Species Profile

Copper Redhorse

Scientific Name: Moxostoma hubbsi
Taxonomy Group: Fishes
COSEWIC Range: Quebec
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: May 2014
COSEWIC Status: Endangered
COSEWIC Status Criteria: B1ab(i,iii,iv,v)+2ab(i,iii,iv,v)
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: This long-lived, late-to-mature fish is endemic to Canada where it is known from only three locations, one of which is probably extirpated. The species is exposed to many threats, the most severe of which include habitat degradation and fragmentation, eutrophication, and impacts of invasive species.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Threatened in April 1987. Status re-examined and designated Endangered in November 2004 and May 2014.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Endangered
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2007-12-13

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: | Photo | Description | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | Recovery Initiatives | National Recovery Program | Documents

Image of Copper Redhorse

Copper Redhorse Photo 1

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Description

Weighing more than 5 kg and with a length generally greater than 50 cm, it is the largest of Quebec’s redhorses. It also lives the longest, reaching thirty years of age. This copper tinted fish with large scales has robust teeth, particularly well adapted to crush the shells of its preys.

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Distribution and Population

The distribution range of the copper redhorse is restricted to the St. Lawrence River, from Lake Saint-Louis to Lake Saint-Pierre, and to the Milles Îles, des Prairies and Richelieu rivers. Copper redhorse population size estimates remain uncertain, numbering them at the most a few hundred individuals. Distribution map: http://www.sararegistry.gc.ca/images/maps2/distribution_75_eng.jpg (long description of map: http://www.sararegistry.gc.ca/document/doc1565f/p1_e.cfm#_F2ld)

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Habitat

The copper redhorse lives in shallow grass-beds around the islands in the St. Lawrence River and its lakes. These grass-beds provide plenty of gastropods, which represent 90% of the copper redhorse’s food resources. Known spawning grounds are located in the Richelieu River, below the Saint-Ours dam and in the Chambly rapids. After hatching, the copper redhorse fry will find shelter and food in the grass-beds along the river.

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Biology

Several characteristics of the species’ biology and ecology increase its vulnerability. For example, spawning activity takes place late in the season, exposing the copper redhorse to lower water levels and a shorter growing season for fry which are consequently smaller in size when facing their first winter. The spawning period of the copper redhorse also coincides with the pesticide application period and therefore to peaks in concentrations of these pollutants in rivers.

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Threats

Many studies carried out since the early 1990s demonstrate that the copper redhorse has difficulties reproducing naturally and that the population is aging.This species’ habitat is under great pressure from agriculture, urbanisation and recreational activities. Habitat degradation is related to the majority of the threats to the recovery of the copper redhorse. This degradation can be caused by erosion and increased suspended matter owing to agriculture, deforestation and urbanisation, by contamination of water with pollutants disrupting the reproduction process, and by the premature aging of the rivers. Dams that fragment habitat and represent obstacles to migration, decreased water levels and disturbance by boaters and anglers are other threats to the copper redhorse.

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Protection

Federal Protection

The Copper Redhorse 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.

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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Recovery Initiatives

Status of Recovery Planning

Recovery Strategies :

Name Recovery Strategy for the Copper Redhorse (Moxostoma hubbsi) in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry

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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.

71 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Copper Redhorse (2015-01-13)

    This long-lived, late-to-mature fish is endemic to Canada where it is known from only three locations, one of which is probably extirpated. The species is exposed to many threats, the most severe of which include habitat degradation and fragmentation, eutrophication, and impacts of invasive species.
  • Response Statements - Copper Redhorse (2005-11-15)

    This species is endemic to Canada where it is now known from only three locations in southwestern Quebec that possibly represent a single population. The distribution and abundance of the species have been severely reduced due to a number of anthropogenic factors (e.g., urban development, agricultural practices, and the construction of dams) that have contributed to a decrease in water quality and habitat availability. The recent introduction of exotic species such as zebra mussel may further impact habitat quality.

Recovery Strategies

  • Recovery Strategy for the Copper Redhorse (Moxostoma hubbsi) in Canada (2012-06-20)

    The Copper Redhorse (Moxostoma hubbsi) is the only fish whose distribution is exclusively restricted to Quebec. This range is restricted even further to the St. Lawrence River and some of its tributaries. At the present time, the Richelieu River is the only body of water in which reproductive activity has been confirmed. The Copper Redhorse population is in decline. Several threats to the recovery of the species have been identified: habitat degradation (sedimentation, degradation of riparian environment, eutrophication, organic pollution), construction of dams, contaminants, exotic or introduced species, recreational activities, commercial fishery, and low water levels. Certain biological characteristics of the Copper Redhorse such as the late age of sexual maturity, late spawning activities and specialized diet contribute to its vulnerability.

Action Plans

  • Multi-species Action Plan for La Mauricie National Park and National Historic Sites of La Mauricie and Western Quebec regions (2020-10-06)

    The Multi-species Action Plan for La Mauricie National Park and Canada's national historic sites (NHS) that are part of the Mauricie and Western Quebec Field Unit (MWQFU) applies to the land and waters within the boundaries of La Mauricie National Park (LMNP) and 13 NHSs in Quebec: Obadjiwan–Fort Témiscamingue; Forges-du-Saint-Maurice; Fort Chambly; Fort Lennox; Battle of the Châteauguay; Coteau-du-Lac; Carillon Barracks; Manoir Papineau; Louis-Joseph Papineau; Louis S. St-Laurent; Fur Trade at Lachine National Historic Site; Sir Wilfrid Laurier; and Sir George-Étienne Cartier. This plan meets the requirements for action plans set out in the Species at Risk Act (SARA; section 47) for species requiring an action plan that regularly occur on these sites. Measures described in this plan will also provide benefits for other species of conservation concern that regularly occur in LMNP and on associated NHSs.

Orders

  • Order Acknowledging Receipt of the Assessments Done Pursuant to Subsection 23(1) of the Act (2007) (2007-05-16)

    This Order acknowledges receipt by the Governor in Council of the assessments of the status of 40 species done pursuant to paragraph 15(1)(a) and in accordance with subsection 23(1) of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). The purpose of SARA is to prevent wildlife species from being extirpated or becoming extinct, to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are extirpated, endangered or threatened as a result of human activity and to manage species of special concern to prevent them from becoming endangered or threatened.
  • Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act (volume 141, number 26, December 13, 2007) (2007-12-26)

    Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, pursuant to section 27 of the Species at Risk Act, hereby makes the annexed Order Amending Schedules 1 to 3 to the Species at Risk Act.
  • Order Extending the Time for the Assessment of the Status of Wildlife Species (2006-06-14)

    The time provided for the assessment of the status of the wildlife species set out in the schedule is extended for 3 years from the day on which section 14 of the Species at Risk Act comes into force.

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 - 2013-2014 (2014-10-15)

    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 in this reporting year (October, 2013 to September, 2014) from November 24 to November 29, 2013 and from April 27 to May 2, 2014. During the current reporting period, COSEWIC assessed the status or reviewed the classification of 56 wildlife species. The wildlife species assessment results for the 2012-2013 reporting period include the following: Extinct: 0 Extirpated: 0 Endangered: 23 Threatened: 12 Special Concern: 20 Data Deficient: 0 Not at Risk: 1 Total: 56 Of the 56 wildlife species examined, COSEWIC reviewed the classification of 40 that had been previously assessed. The review of classification for 25 of those wildlife species resulted in a confirmation of the same status as the previous assessment.

Permits and Related Agreements

  • Explanation for issuing other simliar documents(#19-HQUE-00077), persuant to the provisions of section 74 of SARA (2020-10-01)

    The Régie de l'aqueduc intermunicipale du Bas-Richelieu [Bas Richelieu water supply authority] wishes to install a new water intake in the Richelieu River. The project requires the installation of a cofferdam and the excavation of an open trench to allow for the placement of the new pipe. These activities are likely to affect a 134 m2 area of an aquatic grass bed located on the bed of the Richelieu River and included in critical habitat for the Copper Redhorse. The activities also involve the dewatering of the work site and therefore the capture of any fish that may be present in the cofferdam enclosure and their relocation to another location in the Richelieu River.
  • Explanation for issuing other simliar documents(#MPO-15-HQUE-00080), persuant to the provisions of section 74 of SARA (2016-07-15)

    Riprap will be installed around 20 piers (piers 4 to 9 of the east bridge and piers 3 to 16 of the west bridge). This will result in permanent encroachment of about 870 m2 on critical feeding habitat for the copper redhorse. Four temporary jetties could be constructed to have access to those piers in shallow water near the shore. Jetties may be required to reach piers 3, 4, 5 and 9 of the east bridge as well as piers 2 to 5 and 13 to 17 of the west bridge. About 1,200 m2 of feeding habitat for adult copper redhorse will be encroached on temporarily for about four months each time (August 1 to December 1). A compensation project will be carried out to offset serious harm to fish and impacts on aquatic species at risk (e.g. copper redhorse). This project will improve the quality of an over 870 m2 aquatic grass bed area below the NHWM in the study area that can serve as a feeding habitat for adult copper redhorse. During installation of compensation works and during follow-up, it may be necessary to capture and relocate copper redhorse.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#20-PQUE-00008 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2020-05-19)

    The activity authorized by this permit consists of the incidental capture of Copper Redhorse, Eastern Sand Darter and Striped Bass during sampling for tench (Tinca tinca). This activity is part of a three-year research project aimed at studying the extent of competition for resources between tench, an aquatic invasive species, and target native fish species present in rivers in Quebec. The types of fishing gear that will be used are as follows: gillnet, fyke net, minnow seine, beach seine, kick net and electrofisher. The effects that this activity may have on the listed wildlife species, their critical habitats and the residences of their individuals, and the impacts of the changes authorized by this permit are as follows: No impacts on the habitats of aquatic species at risk are anticipated. Sampling may result in incidental captures of Copper Redhorse, Eastern Sand Darter or Striped Bass; however, non-lethal fishing methods will be used and in the event of any incidental captures of aquatic species at risk, the fish will be returned to the water alive as soon as measurements are completed.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#20-PQUE-00009 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2020-05-25)

    The activity authorized by this permit consists of the capture of Striped Bass (eggs, larvae and juveniles) from the St. Lawrence River population as part of a project to locate and document spawning grounds and juvenile movement areas. There is a risk of incidental capture of Copper Redhorse or Eastern Sand Darter which is covered by this permit. The inventories will be carried out in the Richelieu River and a portion of the St. Lawrence (between the mouth of the Richelieu River and the centre of Ile d'Orléans).
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#20-PQUE-00010 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2020-05-20)

    The activity authorized by this permit consists of the incidental capture of Copper Redhorse using fyke nets, beach seines or bait traps during sampling carried out to capture an invasive fish species (rudd) as part of a research project aimed at assessing the effects of water temperature on the development of this species, in the Richelieu River. Although the project does not specifically target Copper Redhorse, this species might be captured since some of the sampling areas included in the study plan are located within this species' range. The species is not likely to be caught, however, since low concentrations of Copper Redhorse are found upstream of the Chambly Dam, where the sampling stations are located. The fishing methods that will be used are non-lethal. Any incidental captures will be immediately returned to the water. These activities will have no impact on the habitats of aquatic species at risk.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#2013-005), persuant to the provisions of section 74 of SARA (2013-09-01)

    The emergency stabilisation works of two sections of the bank of the Richelieu River in order to mitigate scouring of route 133 in Saint-Denis-sur-Richelieu, through the installation of a counterweight rockfill. The stabilisation works are planned to occur at two locations: 1) site 133-6a for 60 linear meters; and 2) site 133-8/9 for 320 linear meters. The works will harm the Copper redhorse, Channel darter and Eastern sand darter by affecting a part of their critical habitat as identified in their respective final recovery strategy, proposed recovery strategy or draft recovery strategy.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#21-PQUE-00012 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2021-05-01)

    The activity authorized by this permit consists of the incidental capture of Copper Redhorse, Eastern Sand Darter and Striped Bass during sampling for tench (Tinca tinca). This activity is part of a three-year research project aimed at studying the extent of competition for resources between tench, an aquatic invasive species, and target native fish species present in rivers in Quebec. The types of fishing gear that will be used are as follows: gillnet and fyke net. The effects that this activity may have on the listed wildlife species, their critical habitats and the residences of their individuals, and the impacts of the changes authorized by this permit are as follows: No impacts on the habitats of aquatic species at risk are anticipated. Sampling may result in incidental captures of Copper Redhorse, Eastern Sand Darter or Striped Bass; however, non-lethal fishing methods will be used and in the event of any incidental captures of aquatic species at risk, the fish will be returned to the water alive as soon as measurements are completed.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#21-PQUE-00018), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2021-05-24)

    The activity authorized by this permit is the incidental capture of Striped Bass, St. Lawrence population, and Copper Redhorse as part of a fishery aimed at describing the fish community in the Portneuf wharf area, where Transport Canada is planning to carry out wharf repairs. The inventories will be conducted using beach seines and Alaska trap nets, with a number of stations and a sampling frequency that will enable proper characterization of the fishes' use of the stations in summer. A maximum of three Alaska trap stations will be sampled once per month (May, June, July and August). The traps will be set for 24 hours. Captured individuals will be identified, counted and measured. Where possible, sex will be determined. The habitat where the traps are located will also be characterized. A maximum of four beach seine fishing stations will be sampled (three replicates per station) at rising high tide once per week from mid-June until early September (11 weeks). If the number of captures is not too large, counting and identification will take place directly in the seine or trap. Otherwise, the fish will be transferred to a basin of water before being counted. A subsample will be taken if the number of individuals is too large. The habitat where the seine stations are located will also be characterized.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#CCHM-(895) - autorisation no.2), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2019-06-10)

    As part of the federal wharf rehabilitation project in Chambly, sheet piles were installed all around the current wharf. Relocation of possibly captive fish (due to increased water levels in winter) behind the federal wharf sheet pile wall. Species of fish at risk could possibly be present inside the sheet pile wall (Copper Redhorse, Eastern Sand Darter, Channel Darter).
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#COUR-(1525)), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2019-08-01)

    The Vianney-Legendre fish ladder must be dewatered to allow some repair work. Relocation of potentially captive fish (due to dewatering of the work area) by electric fishing, nets, scoop, bait trap or any other relevant method. Species of fish at risk could possibly be present inside the work area (Copper Redhorse, Eastern Sand Darter, Channel Darter).
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#CSAN-(1440)), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2018-11-12)

    Repair work requiring the complete dewatering of the Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue Canal lock could result in the handling of fish to relocate them downstream from the work area.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#DFO-17-HQUE-00116), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2017-08-01)

    The Department of National Defence will remove and dispose of 150 UXO (unexploded ordnance) within the former firing range (CYR 606) near Landroche Channel at Baie-du-Febvre in Lake St. Pierre. The 150 UXOs cannot be safely moved and will be detonated on site, in the aquatic environment. Notwithstanding mitigation measures, the explosions could cause fish to die, including some species at risk near the explosion sites.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#DFO-2016-001), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2016-02-23)

