Species Profile

Sea Mink

Scientific Name: Mustela macrodon
Taxonomy Group: Mammals
COSEWIC Range: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Atlantic Ocean
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: May 2000
COSEWIC Status: Extinct
COSEWIC Status Criteria:
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: The last verified specimen was killed in New Brunswick in 1894.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Believed Extinct since 1894. Designated Extinct in April 1986. Status re-examined and confirmed in May 2000.
SARA Status: No Schedule, No Status
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd):

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 | Biology | Reasons for extinction | Documents


The Sea Mink was about twice the size of the common or American Mink (Mustela vison), but had similar reddish-brown fur, slightly bushy tail and distinctive odour. It was not identified as a distinct species until after it had been exterminated.


Distribution and Population

The exact range which was once occupied by the Sea Mink is not known, but it is believed to have extended at least from Connecticut to the Bay of Fundy, and possibly Newfoundland. There is no information on the size of former populations of the Sea Mink.



The Sea Mink preferred coastal habitats, particularly rocky coasts and offshore islands.



Very little is known about the biology of the Sea Mink. Existing information suggests that these mammals were solitary and nocturnal, and spent most of their time at sea.


Reasons for extinction

Extermination of the Sea Mink was caused by overhunting for the fur trade. The last specimen was taken at Campobello Island, New Brunswick, about 1894.




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.

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