SOR/2017-59 April 13, 2017
SPECIES AT RISK ACT
Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act
P.C. 2017-395 April 13, 2017
His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, pursuant to subsection 27(1) of the Species at Risk Act (see footnote a), makes the annexed Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act.
Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act
1 Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act (see footnote 1) is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading “Mammals”:
Seal Lacs des Loups Marins subspecies, Harbour (Phoca vitulina mellonae)
Phoque commun de la sous-espèce des Lacs des Loups Marins
Whale, Beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) St. Lawrence Estuary population
Béluga population de l’estuaire du Saint-Laurent
2 Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by striking out the following under the heading “Reptiles”:
Sea Turtle, Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea)
3 Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading “Reptiles”:
Sea Turtle, Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) Atlantic population
Tortue luth population de l’Atlantique
Sea Turtle, Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) Pacific population
Tortue luth population du Pacifique
Sea Turtle, Loggerhead (Caretta caretta)
4 Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by striking out the following under the heading “Fish”:
Trout, Aurora (Salvelinus fontinalis timagamiensis)
5 Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading “Fish”:
Dace, Redside (Clinostomus elongatus)
6 Part 3 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by striking out the following under the heading “Mammals”:
Whale, Beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) St. Lawrence Estuary population
Béluga population de l’estuaire du Saint-Laurent
7 Part 3 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading “Mammals”:
Whale, Beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) Cumberland Sound population
Béluga population de la baie Cumberland
8 Part 3 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading “Fish”:
Sucker, Mountain (Catostomus platyrhynchus) Milk River populations
Meunier des montagnes populations de la rivière Milk
9 Part 3 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading “Molluscs”:
Atlantic Mud-piddock (Barnea truncata)
10 Part 4 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading “Fish”:
Dolly Varden (Salvelinus malma malma) Western Arctic populations
Dolly Varden populations de l’ouest de l’Arctique
Sculpin, Rocky Mountain (Cottus sp.) Westslope populations
Chabot des montagnes Rocheuses populations du versant ouest
Sucker, Mountain (Catostomus platyrhynchus) Pacific populations
Meunier des montagnes populations du Pacifique
Coming into Force
11 This Order comes into force on the day on which it is registered.
REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT
(This statement is not part of the Order.)
As a result of emerging and evolving threats and pressures related to human activities, more aquatic wildlife species in Canada face the risk of extirpation or extinction. Such outcomes do not serve the long-term interests of Canadians as each species performs important biological functions within ecosystems and may be of intrinsic, commercial, recreational or societal value to the Canadian public. Threats and pressures can be addressed through conservation and protection measures to ensure healthy aquatic ecosystems for future generations.
Therefore, the Governor in Council (GIC), (see footnote 2) based on the recommendations from the Minister of the Environment according to the assessments by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), amends the List of Wildlife Species at Risk (Schedule 1) [the List] under the Species at Risk Act (SARA or the Act) by: adding nine aquatic species to Schedule 1; reclassifying one aquatic species on Schedule 1 from threatened to endangered; removing one species previously listed as a single designatable unit (i.e. a single species) and replacing it with two new designatable units on Schedule 1; and removing one species from Schedule 1 that is no longer considered eligible by COSEWIC for assessment. (see footnote 3)
The Species at Risk Act (SARA) was passed by Parliament in 2002. The purposes of this Act are to prevent wildlife species from being extirpated or becoming extinct, to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are threatened, endangered or extirpated as a result of human activity, and to manage species of special concern to prevent them from becoming threatened or endangered.
The Act is a key tool in the ongoing work to protect species at risk. By providing for the protection, survival and recovery of listed wildlife species at risk, SARA is one of the most important tools in the conservation of Canada’s biological diversity. It complements other laws and programs of Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments, and supports the efforts of conservation organizations and partners working to protect Canadian wildlife and habitat.
Wildlife species considered to be at risk in Canada are assessed and classified by COSEWIC, an independent arm’s-length scientific advisory body. COSEWIC bases the species assessments on the best available scientific, community and traditional Aboriginal knowledge. The assessment results trigger the SARA ministerial response process, followed by legal listing and protection decisions by the GIC, upon recommendations from the Minister of the Environment.
SARA provides the following definitions for classifications of wildlife species at risk:
- Extirpated -- “extirpated species” means a wildlife species that no longer exists in the wild in Canada, but exists elsewhere in the wild;
- Endangered -- “endangered species” means a wildlife species that is facing imminent extirpation or extinction;
- Threatened -- “threatened species” means a wildlife species that is likely to become an endangered species if nothing is done to reverse the factors leading to its extirpation or extinction; and
- Special concern -- “species of special concern” means a wildlife species that may become a threatened or an endangered species because of a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats.
Prohibitions under SARA
Once an aquatic species is added to the List in SARA as threatened, endangered or extirpated, the general prohibitions under sections 32 and 33 of the Act apply, making it an offence to:
- kill, harm, harass, capture or take an individual of a listed species;
- possess, collect, buy, sell or trade an individual of a listed species, or any part or derivative of a listed species; and
- damage or destroy the residence of one or more individuals of a listed species (for species listed as extirpated, this prohibition only applies if a recovery strategy has proposed its reintroduction into the wild in Canada).
Listed species benefit from SARA program funding and required recovery planning. For species classified as threatened, endangered or extirpated, all the following implications apply: all general prohibitions; development of a recovery strategy; one or many action plans; and the identification and protection of critical habitat. Although species listed as special concern are not subject to the prohibitions, there is a requirement under SARA for the development of a management plan, which must include measures for the conservation of the species that the competent minister considers appropriate.
The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is the competent minister for aquatic species, other than for those individuals found in or on federal lands administered by the Parks Canada Agency, for which the Minister of the Environment is the competent minister, as Minister responsible for the Parks Canada Agency. The Minister of the Environment is also competent minister with respect to all other individuals (of terrestrial and migratory bird species). In addition to her role as competent minister, the Minister of the Environment is also responsible for the overall administration of SARA.
When COSEWIC completes an assessment of the status of a wildlife species, it provides the Minister of the Environment with a copy of the assessment and the reasons for it. On receiving a copy of a COSEWIC assessment, the Minister of the Environment must, within 90 days, include in the public registry a report on how the Minister intends to respond to the assessment and, to the extent possible, provide timelines for action.
In her capacity as Minister responsible for the overall administration of SARA, the Minister of the Environment provides listing recommendations to the GIC with respect to all species. However, prior to making a recommendation to the GIC with respect to aquatic species, the Minister of the Environment is required by SARA to consult the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans as competent minister for aquatic species. The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans then provides the Minister of the Environment with his or her advice as to whether or not an aquatic species should be added to Schedule 1 of SARA or whether the matter should be referred back to COSEWIC for further information or consideration.
In developing listing advice to the Minister of the Environment in relation to each aquatic species, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans considers the following, as appropriate:
- The purposes of SARA;
- The species status assessment made by COSEWIC;
- Other available information regarding the status and threats to the species;
- The Fisheries and Oceans Canada Species at Risk Act Listing Policy and Directive for “Do Not List” Advice; (see footnote 4)
- The results of consultations with the public, provinces and territories, Indigenous peoples and organizations and wildlife management boards (see footnote 5) and with any other person or organization that the competent minister considers appropriate;
- The socio-economic (costs and benefits), biological and corporate impacts; and
- Where the Minister of the Environment is also a competent minister for the species, the advice of the Minister of the Environment, as the Minister responsible for the Parks Canada Agency is sought.
Receipt of assessments for species that are not currently listed on Schedule 1 of SARA engages a nine-month legislated timeline (see footnote 6) requiring the GIC, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, to render a final decision on whether or not to list a given species under Schedule 1 of SARA; or refer a species back to COSEWIC for further information or consideration. If neither of these decisions is taken within the nine-month timeline, then the Minister of the Environment is required by the SARA to amend the List in accordance with the COSEWIC assessment.
As per the Fisheries and Oceans Canada Species at Risk Act Listing Policy and Directive for “Do Not List” Advice, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has adopted the “Default Listing Position” to provide a common and consistent starting point in the consideration of all COSEWIC assessments for aquatic species. According to the Default Listing Position, DFO will advise that the List be amended for a species as classified by COSEWIC, unless DFO can provide a compelling rationale not to do so. The preamble to SARA also recognizes the precautionary principle; that is, where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage to a wildlife species, cost-effective measures to prevent the reduction or loss of the species should not be postponed for a lack of full scientific certainty. The Default Listing Position is aligned with this principle, as it requires “do not list” advice to be compelling and based on rigorous, structured, comprehensive and transparent analysis.
In cases where a species is not listed under SARA, the decision not to list that species on Schedule 1, after the receipt of the COSEWIC assessment, means that the prohibitions and the requirement to prepare a recovery strategy under SARA (for species classified as threatened, endangered or extirpated, including the identification and protection of critical habitat would not apply. Instead, the species would be managed using the existing framework of legislative (e.g. Fisheries Act) and non-legislative (e.g. government programs, actions by non-governmental organizations, industry and Canadians) tools that apply to aquatic species.
Overall protection of aquatic wildlife species at risk contributes to national biodiversity and protects ecosystems productivity, health, and resiliency (i.e. the ability of an ecosystem to respond to changes and disturbances). Given interdependency of species, loss of biodiversity can lead to decreases in ecosystem function and services. These services are important to the health of Canadians, and also have important ties to Canada’s economy (e.g. commercial, recreational, Indigenous fisheries). Small changes within an ecosystem resulting in the loss of individuals and species can therefore result in adverse irreversible and broad ranging effects.
Specifically, the objective of the Order is to help maintain Canada’s biodiversity and the wellbeing of Canadian ecosystems through the recovery and protection of species at risk.
The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans prepared listing advice for 15 aquatic species. On August 5, 2016, the GIC formally acknowledged receipt of assessments for 15 aquatic species that had been assessed by COSEWIC. Thirteen of the 15 species are addressed in the Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act, and a separate Order is issued with respect to the decisions not to add two species to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk, which will cover the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna, and the Yellowmouth Rockfish. The decisions not to list these species were made on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, in consultation with the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.
The classifications assigned by COSEWIC for 15 species are presented in Table 1. The full status reports, including the reasons for each of the 15 species’ classification and each species’ geographic range are available on the Species at Risk Public Registry website. (see footnote 7)
Table 1 -- Classifications of 15 species assessed by COSEWIC and received by the GIC
|Aquatic species added to Schedule 1 of SARA (9)|
|Dolly Varden (Western Arctic populations)||Special concern|
|Mountain Sucker (Pacific populations)||Special concern|
|Rocky Mountain Sculpin (Westslope populations)||Special concern|
|Mountain Sucker (Milk River populations)||Threatened|
|Harbour Seal (Lac des Loups Marins subspecies)||Endangered|
|Beluga Whale (Cumberland Sound population)||Threatened|
|Loggerhead Sea Turtle||Endangered|
|Aquatic species reclassified on Schedule 1 of SARA (1)|
|Beluga Whale (St. Lawrence Estuary population)||Endangered|
|Aquatic species where one previously listed species is replaced with two new designatable units in Schedule 1 of SARA (2)|
|Leatherback Sea Turtle (Atlantic population)||Endangered|
|Leatherback Sea Turtle (Pacific population)||Endangered|
|Aquatic species removed from Schedule 1 of SARA (1)|
|Aurora Trout||Ineligible for assessment|
|Aquatic species not added to Schedule 1 of SARA (2)|
|Atlantic Bluefin Tuna||Endangered|
The 15 aquatic species were assessed by COSEWIC during meetings held between May 2004 and May 2014. Public consultations were conducted by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans following the respective COSEWIC assessments. Consultations were facilitated through online surveys, mail-outs, emails, faxes, public notices, public meetings, and consultation documents along with supporting documents that were made available on the Species at Risk Public Registry and other government websites. Consultations were conducted with fish harvesters, industry sectors, recreational fishers, Indigenous groups, environmental organizations, other levels of government and the public. As well, the Department of the Environment consulted directly with implicated wildlife management boards for Dolly Varden and Beluga Whale (Cumberland Sound population). Summaries of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Department of the Environment consultations are outlined below by species.
