using a bag seine during surveys within the Crown Marsh property. Fishes will be sampled by five hauls of a bag seine within a 75 m2 area, enclosed by a block-net. At each site, fish and macrophyte sampling will take place at 10 randomly selected points. Identification and processing (count, measure, photograph etc.) of fishes will require the handling of the species listed on the permit. Vouchers will be collected using digital cameras, but some vouchers of smaller fishes may be retained, in 10% formalin, to confirm identification (if digital vouchers cannot be collected). With the exception of vouchers that may be retained to confirm identification, all fishes will be released alive after processing.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#19-PCAA-00034 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2019-06-10)

    The objective of the activities covered by the permit is to conduct a survey of the fish communities within the drains of Rondeau Bay and to showcase species at risk (SAR) research with a focus on Spotted Gar (Lepisosteus oculatus) and its habitat, as part of a public outreach initiative partnership between Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and Fish Heads (children's television program). Sampling may result in the capture of Lake Chubsucker (Erimyzon sucetta) and/or Spotted Gar. The activities authorized by the permit consist of: 1. The capture of Lake Chubsucker and/or Spotted Gar from Rondeau Bay using fyke nets. Sampling will occur over a two- to three-day period. A limited number of fyke nets will be used as the likelihood of capturing Spotted Gar in Rondeau Bay is quite high; 2. The handling of Lake Chubsucker and/or Spotted Gar for the purposes of identification and processing (count, measure, photograph, tag, etc.). All fishes will be released alive after processing. Vouchers will be collected using digital cameras; and, 3. The possession and transport of Lake Chubsucker and/or Spotted Gar killed incidentally, preserved in 10% formalin.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#19-PCAA-00038 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2019-05-30)

    The objective of the activities covered by the permit is to sample municipal drains for the purpose of classifying unrated drains following the Classifying Ontario Municipal Drains Protocol (Fisheries and Oceans Canada). As fisheries assessments have not been previously conducted on many unrated municipal drains, the species listed on the permit may inhabit these drains and may be captured incidentally during the course of the work. The activities authorized by the permit include: 1. The incidental capture of species at risk (SAR) from the locations listed on the permit using seine nets and/or backpack electrofishing units. Within each sample site, approximately 40 m or 10x the wetted width of the watercourse will be sampled for fishes using either a backpack electrofisher, or a seine net depending on habitat suitability. Within the sample site, block nets will be set up and a minimum of three passes will be completed; 2. The handling of the listed SAR for the purposes of identification (count, measure, photograph, etc.). With the exception of vouchers that may be retained to confirm identification, all fishes will be released alive after processing. Vouchers will be collected using digital cameras for larger fishes and all mussels; however, some vouchers of smaller fishes may be retained in 10% formalin or 95% ethanol to confirm identification (if digital vouchers cannot be collected); and, 3. The possession and transport of any of the listed species that are killed incidentally or for vouchering purposes, preserved in 10% formalin or 95% ethanol.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#20-HCAA-00941 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2020-07-02)

    The objectives of the activities covered by the permit are to undertake baseline fish community surveys and habitat assessments in order to quantify the impacts of the proposed Long Point Causeway Bridge replacement works on resident species at risk and their habitat; and, determine the success or failure of proposed offsetting measures. The activities authorized by the permit consist of: 1. The capture of species listed on the permit using seine and fyke nets in four locations in Long Point, Ontario; 2. The handling of the species listed on the permit for the purposes of identification (count, measure, and photograph). With the exception of vouchers that may be retained to confirm identification, all species at risk fishes will be released alive after processing and any mussels encountered will be photographed and released alive at the location of capture; and, 3. The possession and transport of any of the species listed on the permit killed incidentally or for vouchering purposes.
  • >> See more Permits and Related Agreements documents

Critical Habitat Descriptions in the Canada Gazette

  • Description of critical habitat of the Spotted Gar in Point Pelee National Park of Canada and Big Creek National Wildlife Area (2016-10-15)

    Notice is hereby given that, pursuant to subsection 58(2) of the Species at Risk Act, subsection 58(1) of that Act applies, 90 days after publication of this notice, to the critical habitat of the Spotted Gar, as identified in the recovery strategy on the Species at Risk Public Registry, within the following federally protected areas: Point Pelee National Park of Canada, the boundaries of which are described in Schedule 1 of the Canada National Parks Act, and the Big Creek Unit of Big Creek National Wildlife Area, the boundaries of which are described in Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Area Regulations made pursuant to the Canada Wildlife Act. For greater certainty, critical habitat in Big Creek National Wildlife Area is identified within the contiguous waters and wetlands of the Big Creek Unit to the low-head dike, saving and excepting the interior diked cell.

Critical Habitat Orders

  • Critical Habitat of the Spotted Gar (Lepisosteus oculatus) Order (2017-12-13)

    The long-term recovery goal (greater than 20 years), set out in the Recovery Strategy, is to protect, enhance and maintain viable Spotted Gar populations within the three coastal wetlands of Lake Erie, where extant populations occur. Efforts to achieve this recovery goal are ongoing and involve a number of recovery objectives outlined in the Recovery Strategy. Current threats to the Spotted Gar, as identified in the Recovery Strategy, are related to habitat modifications (e.g. dredging, infilling along shorelines, shoreline hardening, channelization and drainage works, installation of docks and piers), aquatic vegetation removal, sediment and nutrient loadings, exotic species, climate change, and barriers to movement, as well as fishing (incidental harvest). While there has been measurable progress towards meeting the recovery goal and objectives and performance indicators presented in the Recovery Strategy, additional information on the species’ ecology, population dynamics and distribution is required. Protection of critical habitat is an important component of ensuring the recovery of the Spotted Gar, particularly given its extremely limited distribution.
Date modified: