Updated distribution of four stenohaline fish species in Labrador, Canada


  • Robert C. Perry Fish and Wildlife DivisionDepartment Of EnvironmentGovernment of Yukon
  • Donald G. Keefe




Burbot, Lota lota, Round Whitefish, Prosopium cylindraceum, Lake Trout, Salvelinus namaycush, Slimy Sculpin, Cottus cognatus, occurence, Labrador, colonization, range, glaciation


Distributions of freshwater fish species in Labrador are poorly documented as the region is remote and sparsely inhabited. Here, we update distributions of four species native to the Labrador Peninsula based on data collected over 10 years: Burbot (Lota lota), Round Whitefish (Prosopium cylindraceum), Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush), and Slimy Sculpin (Cottus cognatus). In northern Labrador, our findings extend their ranges inland and northwest of their formerly reported distributions. Their presence in previously unknown locations indicates an alternative post-glacial colonization pathway to one previously proposed that suggested an isolated pocket of Lake Trout in a northern coastal area colonized through marine invasion. Instead, we suggest that overland colonization occurred when glacial Lake Naskaupi withdrew across Quebec into several northern drainages. In southern Labrador, we found Lake Trout and Round Whitefish to the southeast of their previously reported ranges. The discovery of an isolated population of Lake Trout in a remote location of southeast Labrador implies that they may have existed in the area historically (6000 years ago), but have undergone a range contraction with a warming climate. In addition, 22 new locations are documented for Lake Trout within their established range.

Author Biography

Robert C. Perry, Fish and Wildlife DivisionDepartment Of EnvironmentGovernment of Yukon

Species Manager, MSc