Listing a species on Schedule 1 of SARA entails both benefits and costs in terms of social, environmental and economic considerations, through the development of management plans for species listed as species of special concern, and the development of recovery strategies and action plans -- in addition to, among other things, the enforcement of the SARA general prohibitions upon listing -- for species listed as threatened, endangered or extirpated. This document outlines the estimated benefits and costs associated with adding nine species to Schedule 1 of SARA, reclassifying one species on Schedule 1, removing one species from Schedule 1, and striking out one species listed in Schedule 1 and replacing it with two new designatable units. For the purposes of this document, the rationale regarding decisions not to add the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna and the Yellowmouth Rockfish to Schedule 1 can be found in the statement setting out the reasons for the decisions not to add these species, annexed to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk (Decisions Not to Add Certain Species) Order.
Wildlife, in all its forms, has value in and of itself and is valued by Canadians for aesthetic, cultural, spiritual, recreational, educational, historical, economic, medical, ecological and scientific reasons. The Canadian Biodiversity Strategy was jointly developed by the federal, provincial and territorial governments, in response to the Canadian Government’s signing (with support from provincial and territorial governments) of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity in 1992. (see footnote 8) SARA also facilitates the National Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk under which federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for wildlife have committed to a national approach for the protection of species at risk.
When seeking to quantify the economic benefits to society provided by a species, a commonly used framework is the Total Economic Value (TEV). The TEV of a species can be broken down into the following components:
- Direct Use Value -- refers to the consumptive use of a resource, such as fishing;
- Indirect Use Value -- includes non-consumptive activities, such as whale watching, which represents recreational value;
- Option Use Value -- represents the value of preserving a species for future direct and indirect use; and
- Passive Values (or non-use value) -- include bequest value, which is the value of preserving a species for future generations, and existence value, which represents the altruistic value individuals derive from simply knowing that a given species exists, regardless of potential for any future use.
Collectively, indirect use, option use and passive values are often classified under the umbrella of non-market values (NMV). These are values that lack commercial markets where their value can be directly observed, despite their importance. For species at risk, NMVs are typically an important component of the TEV. When a given species is not readily accessible to society, existence value may be the major or only benefit of that particular species. NMV can be estimated by stated preferences surveys that estimate willingness to pay -- the amount an individual is willing to pay to preserve a species.
Quantitative information is limited regarding Canadians’ willingness to pay for the preservation of species under consideration in the Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act. However, studies on other at-risk species indicate Canadians place substantial economic value upon targeted conservation programs, even for species with which they are unfamiliar. Although specific estimates are not available for the species considered here, it is not always necessary to quantify the benefits of protection in order to determine their likely magnitude in comparison to the costs imposed on Canadians. The analyses provided herein use the best available quantitative and qualitative information to assess expected benefits.
The world economy depends on the continued health of natural capital. For some listed aquatic species, protection under SARA can lead to direct and indirect economic benefits in the future as populations recover. Listing species at risk can provide numerous benefits to Canadians beyond direct economic benefits, such as the preservation of essential ecosystem goods and services. Biodiversity is the basis for many ecosystem goods and changes in biodiversity can influence the supply of ecosystem services from which Canadians benefit. Species considered for SARA listing can enhance biodiversity and serve as indicators of environmental quality. These species support the natural function, health and resilience of their ecosystems.
In addition, numerous studies show that Canadians place value on preserving species for future generations to enjoy and place value on knowing the species exist, even if they will never personally see or otherwise enjoy them. Furthermore, the unique characteristics and evolutionary histories of many species at risk make them of special interest to the scientific community.
The additional or incremental costs of protecting and recovering species in this regulatory impact analysis statement and Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act could be borne by several segments of society. For government, major categories of costs attributed to the Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act include compliance promotion, implementation, monitoring and evaluation and, in particular, the enforcement of the SARA prohibitions and/or the preparation and implementation of recovery strategies, action plans, or management plans. Additional costs to Canadians may arise from the changes in economic activity that are required to accommodate species protection, for example, reduced harvests or the application of best management practices to preserve habitat or avoid incidental mortality.
The magnitude of costs borne by affected parties (including industries, individuals and different levels of government) vary and will depend on a combination of some key parameters. These parameters include the classification of the species, the threats to the species, the population size and distribution of the species and economic activities impacting the species, for example
- For the aquatic species added to Schedule 1 as a species of special concern, the general prohibitions under sections 32 and 33 of SARA would not apply, so there are no costs to assure compliance with legislated prohibitions. Rather, affected stakeholders may carry minimal costs stemming from the development and implementation of the SARA management plan.
- No new costs are anticipated with respect to the Beluga Whale (St. Lawrence Estuary population) because this species was already listed on Schedule 1 and was revised to a new classification. The prohibitions in sections 32 and 33 of SARA already apply to the Leatherback Sea Turtle (Atlantic population) and the Leatherback Sea Turtle (Pacific population), because the Leatherback Sea Turtle was already listed under Schedule 1 and was amended to recognize two distinct populations. The prohibitions in sections 32 and 33 of SARA will not apply to the Aurora Trout, as this species was designated as ineligible for assessment and was removed from the List.
- For the aquatic species added to Schedule 1 under the endangered or threatened classifications, the general prohibitions are triggered automatically upon listing, and impacts to Canadians could occur. For these species, the impacts are detailed below.
It is anticipated that there are low incremental costs to stakeholders and Indigenous groups as a result of the Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act, considering the existing federal regulatory mechanisms in place. The federal government may undertake some additional activities associated with compliance promotion and enforcement and recovery and protection activities. As a result, incremental costs for the federal government have been absorbed through existing funding allocations.
Costs and benefits associated with the final listing recommendations are outlined below.
Aquatic species added to Schedule 1 of SARA
Special concern -- Dolly Varden (Western Arctic populations), Mountain Sucker (Pacific populations), and Rocky Mountain Sculpin (Westslope populations)
Three species are added to Schedule 1 as species of special concern. Listing a species as special concern does not trigger the section 32 or 33 prohibitions under SARA for that species and, therefore, there are no anticipated socio-economic impacts for Canadians and businesses upon listing. However, SARA requires the preparation and implementation of a management plan subsequent to listing species as special concern. The management plan must include measures for the conservation of the species. Listing the species as special concern and the preparation of the management plan may result in increased awareness of the species, which may result in benefits through voluntary changes in activities that pose a threat to the species. While there may be incremental costs and benefits associated with the management plan, these cannot be evaluated until such time as the details of the management measures for the conservation of species are known.
