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Category Archives: American Eel

EBR-013-1476 – Draft Government Response Statement for the Recovery of the American Eel

The American Eel Needs Your Help!  You have an opportunity to support the recovery of a species that has declined by 99% of its original population, has been completely extirpated from extensive areas of its native Ontario range, and is in steep decline where it still exists.  The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has prepared a Draft Government Response Station for the Recovery of the American Eel in Ontario, and you have until January 11th to sign the Petition below.  More information can be found here.  To add your own comments just click on the letter and type.  Thank you for your help! Continue reading


American Eel Engagement Workshop – Government Response Statement

As a potential next step for the Ottawa River, we recommend assessing a suitable location for a ladder at the Carillon Generating Station over the next 1-2 migration seasons coupled with a commitment to providing passage the following year. Studies conducted by Hydro QC and Milieu Inc. in 2001 and 2010 revealed that more elvers approach the southern turbines than northern ones; however, shorelines, the shipping canal, and the spillway were not assessed. It is reasonable to delay installing a permanent ladder until such assessments are completed; however, free passage should be provided by the 2019 migration season. Consideration should be given to translocating elvers captured during such assessments above the Carillon Generating Station. Continue reading



Help save the American Eel by completing Survey

Help Save the American Eel

The American Eel of eastern Canada was recently designated as a threatened species by COSEWIC because of a dramatic decline in the species’ abundance over a substantial portion of its range, and as a result of ongoing threats that constrain recovery.  The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is conducting a Survey to ask for your comments and suggestions regarding the possible ecological, cultural, and economic impacts of listing or not listing this species under SARA.

Please help save the American Eel by completing the Survey located here before the deadline of 18 March 2016.

ORA has recommended: Continue reading


The Demise of American Eel….

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The Demise of American Eel in the Upper St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, Ottawa River and Associated Watersheds: Implications of Regional Cumulative Effects in Ontario

Abstract.—American Eel mortality has increased substantially over the past century due largely to significant cumulative effects of fishing and fish passage through hydro-electric turbines across their range.  Nowhere has this been more pronounced than in waters of the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, Ottawa River and associated watersheds. We illustrate this by examining the cumulative effects of hydroelectric facilities on eels migrating downstream through the Mississippi River and Ottawa River, and outline further impacts eels encounter en route to spawn in the Sargasso Sea. The probability of a mature female eel surviving its emigration through the Mississippi and Ottawa River to the upper St. Lawrence River is estimated to be as low as 2.8% due to turbine mortalities alone (2.8–40%). Mortality risk increases as the eel attempts to run the gauntlet of fisheries in the lower St. Lawrence River and the probability of out-migration survival is estimated to be as low as 1.4%. Some mortalities could be mitigated through improved application of existing laws, development of policy requiring consideration of cumulative effects and improved integration among program areas responsible for sustainable management of fisheries, biodiversity, dams and hydro-electric facilities. We recommend changes to policy, procedures and internal organizational structures provided with clear directions, and call for increased accommodation of Aboriginal perspectives.
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MacGregor, R., T. Haxton, L. Greig, J. M. Casselman, J. M. Dettmers, W. A. Allen, D. G. Oliver, and L. McDermott. 2015. The demise of American Eel in the upper St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, Ottawa River and associated watersheds: implications of regional cumulative effects in Ontario. Pages 149–188 in N. Fisher, P. LeBlanc, C. A. Rose, and B. Sadler, editors. Managing the impacts of human activities on fish habitat: the governance, practices, and science. American Fisheries Society, Symposium 78, Bethesda, Maryland.

Download (PDF, 2.42MB)


Quebec and Ontario work together to save the American eel

By Kalina Laframboise, THE GAZETTE July 16, 2014

HAWKESBURY, Ont – A joint operation between the Ontario and Quebec provincial governments, Hydro-Québec, the Canadian Wildlife Federation and the Algonquins of Ontario saw 400 juvenile American eels released into the Ottawa River for the first time on Wednesday afternoon in an effort to save the species in Ontario.

The American eels were provided from a Hydro-Québec eel ladder at the dam in Beauharnois and transported to Voyageur Provincial Park in East Hawkesbury in the morning. They were released in the middle of the Ottawa River just above the Carillon dam that spans from Carillon to Pointe-Fortune.

Read entire article and view video here.


