Scientists from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune du Québec (MRNF) and the Bureau d’Écologie Appliquée met on April 13th, 2010 in Quebec City to review the information available on the habitat used by the striped bass (Morone saxatilis) population of the St. Lawrence Estuary. The objective of this meeting was to assess the habitat quality and degree of use by this population. A Science Advisory Report will subsequently be produced to guide managers in designating critical habitat for the striped bass population in the St. Lawrence Estuary and in the selection of studies to be undertaken to complete this description, in the event that the population is added to Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA).
During the meeting, a summary of the SARA and provisions related to the concept of critical habitat were presented to the participants, followed by presentations on the available data related to the habitat of striped bass before its extirpation from the St. Lawrence Estuary and since its reintroduction. Discussions ensued regarding the data presented, significant habitats and knowledge gaps related to the species’ different development stages. Data analysis of the extirpated and reintroduced population has helped identify significant types of habitat for each development stage. However, further studies on the reintroduced population will be needed to locate and determine which habitats should be designated as critical to the species recovery. At this stage, it appears that Anse Sainte-Anne at La Pocatière represents a significant habitat for juveniles in the fall and that measures should be implemented to protect it.
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