Dolly Varden (Western Arctic populations)
Dolly Varden belongs to the family of salmon and trout-like fishes. Two subspecies are recognized in Canada: the southern form (Pacific populations); and the northern form (Western Arctic populations). The Western Arctic population of Dolly Varden has a very limited range associated with a relatively small number of locations that are necessary for spawning and overwintering in the Arctic. Three of the rivers where the Dolly Varden occurs lie within or partially within Ivvavik National Park of Canada: Fish River, Malcolm River and Firth River. A portion of the known overwintering and spawning sites on the Firth River lies within the park. The species is also found in Babbage River which forms the eastern border of Ivvavik National Park. The main threats identified by COSEWIC are low water levels and low groundwater flow, especially at spawning and overwintering grounds, past overharvesting, potential offshore industrial infrastructure that could impede movement of anadromous fish, and terrestrial resource extraction. COSEWIC assessed the Dolly Varden (Western Arctic populations) and classified it as a species of special concern in 2010.
An information summary of the species and a comment form were posted on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (Pacific Region) consultation website from November 4 to December 16, 2011, and again on the Species at Risk Public Registry website from January 26 to April 20, 2012. Additionally, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans sent letters to 18 environmental non-governmental organizations and 5 stakeholders, and 13 First Nations and Renewable Resources Councils received mailed and faxed letters offering them the possibility of a bilateral meeting with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The consultation was also advertised in two regional newspapers. Six consultation responses were received by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, all of which supported listing the species as special concern.
DFO consulted directly with the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board, the Fisheries Joint Management Committee for the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, the Gwich’in Renewable Resources Board, and gave presentations to two Indigenous groups directly involved in Dolly Varden management. In April 2015, the federal Minister of the Environment sent letters to the three wildlife management boards affected by the Dolly Varden listing. The Government of Yukon expressed support for listing the species, as did the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board, the Gwich’in Renewable Resources Board and the Fisheries Joint Management Committee for the Inuvialuit Settlement Region. No comments were received indicating opposition to listing the species and no response was received from the Government of Northwest Territories.
Benefits and costs
As prohibitions under SARA do not apply to species of special concern, it is anticipated that there are no socio-economic benefits or costs from listing the Dolly Varden (Western Arctic populations). However, there may be some costs and benefits associated primarily with the implementation of the management plan.
Listing the Dolly Varden (Western Arctic populations) as a species of special concern aligns with DFO’s default listing policy. There are no significant socio-economic impacts associated with listing as there is no commercial fishing quota for any Dolly Varden stocks and the existing food, social and ceremonial, and recreational fisheries could continue. A SARA management plan will be developed in cooperation with governments, wildlife management boards, Indigenous organizations and any other organization that the competent minister considers appropriate. The management plan will include measures to promote the conservation of the species, drawing upon information and management measures already identified in the Integrated Fisheries Management Plan.
Mountain Sucker (Pacific populations)
The Mountain Sucker is a small bottom-dwelling freshwater sucker fish found in the western Great Plains and in British Columbia. It is associated with cool waters, higher gradient reaches, and gravel and cobble substrates. The main threats include water availability, climate change, channelization, siltation, impoundments, flow regulation, toxicity (e.g. chemical spills), and exotic species. The Mountain Sucker’s naturally fragmented habitat renders it more susceptible to cumulative effects from a multitude of threats. COSEWIC assessed the Mountain Sucker (Pacific populations) and classified it as a species of special concern in 2010.
Consultations were conducted in November and December 2011. Letters were mailed, emailed and faxed to the Province of British Columbia, 15 stakeholder organizations, 20 environmental non-governmental organizations, and 15 First Nations communities and organizations. All letters to First Nations offered the possibility of a bilateral meeting with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. DFO received only two responses during this consultation: one from the Province of British Columbia, and one from a First Nations group, both of which supported listing.
Benefits and costs
The Mountain Sucker inhabits river systems that are home to several endangered species that are already listed under SARA and to which the prohibitions under the Act apply. Additional benefits from listing under SARA for this species are not significant with the exception of the development of the management plan, which contributes to better management of the species. Minimal incremental costs are expected from listing the species as a result of voluntary actions that may occur subsequent to the implementation of the management plan.
Listing the Mountain Sucker (Pacific populations) as a species of special concern aligns with DFO’s default listing policy. It is anticipated that the benefits of listing are greater than the costs given that there are no significant socio-economic impacts associated with listing, as the SARA prohibitions do not apply to species listed as special concern. A SARA management plan will be prepared, in cooperation with governments, Indigenous organizations and any other person or organization that the competent minister considers appropriate. Moreover, listing is expected to provide increased public awareness and management oversight.
Rocky Mountain Sculpin (Westslope populations)
The Rocky Mountain Sculpin (Westslope populations) is a small, sedentary bottom-dwelling freshwater fish restricted to a small number of locations within the Flathead River basin in southeastern British Columbia. Identified threats include changes in habitat quality due to sedimentation from road construction, maintenance and ATV use and potential resource development such as coal mining, gold mining, road building, railroad extensions, and town site developments. COSEWIC assessed the Rocky Mountain Sculpin (Westslope populations) and classified it as a species of special concern in 2010.
Consultations were conducted on DFO’s Pacific Region’s consultation website from November 8, 2010, to December 17, 2010. Letters were mailed, emailed and faxed to 5 industry organizations, 19 environmental non-governmental organizations, and 9 First Nations communities and organizations. All letters to First Nations offered the possibility of a bilateral meeting with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
Four responses were received: two responses from non-governmental organizations were in support of listing; one response from the Province of British Columbia supported listing; and one response from industry did not support listing. No responses were received from the nine First Nations. The respondent who opposed listing stated that the Government of British Columbia already prohibits oil, gas and mining activities; therefore, these activities are no longer a threat to the species. DFO responded to the comments made by industry and stated that a disagreement with COSEWIC on the nature of threats was not justification enough for not listing the species or referring the species back to COSEWIC.
Benefits and costs
The Province of British Columbia has taken steps to limit activities in the Flathead Valley, where the species is located. This, combined with other restrictions in place under the Fisheries Act, may limit the socio-economic benefits of listing. Minimal socio-economic costs are expected from listing the species, as a result of voluntary actions after the implementation of the management plan. Moreover, the species is non-commercial and found in a small number of remote locations with limited commercial development potential; no incremental cost impacts are expected, further reducing the likelihood of costs.
