Notifications

Lumpfish, species fished in Lower North Shore, deemed under threat after steady decline

In order to be on the endangered list, lumpfish will undergo a lengthy process that includes industry consultations.

Scientist have been monitoring lumpfish for past 4 years

Canadian lumpfish could be on Environment and Climate Change Canada's endangered species list. (Department of Fisheries and Oceans)

In some of the Quebec Lower North Shore's deepest ocean depths, one of the least well-known of Canada's fish species can be found sucking on a rock.

Lumpfish are portly, greyish and many of them have wart-like bumps covering their bodies. Some are small like the tip of a finger and others are as big as 50 centimetres long. 

The fish are also known as lumpsuckers or poule de mer, sea hen in French. 

After four years of monitoring the fish, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) has assessed the species as threatened in the province.

In order to be on the endangered list, lumpfish will undergo a lengthy process that includes industry consultations.

It's also in this process that Environment and Climate Change Canada will then decide whether the fish will be officially listed as threatened. 

If that happens, it will no longer be allowed to fish the lumpfish, prized for its eggs that look like caviar.

But the government could choose to impose quotas and periods during which the fish must be left alone, in the meantime.

The lumpfish is namely used by the Caviars Émerance processing plant in Paspébiac, a city on Baie des Chaleurs in the Gaspésie region.

With files from Radio-Canada