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Taking steps to protect Aquatic Species at Risk

Kyle Mack | posted Tuesday, Mar 26th, 2019

Built into the core of our national identity, supporting the health and structure of the natural environment improves our Canadian culture, wellbeing, and economy. Taking action against the declining environment, The Government of Canada has placed a focus on reversing the decline of Canadian wildlife and biodiversity. The Government of Canada has proposed that 32 aquatic species be reclassified and added under SARA (Species at Risk Act). The Species at Risk Act was introduced in 2002 to provide a legal framework for wildlife management, protection, and recovery. Currently there are 120 aquatic species protected under SARA.

The status of several species has improved and the Government of Canada is proposing the reclassification of these species to a lower risk category. These species are: Pugnose Shiner, Salish Sucker, Striped Bass (St. Lawrence River), Mapleleaf (Saskatchewan-Nelson Rivers), Mapleleaf (Great Lakes-Upper St. Lawrence), Rainbow, and Eastern Pondmussel. Unfortunately, several other species have been found in worse condition, or were newly identified as being at risk.

“The protection of aquatic species is a priority for the Government of Canada. We are taking action based on scientific advice and the concerns of communities to protect endangered species. By working together with Canadians, we can increase the likelihood that species at risk will survive and recover while maintaining our rich and diverse marine environment”  said The Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson.

Species added to or reclassified on Schedule 1 of SARA:


  • Rainbow Trout (Athabasca River)
  • Rainbow Smelt (Lake Utopia large – bodied)
  • Silver Shiner
  • Plains Minnow
  • Bull Trout (Saskatchewan – Nelson Rivers)
  • Black Redhorse
  • Lake Sturgeon (Southern Hudson Bay – James Bay)
  • Silver Lamprey (Great Lakes – Upper St. Lawrence)
  • Bull Trout (Western Arctic)
  • Bull Trout (South Coast British Columbia)
  • Cutlip Minnow
  • Unarmoured Threespine Stickleback
  • Giant Threespine Stickleback
  • Northern Sunfish (Great Lakes – Upper St. Lawrence)
  • Striped Bass (St. Lawrence River)
  • Spotted Gar
  • Pugnose Minnow
  • Pugnose Shiner
  • Salish Sucker
  • Channel Darter (Lake Ontario)
  • Channel Darter (Lake Erie)
  • Channel Darter (St. Lawrence)
  • Silver Chub (Great Lakes – Upper St. Lawrence)


  • Fawnsfoot
  • Hickorynut
  • Lilliput
  • Threehorn Wartyback
  • Rocky Mountain Ridged Mussel
  • Mapleleaf (Saskatchewan – Nelson River)
  • Mapleleaf (Great Lakes – Upper St. Lawrence)
  • Rainbow
  • Eastern Pondmussel

SOURCE Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Canada


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