Listing the Rocky Mountain Sculpin (Westslope populations) as a species of special concern aligns with DFO’s default listing policy. It is anticipated that the benefits of listing are greater than the costs, as there are no significant socio-economic impacts associated with listing this species, since the SARA prohibitions do not apply to species listed as species of special concern. A SARA management plan will be prepared, in cooperation with governments, Indigenous organizations and any other person or organization that the competent minister considers appropriate. Moreover, listing is expected to provide increased public awareness and management oversight through the development of management plans.
Threatened -- Mountain Sucker (Milk River populations), Beluga Whale (Cumberland Sound population), Atlantic Mud-piddock
Three species are added to Schedule 1 as threatened. Sections 32 and 33 of the Act apply with respect to species listed as threatened.
Subsequent to the listing of the species as threatened, SARA also requires the preparation and implementation of a SARA recovery strategy and one or more action plans for the recovery of the species. While there may be incremental costs and benefits associated with the recovery strategies and action plans, these cannot be evaluated until the details are known. In order to complete the cost-benefit analysis, management scenarios that describe probable changes to the requirements for stakeholders (including industry, Government, Canadian consumers and Indigenous communities) as a result of listing a species as threatened have been evaluated to provide estimates of incremental costs and benefits.
Once a species is listed as threatened, the requirement to identify and protect critical habitat is triggered. The costs and benefits of protecting critical habitat are unknown at this time, as critical habitat has not yet been identified. However, given the federal regulatory mechanisms in place once a species is listed, the protection of critical habitat may not result in further impacts on stakeholders or Indigenous peoples.
Mountain Sucker (Milk River populations)
The Mountain Sucker is a small freshwater fish with a limited area of occupancy in the Milk River basin of southern Alberta and Saskatchewan. Its small area of occupancy and small number of locations (eight) make it particularly susceptible to habitat loss and degradation from altered flow regimes and drought that climate change is expected to exacerbate. COSEWIC assessed the Mountain Sucker (Milk River populations) and classified it as threatened in 2010.
Online consultations were conducted through the Species at Risk Public Registry from February 28, 2013, to April 30, 2013. Letters were emailed and faxed to 10 First Nations communities and organizations; letters were sent to the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan; and public notices were placed in 2 English daily newspapers, 2 English weekly newspapers, and one French newspaper.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans received 7 responses, none of which were from the 10 First Nations communities and organizations. Two responses were received from the general public that supported the listing of the Mountain Sucker (Milk River populations) as threatened; four responses were received that opposed listing. The Province of Alberta did not support listing the Mountain Sucker (Milk River populations) as a separate designatable unit in Alberta. The Province considers Mountain Sucker as a province-wide population and, under that criterion, the species is not considered to be an at-risk species. The Province of Saskatchewan does not support listing because it believes adequate protection is already in place under its provincial Environmental Management and Protection Act, 2010 and has concerns about the impact that listing would have on stakeholders. Once listed, the Mountain Sucker (Milk River populations) would be added to DFO’s Milk River and St. Mary River action plan, along with two other listed aquatic freshwater species, the Rocky Mountain Sculpin and the Western Silvery Minnow.
One community group opposed listing the species as threatened, stating that the threats to the population are minimal, as an abundance of Mountain Suckers from other parts of the river system, such as the St. Mary River, could repopulate the Milk River population if a catastrophic event occurred. One response from a member of the general public opposed listing, stating that not enough research and monitoring had been done to illustrate evidence of habitat loss or degraded habitat quality, and indicated a perception that the threats to the species are low since the species is receiving indirect ecosystem benefits from other management measures in the area [i.e. those associated with the Western Silvery Minnow and the Rocky Mountain Sculpin (Eastslope populations)]. One neutral response was received.
Benefits and costs
The socio-economic benefits and costs are anticipated to be negligible, as prohibitions and restrictions are currently in place under SARA with respect to other co-occurring listed species (the Rocky Mountain Sculpin and the Western Silvery Minnow), and prohibitions are in place under the federal Fisheries Act.
Listing the Mountain Sucker (Milk River populations) as threatened aligns with DFO’s default listing policy. There are no significant socio-economic impacts identified with listing the species. Upon listing, a recovery strategy and one or more action plans will be developed in cooperation and consultation with governments, Indigenous organizations and any other person or organization that the competent minister considers appropriate. Listing demonstrates the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ commitment to protecting Canada’s species at risk and will likely result in resources being provided to undertake recovery of this species for the enjoyment of future generations of Canadians.
The draft federal action plan for other Milk River species, specifically the Western Silvery Minnow and the Rocky Mountain Sculpin (Eastslope populations), in Alberta will be expanded to become the Milk River watershed action plan to accommodate the Mountain Sucker. Listing this species increases the number of aquatic species that will be protected under SARA in the Milk River watershed in Canada to three species, and promotes the development of an ecosystem-based recovery strategy benefiting these and other species.
Beluga Whale (Cumberland Sound population)
Beluga Whales are toothed whales, pure white in colour, with prominent, rounded foreheads. Their thick skin and lack of dorsal fin are believed to be adaptations to cold, icy waters. The Cumberland Sound population of Beluga Whales is a genetically distinct population found in the Eastern High Arctic of Canada. At the time of assessment, the population was believed to have declined to approximately 1 500 individuals from an historic estimate of over 8 000. Hunting has been regulated since the 1980s, with quotas established for the Inuit subsistence harvest under the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement. Other identified threats to the species include increased small vessel traffic and the associated noise of outboard motors, as well as fishery removals of Greenland halibut, a food for belugas. COSEWIC assessed the Beluga Whale (Cumberland Sound population) and classified it as threatened in 2004.
