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Ministry responsible: Environment and Parks
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.
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