Kichisippi Pimisi – American Eel

American Eel

Posted 8 March 2014

By: Christine Luckasavitch, Whitney and Area Algonquins

The American eel (Anguilla rostrata) is a remarkable fish that was once extremely abundant throughout tributaries to Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, including the Ottawa River Watershed. Within the Ottawa River watershed, this species has faced a dramatic 99% decline in population since the 1980’s. The American eel has been apparently extirpated from many parts of its Ontario range and is in serious decline where it still exists. It is now listed as endangered under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007.

The American eel is known to Algonquins as Kichisippi Pimisi, which means “big river eel”. Algonquin Traditional Knowledge demonstrates that Kichisippi Pimisi is considered sacred to the Algonquin people as it has been an essential part of our traditional culture since time immemorial.

For Algonquins, Kichisippi Pimisi was a provider of nourishment, medicine and spirituality. As Pimisi were once extremely plentiful through Algonquin Traditional Territory, it was one of the most important and dependable sources of sustenance, particularly during long journeys and harsh winters. Pimisi were once so plentiful in our waters that over a thousand eels could be caught in an evening – enough to provide a great feast for an entire village. Pimisi was also highly valued as a trade item with voyageurs or new settlers to the Ottawa River basin.

The skin of Kichisippi Pimisi has incredible healing properties. It was used as a cast or brace for broken bones or sprains and to rid the body of infections once it dried. ATK also suggests that Pimisi skin has the ability to heal sore throats when applied to one’s neck.

Kichisippi Pimisi is a spiritual animal to Algonquins as it is a prayer carrier, travelling great distances through the waters. Kichisippi Pimisi is revered as a mystical creature as it would “disappear” into the earth each winter, “mud-balling” into the lake or river bed and hibernate over the winter months.

As many rivers throughout Algonquin Traditional Territory are no longer free-flowing, the presence of Kichisippi Pimisi has faced such a dramatic decline due to man-made barriers on our waterways. Our younger generations no longer hold a connection with this sacred animal. It is vital that Kichisippi Pimisi be restored to its historical range throughout the Ottawa River Basin, including the South Nation, Mississippi, Bonnechere, Petawawa, Mattawa and Madawaska Rivers and other tributaries in order to re-establish the ancient connection between Algonquins and Kichisippi Pimisi.

The cumulative effects of eel mortality during outward migration are truly devastating. Hydroelectric facilities, reduced access to habitat imposed by man-made barriers throughout waterways, commercial harvesting in jurisdictions other than Ontario, contaminants and habitat destruction, alteration and disruption are amongst the most significant threats to the survival and recovery of Kichisippi Pimisi in Ontario.


American Eel Recovery Strategy – Public Campaign

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This EBR Posting is Now Closed for Comment.  Thank you for your Participation!

Eels are probably not something you would like to cuddle up with, but they are an amazing fish in grave danger of totally disappearing from Ontario rivers.  The American Eel is an endangered species that was once abundant in the upper St. Lawrence River, Ottawa River, and Lake Ontario and their tributaries.

Eels were once so plentiful they were an invaluable source of sustenance to First Nations and early European settlers, and more recently supported thriving commercial and sport fisheries. Continue reading


American Eel Recovery Strategy – EBR Posting 012-0405 – ORA Submission

American Eel

Excerpt:

“American Eels were once abundant in the upper St. Lawrence River, Ottawa River, Lake Ontario, and their tributaries, and in fact were so plentiful that they were an invaluable source of sustenance to First Nation communities and early European settlers, and more recently supported thriving commercial and sports fisheries.  This all changed with the advent of a multitude of hydroelectric dams constructed within the historic range of the species.

Key to the American Eel’s survival and recovery is its ability to migrate to its spawning area in the Sargasso Sea, near Bermuda.  This is a perilous journey that only a very small percentage ever complete due to the cumulative effects of the numerous hydroelectric facilities that have killed, maimed, and cut off migration to their spawning area.  Consequently their once thriving populations have been reduced to a mere one percent of their original numbers.” Continue reading


Effects of Dams & Waterpower on River Ecosystems, Fish & Fisheries: Not Green for Fish, by Dr. John M. Casselman, Adjunct Professor, Dept. of Biology, Queen’s University – Presentation to ORA at Annual General Meeting

Download (PDF, 6.68MB)


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