Consultations with stakeholders were initially conducted from 2004 to 2005. Letters with consultation documents were sent out to one Inuit community and three Inuit organizations that had some interest in possible listing. A presentation was made to the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board (NWMB) informing them of the consultation process. Public notices were placed in two Northern newspaper outlets in English, French and Inuktitut. Consultations with local residents and an organization of hunters and trappers included in-person meetings in November 2004 to review the proposed listing of the Cumberland Sound population of Beluga Whales. During these meetings, participants indicated that they did not support the listing based on anecdotal observations of population stability and the perceived sufficiency of existing control measures. Two other comments, one from an environmental non-governmental organization and another from an individual, supported the proposed listing. The NWMB was informed of the results of these consultations in early 2005, but did not take a position on the proposed listing. The Qikiqtaaluk Wildlife Board was not in support of listing in 2005.
In spring 2006, the federal government formally asked the NWMB whether it supported the proposed listing of Cumberland Sound Belugas. The Board said that it was not able to respond by the deadline set by the federal government because there was not enough time to complete the decision-making process under the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement or to conduct a public consideration of the listing decision. In August 2006, the federal government announced that it would not proceed with the proposed listing at that time in order to consult further with the NWMB. Following another round of consultations carried out in 2008 and following the process established under A Memorandum of Understanding to Harmonize the Designation of Rare, Threatened and Endangered Species under the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement and the Listing of Wildlife Species at Risk under the Species At Risk Act (Nunavut-Canada MOU for Species at Risk), it was confirmed that the positions of the original participants had not changed. In March 2011, the NWMB indicated that they were still not in support of the proposed listing. In June 2011, the Minister of the Environment acknowledged the position of the NWMB.
Benefits and costs
Listing the Beluga Whale (Cumberland Sound population) as threatened could result in some future benefits, such as the preservation of the species and ecosystem function. The primary stakeholders that could be affected by this listing are the Inuit of Pangnirtung, who regularly harvest the species for subsistence purposes under an existing quota. The Inuit harvest is currently allowed under the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement and the Fisheries Act, and could continue to take place under SARA, either pursuant to the exception under subsection 83(3) of SARA for harvesting in accordance with conservation measures under a land claims agreement, or, if the circumstances allow it, pursuant to an exemption under subsection 83(4), where activities can be permitted by a recovery strategy, an action plan or a management plan, as long as they are also authorized under an Act of Parliament. As a result, incremental socio-economic benefits and costs are anticipated to be negligible, as the subsistence harvest, carried out in accordance with conservation measures under the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, could continue to occur, and the harvest quota would continue to be determined through the existing Nunavut Land Claims Agreement process, not SARA. There is little other socio-economic activity within the area that would be affected by the prohibitions and restrictions.
Recovery of the Beluga Whale (Cumberland Sound population) is more likely now that the species is listed, providing a great degree of predictability and accountability through the creation of a recovery strategy and one or more action plans.
The subsistence harvest of the species occurs in accordance with measures implemented under the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement. The recovery potential assessment for the species allows for the continuation of a properly managed subsistence harvest and the possible issuance of permits under SARA for research or incidental harm, provided, among other things, that these activities do not jeopardize the survival or recovery of the species. If the survival or recovery of the species is jeopardized, and new allowable harm thresholds are recommended, revised harvest quotas would need to be established in accordance with the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement.
The Canadian distribution of the Atlantic Mud-piddock, an intertidal marine mollusc, is restricted to a single Canadian population in the Minas Basin, Nova Scotia. Disturbances that change the sediment deposition are considered the main threat, including those from increased frequency and severity of storms, erosion from rising sea levels and increased rainfall, and development that alters sedimentation patterns. COSEWIC assessed the Atlantic Mud-piddock and classified it as threatened in 2009 due to the limited available preferred habitat for this species (0.6 km2).
Consultations were conducted between August and October 2011. A consultation summary mail-out was sent to targeted stakeholders, including Indigenous organizations, environmental non-governmental organizations, industry, local property owners, municipalities and academics. A consultation summary was posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry and public notices were placed in five regional newspapers.
In total, 11 responses were received. Eight respondents supported or did not indicate an opposition to listing (four responses supported listing and four responses were neutral), with one of the responses supporting listing being from an Indigenous organization. Three respondents, namely a tidal energy research center and two property owners, did not support the proposed listing and indicated that they did not agree with the inclusion in the COSEWIC report of tidal power as a potential, but un-quantified, threat to the species.
A pilot project has been started with two tidal power turbines at demonstration sites in the Minas Channel in the fall 2016. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has been involved in the review of environmental effects monitoring programs associated with the installation of tidal turbines in the Minas Passage. In 2015, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans reviewed the potential for “serious harm to fish” from the installation and intended 15-year operation of two turbines. The review concluded that no residual serious harm to fish is expected to occur from the installation or operation of the turbines after efforts have been made to avoid and mitigate impacts. It was also concluded that given the relatively slow speed of the turbines (7 to 10 revolutions per minute) and monitoring of similar devices in other countries which showed no impacts to fish, that there would be no direct impacts from the devices. It is therefore not anticipated that current tidal activities in the area will be affected by a SARA listing.
Nova Scotia’s Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture and Department of Natural Resources were asked to provide the provincial position on the potential listing of this species. The consolidated response from the provincial departments indicated that the Province of Nova Scotia supported listing.
During the consultation period, one other provincial department submitted a letter expressing concern that the identification of tidal projects as a potential threat was speculative, and suggested that other available tools, such as the environmental assessment process, could be used to manage threats to this species. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans responded to the provincial department’s concerns by informing them that their assessment of the implications of tidal energy extraction of the physical habitat and sedimentation process in the Minas Basin would be considered when finalizing the recommendation for the species.
Benefits and costs
The incremental benefits of mitigating the risks to the species by listing it are anticipated to be negligible. There may be some reduction in potential harm to the species and its habitat as a result of future management measures related to monitoring, education and/or protection that may be undertaken. However, as insufficient information is available at the current time, it is not possible to assess the extent of the potential impact of these management measures.
There could be costs to community groups, governments and industry associated with future management options as a result of listing the species, although it is uncertain what management measures would be adopted in the future. Monitoring the species’ distribution and status as well as implementing public education campaigns have been identified as potential options for future management. If these management options are selected, community groups may bear some or all of the related costs. At this time insufficient detail is available on the potential activities to be able to quantify the associated cost.
It is also possible that additional measures will be required in the future if it is shown that specific industrial projects/facilities could produce a negative impact on the species or its habitat. Insufficient information is available to quantify the incremental costs associated with these measures at present.
