Canadian Marine Animals You’ve Likely Never Heard Of


Many people don’t really know what’s in our oceans. When asked to name a species, we’re likely to mention an adorable marine mammal, such as a whale. Whales are indeed amazing animals, but there are plenty of other species in the ocean that make up a diverse and fascinating ecosystem. Here are just some of the unique species found in Canada’s oceans that you likely haven’t heard of.

Lophelia pertusa

Lophelia is a cold-water coral that grows throughout the North Atlantic. Coral is made up of many little animals called polyps. Lophelia can be found off the coast of Nova Scotia, and there is a 15 square kilometre Lophelia Coral Conservation Area at a location known as the Stone Fence, southeast of Cape Breton.



Atlantic Wolffish (Anarhichas lupus)

These large predatory fish live across the North Atlantic, and like other wolffish, they have large canine-like teeth. From the late 1970s to the 1990s, wolffish populations declined by 87 per cent in Canada.



Brown Catshark (Apristurus brunneus)

Brown catsharks live in the Pacific Ocean, from southern Alaska to southern California. They are the smallest shark found in Canadian Pacific waters.



Eulachon (Thaleichthys pacificus)

Eulachon are found throughout the northeast Pacific, including off the coast of British Columbia. They have earned the nickname “candlefish” because they have such a high oil content in their bodies (20 per cent of their body weight), that when dried and strung on a wick, they burn like a candle.



Northern Abalone

This mollusc is found along the Pacific Coast from Alaska to Baja California. They are highly valued for their meat, but due to low population numbers, there has been a moratorium on their harvest since 1990.



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Oceana Canada seeks to make our oceans as rich, healthy and abundant as they once were. Canada has the world's longest coastline and is responsible for 2.76 million square kilometers of ocean. This real estate makes Canada one of the world’s major fishing nations, catching 1.1 million metric tons of fish each year, or 1.6 per cent of the world’s wild fish catch by weight, and consistently ranking within the top 25 fish-producing countries in the world. But even with these high yields, Canadian fisheries are performing below their full potential. Fortunately, we know how to fix things. Science-based fishery management – which establishes science-based catch limits, reduces bycatch and protects habitat — is helping the oceans rebound and recover where it is established. Oceana Canada campaigns for national policies that rebuild fisheries and return Canada’s formerly vibrant oceans to health; reduce the harvesting of depleted fisheries; and avoid impacts to other species. We also work to protect key habitat for fish to breed and grow to maturity. Our campaigns address increasing fisheries management transparency and paving the way to recovery for Canada’s depleted fish populations.

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