Vulnerability of Greenland halibut in the Gulf of St Lawrence

Greenland halibut inhabiting the Gulf of St. Lawrence (GSL) is the warmest water population of this cold-water species. The population faces chronic hypoxia over its entire distribution, with oxygen levels at less than 50% of saturation. Hypoxia is most severe (18‒25% saturation) at the head of the main channels, including the St. Lawrence Estuary, which is the main nursery for this population. Both laboratory studies and field sampling show that low oxygen levels reduce the feeding and growth rates of juvenile Greenland Halibut. A distribution model based on environmental conditions and abundance predicts a reduction in the distribution and abundance of this species in the GSL by mid-century (2046–2065).

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