Listing the Atlantic Mud-piddock carries some additional administrative costs for the federal government that cannot be quantified at this time; however, these costs will be managed using existing resources.
Available habitat for this species in Canada is extremely limited (0.6 km2), and, due to its sedentary nature, the Atlantic Mud-piddock is highly vulnerable to habitat alterations. Works, undertakings or activities (projects) likely to result in the death of Atlantic Mud-piddock and/or the destruction of its habitat are currently subject to provincial and federal regulatory mechanisms, including the Fisheries Act. The listing of the Atlantic Mud-piddock is intended to support the existing mechanisms that protect this species and its habitat. No population of Atlantic Mud-piddock is protected by endangered species legislation outside of Canadian waters, where it is found sporadically along the eastern and western coasts of the Atlantic Ocean. The Minas Basin population is the northern-most occurrence of Atlantic Mud-piddock in the world, and it likely represents one of the few marine faunal remnants of the post-glacial period in the Maritimes. It may represent marine fauna affected by natural climate change, and thus may be a useful model for monitoring such processes.
Listing the species is not anticipated to result in significant socio-economic impacts for industry, Indigenous communities or Canadians, as administrative costs to businesses are not expected. There are no industries that currently exploit this species. Additional mitigation measures may be required for permits under SARA to allow for activities undertaken by certain industries in the future, if it is shown that specific projects or activities could produce a negative impact on the species or its critical habitat. However, there are no current activities or projects taking place that are anticipated to affect this species. For future projects, existing regulatory review processes would be used to assess and manage potential impacts on the species and ensure that projects are in compliance with SARA.
Endangered -- Harbour Seal (Lacs des Loups Marins subspecies), Loggerhead Sea Turtle, Redside Dace
Three species are added to Schedule 1 as endangered. Sections 32 and 33 of the Act apply with respect to species listed as endangered.
Subsequent to the listing of a species as endangered, SARA requires the development and implementation of a SARA recovery strategy and one or more action plans. While there may be incremental costs and benefits associated with the recovery strategies and action plans, these cannot be evaluated until the details are known. Management scenarios that describe probable changes are evaluated to provide estimates of costs and benefits.
In addition, listing a species as endangered also results in the identification and protection of critical habitat. The costs and benefits of protecting critical habitat are unknown at this time, as critical habitat has not yet been identified. However, given the federal regulatory mechanisms in place (i.e. the Fisheries Act), the protection of critical habitat may not result in further impacts on stakeholders or Indigenous peoples.
Harbour Seal (Lacs des Loups Marins subspecies)
The Harbour Seal (Lacs des Loups Marins subspecies) is a unique Harbour Seal population that lives exclusively in fresh water. This species is found only in Quebec, in a group of lakes and rivers located in Nunavik, about 250 km east of Hudson Bay. Scientists estimate that the Harbour Seal has been isolated from its original marine habitat for 3 000 to 8 000 years. The population has always been small and the exact number of individuals is unknown, but it is estimated to be between 50 and 600. Past hunting activity has been identified as the primary cause for previous population declines. While the species is not the target of a traditional hunt, Indigenous hunters do opportunistically take an occasional seal (estimated at one individual per year). The low population size and limited geographical distribution of the subspecies increases its vulnerability and limits the recovery potential. Climate change and industrial development (e.g. hydro development) were also identified as potential threats. COSEWIC assessed the Harbour Seal (Lacs des Loups Marins subspecies) and classified it as endangered in 2007.
Consultations were undertaken in 2008–2009. Consultation documents were sent to local councils, hunting associations, Indigenous organizations, industry and non-governmental organizations. Public notice was provided through four daily newspapers in January 2009 and online public consultations were conducted between December 2008 and March 2009. In-person meetings were held with affected Indigenous communities and organizations. The majority of respondents consider the Harbour Seal (Lacs des Loups Marins subspecies) a valuable asset for future generations. Three environmental non-governmental organizations and nine individuals were in favour of listing. The Cree and Inuit communities in the region also supported listing, contingent on their still being able to occasionally hunt the animal. A utility company did not support listing this subspecies as endangered, as listing would impact its business activity; however, this comment was made prior to the 2012 creation of the Parc national Tursujuq of Quebec with the intent of excluding future industrial development.
Following consultation meetings and on the advice of the Hunting, Fishing and Trapping Coordinating Committee, a recovery team was formed to develop a draft recovery strategy in collaboration with Indigenous organizations and the Government of Quebec.
Benefits and costs
The assessment of the potential for recovery for the Harbour Seal (Lacs des Loups Marins subspecies) concluded that, at its current level, the hunt mentioned earlier does not jeopardize the survival or recovery of the species and can continue. However, listing the species would help to protect the population and, therefore, increase the likelihood of maintaining hunting activities and preserving the traditions and culture of Indigenous communities. Protecting the population would benefit future generations by supporting biodiversity.
As this species is exclusively found in a provincial park where industrial activity, while not entirely restricted, is unlikely to occur, no incremental cost impacts on businesses are expected at this time. In addition, no incremental cost impacts of listing the Lacs des Loups Marins Harbour Seal are anticipated for stakeholders, Government or Indigenous peoples.
The small size of the population, and its geographic and genetic isolation, makes the Harbour Seal (Lacs des Loups Marins subspecies) very vulnerable to threats. In terms of biodiversity, it constitutes a very unique subspecies that is only found in a few lakes in Quebec. The Quebec government has listed the population as susceptible to designation as threatened or vulnerable under the province’s Act respecting threatened or vulnerable species. The risk of extinction for this subspecies is high if threats are not mitigated.
Traditional hunting is not focused on this species. Currently, only a few Indigenous hunters opportunistically hunt a few individuals (about one per year). The recovery potential assessment concluded that, at its current level, this hunt does not jeopardize the survival or recovery of the species. Given this assessment, there is no impact expected on the Indigenous harvest.
In December 2012, the Province of Quebec and the Kativik Regional Government created the Parc national Tursujuq, the area of which includes the entire area of distribution of the subspecies, i.e. the Nastapoka basin, the Lacs des Loups Marins and the Petit lac des Loups Marins. The establishment of this area as a provincial park should exclude future industrial development.
