Fish of the Day – Atlantic tomcod
Posted on September 04, 2018
From time to time, members of the public ask if Alton has researched the many fish species in the Shubenacadie River estuary.
Detailed fact sheets on the Alton website describe research on twenty fish species, representing all levels of the food web, including Atlantic salmon, Atlantic tomcod, Striped bass, Atlantic sturgeon and American eel.
The fact sheets were developed by Dalhousie University with input from Alton consultants and reviewed by a multi-party working group including federal and provincial departments and representatives of the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia.
Each fact sheet explores the biology and life-cycle of the fish, habitat, findings of the Alton Gas surveys from 2008-2015, the implications of the Alton Gas project on the fish, life stage salinity tolerances and references for further reading.
Today’s update shares information from the fact sheets on Atlantic tomcod, or Tommy cod. Highlights about Atlantic tomcod:
- Shallow, near-shore marine waters such as Cobequid Bay and Minas Basin
- Broadly distributed from southern Labrador to North Carolina
- Migrate to low salinity brackish or freshwater areas in winter to spawn
- Their eggs settle and adhere to cobble-bottomed areas prior to hatching
- Larvae remain in fresh or low salinity water
- Local anglers indicate tomcod spawn in Rines Creek, a freshwater tributary of the Shubenacadie upstream of the Alton Gas site
- Eggs and larvae develop best when in salinities of 0 to 15ppt, but tolerate salinity up to 30ppt on high tides
- Juveniles stay in estuary water above 10ppt to full salt
- Adults are tolerant of all salinities 0 to 35ppt
To read the full text on Atlantic tomcod, see pages 16-18 in the detailed fish fact sheets. To learn more about the Alton project visit www.altonnaturalgasstorage.ca, where you also can read the questions and answers in the Fish and Water section of the FAQ.