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Notice of permit

Regional or Local Number: DFO-17-PCAA-00026

Notice is hereby given that pursuant to the provisions of section 73 of the Species at Risk Act permit no. DFO-17-PCAA-00026 is issued.

Activity affecting the species is incidental to the carrying out of the activity

Activity 1: Fish Community Assemblages. Near-shore fish assemblages will be sampled in Great Lakes Areas of Concern (AOC) and other locations. The data that are collected will be used to assess fish populations and ecosystem health. This study will sample locations in order to assess the variance within the IBI scores, and add to the fish community information for local partners, such as AOC's and Conservation Authorities. Activity 2: Lake Sturgeon Sampling. Gill netting for sturgeon in Lake Ontario following the sampling and reporting protocols for the Lake Sturgeon Index Survey for Lake Superior. By-catch will be limited due to the mesh sizes being used. The same protocol as the Lake Sturgeon Index Netting for Lake Superior will be followed, targeting locations in the western end of Lake Ontario, to collect some basic information on the existing population. Activity 3: Huron-Erie Corridor (HEC) Wetland/River sampling. Wetland sampling in the St. Clair River, Detroit River and Lake St. Clair within the designated boundaries of the AOC's to assess fish community and habitat conditions, which will inform on possible and completed restoration activities, as well as to further inform on the status of Fish and Habitat Beneficial Use Impairments (BUI). A study is also being conducted in partnership with Walpole Island First Nation to assess fish use of Phragmites australis in the St. Clair delta. Experimental techniques employing fyke nets, small hoop nets and short-set gillnets to determine the best way to sample within the dense vegetation. Species at Risk (SAR) catches would be expected as part of community composition. Activity 4: Annual summer fyke netting in the Windermere Basin to monitor changes in the fish community as the newly created wetland matures.

Start Date: 2017-07-06   End Date: 2017-11-30

Issuing Authority: Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Authority Used:

  • Species at Risk Act

Location of Activity (province, territory or ocean):

  • Ontario

Affected Species:

a) Alternatives: Previously applied protocols to assess fish communities are being employed (fyke, bottom and mid-water trawling, electrofishing, gill netting for Lake Sturgeon). The only new sampling protocol would be the gill netting within Phragmites stands. This gear type is being used as a comparison to hoop nets. The most effective and efficient sampling method to target fishes within Phragmites stands is being investigated. Backpack electrofishing was also considered, but due to safety considerations for the crew working in deep waters (>1 m) and limited effectiveness of the gear within dense emergent stands, it will not be employed. Fyke nets are too large to set and would not provide information that is as detailed regarding how fishes are using emergent vegetation as a habitat on a gradient from the edge of the emergent stand inward. Walpole Delta was chosen due to further interest in this area of research by Walpole Island First Nation, the relative health of wetlands, the firm sandy substrate present within the wetlands, and the diversity of fish species present within these wetlands. These considerations present an ideal location to conduct research into the use of non-native emergent vegetation by fishes. b) Measures to minimize impact: Short-set gillnets in Walpole wetlands will start with 20 minute net sets and increase in duration by 10 minutes to determine the best length of time that will provide a catch of statistical significance for the dataset needed in the project, while limiting potential mortality. All hoop and fyke nets will have an air pocket for air breathing animals that may be trapped. Buckets with aerators will be used during processing. Species at risk (SAR) will be a priority for sampling, and will be removed first to limit as much stress as possible during sampling. Plexiglas viewers will be used to identify small fishes to limit the impact of handling. All field crews will have completed Animal Care Training, and a minimum of one member will have completed the Royal Ontario Museum Basic Fish ID and SAR course as well. All members will have in-field fish identification experience. c) Effects on survival and recovery: The killing of fishes is not required for the purposes of this study, unless indicated by the vouchering protocol, so all species will be released, if possible. Habitat disturbances are limited and minor. The Walpole Phragmites work will provide information on the use of this expanding invasive species by fishes, and may inform on unknown impacts that the species is having on fish habitat in coastal wetlands.

Contact Person(s)
Mr. Raymond Ratynski
Regional Manager, Species at Risk Program
Freshwater Institute, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
501 University Crescent
Winnipeg, MB
R3T 2N6
Tel: 204-983-4438
Fax: 204-983-5192