Helping the copper redhorse reproduce!

Helping the copper redhorse reproduce!

Hello, my name is Nathalie Vachon. I am a biologist with the Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks. We are here, as we have been doing since 2004, for the artificial reproduction of the endangered species, the copper redhorse. We provide a helping hand to allow them to be able to reproduce in a larger quantity than the natural birthrate. The copper redhorse is a unique fish in the world, situated only in southwest region of Quebec. The St. Lawrence River, its main tributaries, is the only place known where the fish, the copper redhorse, breeds. It’s in the Richelieu River. There are two known spawning grounds: here in the downstream reach of the Saint-Ours dam, and the other is in Chambly. Obviously, the first step is the capture, so we have a team that is situated downstream of the dam that is deployed to catch the fish via nets. And there is a team called the “genitarium”, so inside. Males involve a lot of manipulations. Their milt must be kept refrigerated in diluents. And since 2012, we also freeze the fish’s milt. We have samples that are here. And we have been able to successfully fertilize eggs since 2013, which leads to inoculations with specimens  that have been produced using cryopreserved milt. So that allows us to create genetic diversity. The most exciting thing that’s been occurring is that we are starting to see more subadults, so fish that may have been produced during the first years of artificial reproduction. That’s what we’ve been waiting for. We also see a lot of new fish, which is extremely encouraging.


  1. Quebec government has wrong sense of priorities. Wasting money from sportfishing licences and taxes on protecting and propagating suckers. How about Atlantic salmon, trout, stock some gamefish- rehabilitate some of the small rivers. take the dams off the Chateauguay river. Copper redhorse are not endangered, they just don't look in the right places. Pt des cascades dam has huge run in spring. Most of the dams upstream and below have tons of them. Typical when you have leftist ideologue biologists. They do the same thing as politicians- pick some useless group to champion and waste the bulk of resources on a losing or non existing problem.

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