Helping the copper redhorse reproduce!

Saint-Ours Canal National Historic Site

As the copper redhorse is an endangered fish species, an artificial reproduction program has been in place since 2004. Parks Canada plays a major role in the recovery of this species by making its facilities available to the Quebec Department of Forests, Wildlife and Parks for the implementation of its artificial reproduction program.

Helping the copper redhorse reproduce!


Shot of the St-Ours weir.


Nathalie speaks to the camera, with the river behind her. Text appears on screen ""Nathalie Vachon, Biologist with the Quebec Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks"".


We are here, as we have been doing since 2004,

Visual of the migration pass.

Overview of the migration pass, from a higher angle facing downstream.

Close-up of an image of the copper redhorse.

We provide a helping hand to allow them to be able to reproduce in a larger quantity

Fish being layed onto a netted bench to be wiped.

Sperm is excreted from the fish into a container.

Fish swimming in water bath.

So that allows us to create genetic diversity.

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by Parks Canada, 2018

The copper redhorse, an endangered species since 2007, is a fish that is unique in the world and is found only in Southwestern Quebec. The only two known spawning sites of the copper redhorse are in the Richelieu River, downstream from the Saint-Ours Dam, which is administered by Parks Canada, and in the Chambly Rapids.

The importance of the artificial reproduction of the copper redhorse

The numerous studies led since the early 1990s have demonstrated that reproduction for the copper redhorse in a natural habitat is problematic. Every year, the Quebec Department of Forests, Wildlife and Parks team travels to the Saint-Ours Dam to carry out a number of manipulations that enable the fertilization and stocking of the copper redhorse. In addition, a microchip is embedded in the fish to facilitate the study of its movements and habits.

Positive results

The specialists see concrete results in the field. The number of fish aged 5 to 10 years, which are probably the result of fertilizations carried out between 2008 and 2013, is rising steadily.
Parks Canada is concerned about the preservation of natural habitats and plays a major role in the implementation of this recovery plan, particularly by ensuring the maintenance and operation of the Vianney-Legendre fishway, but also by making its facilities available to the area’s researchers and stakeholders.

To learn more about the copper redhorse, please consult Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s website.

Profile of the copper redhorse

Copper redhorse
Photo: Nathalie Vachon, Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune du Québec

The copper redhorse is the only fish that can be found strictly in Quebec. The population of this species is estimated at a few hundred.

  • Weight: 11 pounds and over
  • Size: 50 cm and over
  • Sexual maturity: 10 years
  • Life expectancy: 30 years, more or less
  • Status: classified as an endangered species since 2007 according to the Species at Risk Act.

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