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K O D A K. Species at Risk Act :. Implications for Pacific Fisheries. January 7, 2004. SARA. THE PROPOSED SPECIES AT RISK ACT. Most provisions entered into force June 2003 Prohibitions will enter into force June 2004.

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species at risk act


Species at Risk Act:

Implications forPacific Fisheries

January 7, 2004



  • Most provisions entered into force June 2003
  • Prohibitions will enter into force June 2004

SARA protects wildlife at risk from becoming extinct or lost in the wild, with the ultimate objective of helping their numbers to recover.

The Act covers all wildlife species listed as being at risk nationally and their critical habitats

  • SARA applies directly to aquatic species, migratory birds, species on federal lands
  • Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is the competent Minister for aquatic species
    • under SARA aquatic species are defined as in the Fisheries Act
risk categories

“gone from the world or from Canada”

“Extinct, Extirpated”

“at significant risk of biological extinction”


“likely to become Endangered if limiting factors not reversed”


“particularly sensitive to human activities or natural events”

“Special Concern”

“assessed and OK”

“Not at Risk”

“insufficient evidence to support status determination”

“Data Deficient”

Risk Categories


(Min. of Environment)

  • (Gov. in Council)
      • Endangered, Threatened
    • (COSEWIC)

Species at Risk Act:Aquatic species



(Min. F&O)



(Min. F&O)

Automatic Prohibitions

Mandatory Recovery Planning

Stewardship Programs / Incentives


Critical Habitat

sara aquatic species
SARA - aquatic species
  • SARA Schedule 1 now includes 34 endangered and threatened aquatic species (29 in Pacific) - prohibitions will be in effect June 2004 (unless modified by permits or recovery strategy provisions) and recovery strategies must be developed
  • COSEWIC (Committee on Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) has assessed an additional 28 species (10 in Pacific) since January 2002 - addition to Schedule 1 must be considered by GIC
  • An additional 12 SARA Schedule 2 species must be reassessed by COSEWIC and considered by GIC
  • COSEWIC candidate list includes a number of aquatic species to be assessed in coming years
  • Definition of “species” includes “distinct populations”; some of the above are populations
sara aquatic species 2
SARA - aquatic species (2)
  • A wide range of aquatic species assessed or likely to be assessed as endangered or threatened by COSEWIC are candidates for protection and recovery under SARA, for example:
  • Marine
    • widespread species taken in fisheries (northern abalone, bocaccio, salmon, northern and spotted wolffish, cusk)
    • marine mammals important for aboriginal subsistence (beluga whales, eastern Arctic bowhead)
    • marine mammals important for ecotourism or impacted by human activities (killer whales, right whale, blue whale)
  • Freshwater
    • widespread species impacted by fisheries (white sturgeon)
    • fish and molluscs impacted by agriculture, urban development, transportation ( salish sucker, nooksack dace)
fisheries implications
Fisheries implications
  • Potential restrictions on commercial and recreational fisheries (target or bycatch species), for example:
    • change fishing seasons or areas
    • need to develop selective gear or live release methods
  • Potential restrictions on other activities impacting fish and fish habitat
    • marine: navigation, tourism (whale-watching)
    • inland waters: forestry, agriculture, mining, urban development
  • Potential impacts for Aboriginal economic self-sufficiency and food/social/ceremonial harvests
fisheries implications 2
Fisheries implications (2)
  • Delivery on new SARA obligations will be, as much as possible, in context of existing programs for aquatic species
    • fisheries management plans will have to include measures to protect and recover listed species
    • habitat issues for listed species will have to be addressed
  • Overall goal is to develop cooperative approaches to implementation
implementing sara coho example
Implementing SARA: coho example
  • Interior Fraser coho
    • widely distributed throughout Pacific coast
    • abundance declined through 80s & 90s
    • strict conservation measure established in 98
    • incidental catch in many fisheries
sara implementation coho
SARA Implementation - Coho


  • previous assessments (DFO 1998) expressed concern about stock status
  • assessed as “endangered” by COSEWIC May 2002
  • Status Report available on SARA Public Registry
  • Legal listing:
  • DFO will lead consultations with provincial government, First Nations, industry, other interested stakeholders on adding interior coho to Schedule 1 of SARA
  • Minister of Environment (consult with Minister of F+O) must recommend to GIC whether to add to list, not to add to list, or refer back to COSEWIC for further information or consideration
sara implementation coho1
SARA Implementation - Coho

