Spring Cisco

Coregonus sp.

SARA Status
No Status
NS
Special Concern
SC
Threatened
TH
Endangered
EN
Extirpated
EX

SARA Status

  • No Status NS
  • Special Concern SC
  • Threatened TH
  • Endangered EN
  • Extirpated EX
COSEWIC Status
Not at Risk
NR
Special Concern
SC
Threatened
TH
Endangered
EN
Extirpated
EX

COSEWIC Status

  • Not at Risk NR
  • Special Concern SC
  • Threatened TH
  • Endangered EN
  • Extirpated EX

Description

The spring cisco is a small silver-sided fish with a back that varies from blue-green to black in colour. It is found only in Lac des Écorces in Quebec. Adults are usually 15 to 30 cm long. The spring cisco spawns in the spring. It reaches sexual maturity at three years and rarely lives beyond eight years. This small fish is preyed upon by various piscivorous fish. The spring cisco population is estimated to have declined significantly since the 1990s.

Habitat

The spring cisco lives in a single lake, Lac des Écorces (Antoine-Labelle Regional County Municipality), in the province of Quebec. Spring cisco are found throughout Lac des Écorces. Adults prefer cold water and are found in the deepest parts of the lake during the summer. They mainly spawn in the lake’s deepest point. Larvae and juvenile fish occupy the upper part of the lake.

Threats

The fact alone that the sole spring cisco population is found in a single lake indicates significant vulnerability. The abundance indices for this population show a steady decline since the 1990s. Suspected causes of this decline are predation and competition from non-native species, particularly the rainbow smelt, and deterioration of the lake’s overall water quality due to residential development (e.g. artificial banks and defective septic tanks) and agriculture (e.g. discharge of chemical products and fertilizers).

Further Information

The presence of the spring cisco is known and mentioned in the Antoine-Labelle Regional County Municipality development plan. The Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune du Québec has been monitoring the population since 1981. The spring cisco was designated an endangered species by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada in 2009.

The spring cisco was listed under the Species at Risk Act in March 2013 and a federal Recovery Strategy, prepared along with the Quebec government and local authorities, is posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry. The spring cisco's critical habitat is identified in the Recovery Strategy and corresponds to all Lac des Écorces. In 2010, the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune began controlling the Lac des Écorces population of rainbow smelt, an introduced species that is a predator and competitor of the spring cisco, as well as the main threat to its recovery. In addition, any efforts to preserve or improve the ecological integrity of Lac des Écorces would benefit the spring cisco.

Species at Risk Public Registry Profile

Spring Cisco

Spring Cisco. M. Hénault (ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs du Québec)

M. Hénault (ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs du Québec)

Scientific name: Coregonus sp.
SARA status: Endangered (March 2013)
COSEWIC status: Endangered (April 2009)
Regions: Quebec

Distribution throughout the Lac des Écorces, Laurentians region, Quebec.

Spring cisco distribution throughout the Lac des Écorces, Laurentians region, Quebec.

Did You Know?

The spring cisco is a small fish very similar to the lake cisco. While the lake cisco, which is prevalent throughout Canada, spawns in the fall, the spring cisco, found only in Lac des Écorces in Quebec, spawns in the spring.

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