Extirpated in most of the Great Lakes, the shortjaw cisco, Coregonus zenithicus, is currently found in Lakes Superior and Nipigon in addition to at least 22 Canadian lakes. The species exhibits morphological and genetic variability throughout its range and may consist of more than one distinct taxon. However, a common morph is widely distributed from the Great Lakes to the Northwest Territories, consistent with a hypothesis of preglacial origin for the species. Shortjaw ciscoes have declined because of excessive exploitation by food fisheries, habitat degradation, and predation and competition with introduced and exotic species such as alewife, Alosa pseudoharengus, and rainbow smelt, Osmerus mordax. The status of the species in most Canadian lakes is unknown, but continuing declines in those lakes that have been monitored suggest that the shortjaw cisco should be considered as threatened throughout its range.