Automatic prohibitions:

  • will enter into force when the species is added to the list: forbidden to kill or harm except under permit or consistent with provisions of a recovery strategy


  • harm to the species can be authorised under certain conditions: “incidental harm” (eg bycatch); harm allowable under recovery strategy; scientific research
  • must show that the harm would not jeopardise survival or recovery of the species
  • will be based on scientific assessments of whether the extent of harm is biologically allowable
sara implementation coho2
SARA Implementation - Coho

Recovery strategy development

  • must be complete within one year of listing for “endangered” species
  • will be based on available scientific information and on input from stakeholders, provincial governments
  • a recovery team has been established, led by DFO
  • SARA specifies required contents:
    • identify threats, strategy to address threats
    • identify critical habitat, to extent possible…
    • population and distribution objectives
    • timing of action plan
sara implementation coho3
SARA Implementation - Coho

Habitat protection:

  • COSEWIC referred to damage to habitat as a threat
  • SARA requires us to identify critical habitat in recovery strategy; or, if not possible, to provide a schedule of studies to determine critical habitat
  • Implementationof recovery strategies and action plans
  • Will require cooperation of industry, to operate in accord with recovery strategy provisions
  • Possible access to stewardship funding to help adapt fishing methods
  • Fisheries management plans, permits will be modified in accordance with provisions of recovery strategy
other species relevant to the pacific
Other species relevant to the Pacific
  • Bocaccio
    • ‘threatened’, COSEWIC Nov 2002
    • listing proposal must be developed
    • would require recovery strategy
    • high fishery impacts
  • Northern abalone
    • “threatened”, COSEWIC 1999
    • On Schedule 1
    • recovery strategy and action plan completed
    • Fishery closed since 1990
other species relevant to the pacific1
Other species relevant to the Pacific
  • Sakinaw Lake and Cultus Lake sockeye
    • “endangered”, COSEWIC by emergency May 2003
    • listing proposal must be developed
    • would require recovery strategy – recovery team established, process underway
    • High fishery impacts
  • Killer whales – southern resident population
    • “endangered”, COSEWIC 2001
    • on Schedule 1
    • Recovery strategy development underway
other species relevant to the pacific2
Other species relevant to the Pacific
  • Leatherback turtle
    • “endangered” on Schedule 1
    • must develop measures to limit harm to sustainable levels, as prohibitions will begin June 2004
    • recovery strategy completed in 2003
  • Sea Otter
    • “threatened” on Schedule 1
    • Recovery strategy completed in 2002
    • Action plan development under way
    • multi-stakeholder recovery team
    • limited fishery impacts
other species relevant to the pacific3
Other species relevant to the Pacific
  • 29 endangered or threatened
  • Some others include:
    • White sturgeon
    • Northern and transient killer whales
    • Northern right whale
    • Blue whale
    • Sei whale
    • Several freshwater species (3 dace populations, 2 lamprey, Salish sucker, 3 sculpin, 9 stickleback)
sara implementation summary
SARA implementation - summary
  • Cooperative approach with fishing industry will be essential to successful implementation
  • This is a new Act and we don’t have all the answers: your feedback is important as we move to implement
  • Recovery strategies must be based on practical measures, in line with sound fisheries management:
    • could include bycatch restrictions, changes to gear, areas, seasons
    • need to ensure that integrated fishery management plans support protection and recovery
    • will require developing measurable objectives for recovery and means to determine progress toward these
  • SARA implementation will require balancing protection and recovery of species at risk with maintaining sustainable fisheries
  • Decisions must be based on sound science and assessment of risks
  • Full involvement of affected people will be key to making sound decisions
    • input to decisions on whether to list
    • modify fishery management plans in accordance with SARA requirements
    • contribute to development and implementation of recovery strategies and action plans
    • operate in accordance with agreed measures
conclusions 2
Conclusions (2)
  • SARA implementation is approaching
    • prohibitions for Schedule 1 threatened and endangered species begin June 2004 (eg northern abalone, sea otters, killer whales)
    • recommendation on whether to add further species to list (salmon, bocaccio,)
    • ensure 2004 fishery management plans accommodate SARA requirements (groundfish, pelagic, shellfish, others ?)
    • development of recovery strategies, action plans, management plans (salmon, killer whales, blue whale, freshwater species)