Pygmy whitefish recovery plan engagement

In 2018, Albertans were asked for input on the plan to help recover the threatened pygmy whitefish populations in Alberta.

This engagement has been archived.
Status: Completed
Ministry responsible: Environment and Parks
Completed: 2018


In Alberta, pygmy whitefish are found in only two locations:

  • deep in Waterton Lake
  • in a 46 km stretch of the Athabasca River across the Jasper-Alberta boundary

Because their distribution is small and disconnected, pygmy whitefish were classified as ‘Threatened’ in 2014. Their extremely limited distribution also suggests that they have limited ability to expand their range and, perhaps, adapt to threats such as spills of harmful substances or habitat degradation or loss.

The section of pygmy whitefish habitat that runs in the Athabasca River, along the Yellowhead transportation corridor, is vulnerable to accidental spills of harmful substances, potentially resulting in the loss of the population.

The goals of the Pygmy Whitefish Recovery Plan are to maintain existing populations and to reduce the risk of population loss caused by threats such as accidental spills.

Albertans were invited to provide input into the draft Pygmy Whitefish Recovery Plan between May 31 and July 2, 2018. The survey was visited 91 times and completed by 15 respondents.

Life cycle

2011 – pygmy whitefish identified as ‘Threatened’ by the Endangered Species Conservation Committee

2014 – pygmy whitefish classified as ‘Threatened’ under Alberta's Wildlife Act.

2018 – Pygmy Whitefish Recovery Plan drafted and made available for comment

2018 – Pygmy Whitefish Recovery Plan presented to the Endangered Species Conservation Committee

2018 – Pygmy Whitefish Recovery Plan sent to the Minister of Environment and Parks for approval