Migrations and harvest rates of Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus) in a marine protected area


  • Reproduced with the permission of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada.

C. Morris, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, PO Box 5667, St. John's NL, Canada, A1C 5X1. E-mail: Corey.Morris@DFO-MPO.GC.CA


  1. Arctic charr are a particularly important species in Arctic and sub-Arctic regions and face conservation challenges including human exploitation. Arctic charr migration pattern and harvest rate in the Gilbert Bay Marine Protected Area in southern Labrador, Canada were examined.
  2. The marine movements of Arctic charr tagged with sonic transmitters were studied using an array of moored data logging ultrasonic receivers in Gilbert Bay and nearby Alexis Bay.
  3. During subsistence gillnet fisheries conducted inside and outside the MPA 38% (8 of 21) of the tagged Arctic charr were recaptured. Surviving fish spent 7–8 weeks in the marine environment near coastal areas, often outside existing MPA boundaries. They then returned from these feeding areas to the Shinneys River in Gilbert Bay, a distance up to 25 km, during a 10 day period by directed and rapid movements.
  4. This study provides the first information on the extent and timing of Arctic charr marine migrations in southern Labrador, and it identifies a potentially high rate of fishing mortality. The Gilbert Bay Marine Protected Area could provide more protection to the local Arctic charr population were MPA regulations applied to this species.

Copyright © Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada 2012