Migrations of Spiny Dogfish (Squalus acanthias) in the Northwest Atlantic

Project Lead:

Dr. Steven Campana (DFO - Canadian Shark Research Lab)

Project Status:

In Progress

Type of Initiative:


Project Location:

East coast of North America, including Atlantic Canada

For which Shark Species:

Spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias)

Project Description:

Tagging studies to date indicate that 10-20% of dogfish in Canada migrate across the Canada-U.S. border, but the frequency of migration, or even if the migration is a one-way trip, are unknown. If dogfish originate within the U.S., but migrate to Canada where they spend the rest of their lives, it may be more appropriate to manage them as a national resource rather than as a single transboundary resource.

We have two research projects underway to examine dogfish migration. Satellite tags (both PAT and X-tag) have been successfully attached to dogfish in the Bay of Fundy and the results used to track their movements in Canada and the U.S. over the course of a year. Those results are being analysed, and additional tagging is underway. A second project has surgically tagged spiny dogfish in the Bay of Fundy with acoustic transmitters in order to track their movements across acoustic receiver “fences” on the ocean bottom. This project is part of the Ocean Tracking Network (OTN).

The objectives of both tagging projects are to determine the proportion of the northwest Atlantic dogfish population which migrates across the Canada-U.S. border, the northernmost extent of any migration, and the frequency of such migrations.

Previous Work:

Campana, S. E., Joyce, W., and Kulka, D. W. 2009. Growth and reproduction of spiny dogfish off the eastern coast of Canada, including inferences on stock structure. pp. 195-208. In: Gallucci, V. F., McFarlane, G. A., and Bargmann, G. G. [eds]. Biology and management of dogfish sharks. American Fisheries Society. Bethesda, Maryland. pdf

Campana, S.E., A.J.F. Gibson, L. Marks, W. Joyce, R. Rulifson and M. Dadswell. 2007. Stock structure, life history, fishery and abundance indices for spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias) in Atlantic Canada. CSAS Res. Doc. 2007/089. 136 p. pdf

Contact Information:

Dr. Steven Campana
Senior Scientist
Canadian Shark Research Laboratory
Bedford Institute of Oceanigraphy
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

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