    Four offsetting projects must be implemented to counterbalance the serious harm to fish and impacts to aquatic species at risk (Copper Redhorse, Channel Darter and Eastern Sand Darter) resulting from bank stabilization at five sites along the Richelieu River. These projects consist of the creation of a floodplain in the Huron River at Sainte Marie Madeleine, the removal of a barge and fill in the Richelieu River at the Saint Marc sur Richelieu wharf, the restoration of Parc de la Pointe Valaine in Otterburn Park and the restoration of Île Deschaillons channel in Saint Roch de Richelieu. These actions will restore, improve or create breeding, rearing, shelter, feeding and migration areas especially, and as applicable, for the Yellow Perch, Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike, Copper Redhorse, Channel Darter and Eastern Sand Darter. While implementing these offsetting projects and carrying out follow-ups, it may be necessary to catch and relocate fish, including the Copper Redhorse, Channel Darter and Eastern Sand Darter.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#DFO-CA SECT 73 SARA C&A 13-014), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2013-06-11)

    The purpose of the permit is to conduct comprehensive fish surveys throughout the province of Ontario. These surveys are designed to meet specific research requirements of various agencies. They will yield significant information to contribute to species at risk recovery. This research will include assessing current geographic distribution and habitat associations of fish species at risk in Ontario.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#DFO-CA SECT 73 SARA C&A 13-015), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2013-06-11)

    The purpose of the permit is to conduct comprehensive aquatic invasive fish species monitoring with a focus on Asian craps, in the Great Lakes basin. These surveys are designed to meet specific research requirements of various Great Lakes' agencies. These surveys will yield significant information to contribute to the early detection of aquatic invasive species (AIS) in Ontario. This research will also include assessing current geographic distribution and habitat associations of AIS fishes in Ontario.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#DFO-CA-14-00017), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2014-06-05)

    The purpose of the permit is to conduct comprehensive fish and mussel surveys throughout the province of Ontario. These surveys are designed to meet specific research requirements of various agencies. These surveys will yield significant information to contribute to species at risk recovery in Ontario. This research will include assessing current geographic distribution and habitat associations of fish species at risk in Ontario.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#DFO-IML-2010-42), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2010-05-26)

    The research objective is to assess the exposure level of the copper redhorse to endocrine disrupters in the natural environment by sampling mucous from adult redhorses. Young copper redhorses produced by artificial breeding will also be exposed to a mixture of contaminants to assess the effects on growth, deformities and survival.
  • >> See more Permits and Related Agreements documents

Consultation Documents

  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species Under the Species At Risk Act: November 2005 (2005-11-16)

    The Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA) on June 5, 2003 as part of its strategy for the protection of wildlife species at risk. Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species that receive protection under SARA, hereinafter referred to as the 'SARA list'. Canadians are invited to comment on whether all or some of the species included in this document should be added to the SARA list.
  • Species at Risk Act - Legal Listing Consultation Workbook, Copper Redhorse (2005-11-15)

    Your opinion is being sought to assist the government of Canada in making an informed decision on whether to add the Copper redhorse to the Schedule 1 (the List of Wildlife Species at Risk) of the Species at Risk Act (SARA). Your input on the impacts of adding this species to the List is important. This workbook has been developed to give you an opportunity to provide Fisheries and Oceans Canada with your feedback, advice, and other comments regarding adding this species to Schedule 1 of SARA (Schedule 1 identifies which species are legally protected under SARA).

Critical Habitat Descriptions in the Canada Gazette

  • Description of critical habitat of the Copper Redhorse in Îles de Contrecoeur 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 the Species at Risk Act applies, 90 days after the date of publication of this description, to the critical habitat of the Copper Redhorse (Moxostoma hubbsi) population that is located in the Îles de Contrecoeur National Wildlife Area and is identified in section 2 of the Recovery Strategy for the Copper Redhorse (Moxostoma hubbsi) in Canada.

Critical Habitat Orders

  • Critical Habitat of the Copper Redhorse (Moxostoma hubbsi) Order (2021-05-26)

    The Copper Redhorse is a large-scaled fish that is endemic to southwestern Quebec, and is found only in the St. Lawrence River and some of its tributaries. The Copper Redhorse is the only listed species of fish whose distribution is exclusively restricted to the province of Quebec.
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