Loggerhead Sea Turtle
The Loggerhead Sea Turtle is one of six species of hard-shelled marine turtles. In Canadian waters, Loggerhead Sea Turtles are caught as bycatch in some commercial fisheries, particularly by the pelagic longline fleets, but also in bottom and mid-water trawls and gillnets. They are also threatened by the loss and degradation of nesting beaches in the southeastern United States and the Caribbean. Other threats include marine debris, chemical pollution and the illegal harvest of eggs and nesting females. COSEWIC assessed the Loggerhead Sea Turtle and classified it as endangered in 2010 due in part to evidence that the species was in decline globally, including the Northwest Atlantic population, whose juveniles routinely enter and forage in Atlantic Canadian waters. Since the assessment, there has been uncertainty about the current trajectory of the Northwest Atlantic population, and nesting numbers have improved in some locations in recent years.
In early 2012, consultation summaries were mailed out to targeted stakeholders, including the fishing industry, environmental non-governmental organizations, provincial and federal governments, academics, First Nations, and Indigenous organizations. The consultation summaries were also posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry between January 17 and March 6, 2012, and public notice was provided through five regional newspapers on January 25, 2012. In May 2012, a consultation meeting was held with an Indigenous group. In total, 20 consultation responses were received.
No responses were received in opposition to listing. One fishing industry association noted that it supported listing, as long as the measures implemented do not exceed those already being required of industry for Leatherback Sea Turtle (listed on Schedule 1 of SARA as endangered) and as long as a cost-benefit analysis would be conducted prior to decisions on area closures being taken. The provinces of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador support listing.
Benefits and costs
As a recovery target for Loggerhead Sea Turtles has not been established, there is no information available to determine the extent of the recovery that may occur as a result of listing Loggerhead Sea Turtles under SARA. Therefore, it is not possible to estimate the potential stream of market and non-market benefits associated with such a listing. A review of the literature indicates that Canadians value the preservation and conservation of aquatic species in and of itself. As a result, some level of benefit to Canadians is expected.
It is anticipated that there will be no significant socio-economic costs associated with listing this species under SARA. There is no directed fishery for Loggerhead Sea Turtles, and fisheries with known bycatch of Loggerhead Sea Turtles may be issued a permit or exempted subject to all the conditions under the Act. As a result, no additional management measures beyond those currently committed to or required for Leatherback Sea Turtles are anticipated.
Listing the Loggerhead Sea Turtle under SARA is consistent with the approach taken for a similar species, the Leatherback Sea Turtle. It is not anticipated that there will be any incremental economic impacts or administrative costs to business associated with listing this species under SARA. Measures implemented are likely to be aligned with what is already required of industry due to management and mitigation efforts related to activities that impact the Leatherback Sea Turtle.
Listing provides an increased level of protection for the Loggerhead Sea Turtle relative to what it receives under current legislation, and the species benefits from the preparation and implementation of recovery measures. The listing requires the creation of a recovery strategy and one or more action plans. By listing this species under SARA, critical habitat will be identified, and the competent minister will have to ensure that it is legally protected. In addition, through the Integrated Fisheries Management Plan for the pelagic longline fisheries, the industry has already agreed to a code of conduct and other voluntary measures to minimize harm to sea turtles.
Listing the Loggerhead Sea Turtle contributes generally to the protection of biodiversity; this species plays an important role in the ecosystem of its nesting beaches and may play an important role in the marine ecosystem. While mortality in Canadian waters is not the primary threat to this species, listing it as endangered could be an important factor in contributing to the goal of decreasing overall mortality rates. As well, Canadian waters are believed to represent important foraging grounds for juvenile Loggerhead Sea Turtles.
The Redside Dace is a very small and colourful fish in the carp and minnow family. In Canada, the Redside Dace is only found in Ontario, in tributaries of western Lake Ontario, the Grand River, Lake Huron and the Holland River. It has been extirpated from 5 of its 24 historic locations, and may be gone from an additional 5 locations, and continuing decline is evident in 8 other locations. The major threats to Redside Dace are habitat alteration and degradation, resulting in changes in water quality and quantity and riparian vegetation, associated with urban development and agricultural activities and the introduction of non-indigenous species. COSEWIC assessed the Redside Dace and classified it as endangered in 2007.
In 2007–2008, consultation documents along with letters were sent to 65 First Nations communities and organizations and 34 stakeholders. These stakeholders included one academic, 9 non-governmental organizations, 14 municipalities, 9 provincial conservation authorities and one recreational organization. As well, public notices were posted in 15 newspapers.
Of the 74 responses received by the DFO, 8 were from First Nations, 23 from stakeholders and 43 from the general public. Stakeholders who responded included recreational fishing organizations, environmental non-governmental organizations, a municipality, and conservation authorities. Of the 74 responses received, 67 (about 90%) supported listing the species as endangered under SARA. The Province of Ontario has also indicated support of the proposed listing.
Opposition to listing was expressed by an Indigenous organization, a municipality, a recreational fishery organization and two members of the public. The Indigenous organization indicated that it felt it could be impacted by a SARA listing. However, this comment was received during consultations that addressed multiple species. No impact is expected from listing for this community, as there are no historical or current records to indicate any food, social or ceremonial harvest associated with the species. The recreational fishery organization was concerned that listing the species could create negative social and economic consequences for recreational fisheries; however, there is no recreational fishery for this species. The municipality and two members of the public expressed concern that listing would add to the cost of infrastructure projects. This impact is expected to be negligible, as restrictions imposed on infrastructure projects that affect Redside Dace habitat are already in place due to this species being listed under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007 and the prohibitions under SARA are not anticipated to result in any additional impacts to the delivery and implementation of infrastructure projects.
Benefits and costs
The incremental socio-economic benefits of listing are anticipated to be negligible, as similar prohibitions and restrictions are currently in place under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007 and the federal Fisheries Act.
Due to the federal and provincial regulatory measures currently in place, the incremental costs are anticipated to be negligible for Canadians, including consumers and Indigenous peoples, as similar prohibitions and restrictions on the activities of stakeholders that might affect the species are in place. Similarly, impacts to industry are expected to be negligible, as restrictions on the activities of stakeholders (e.g. agriculture, urban development, industrial development and infrastructure) already exist, and no additional restrictions for industry stakeholders are anticipated to be felt as a result of listing this species under SARA.
The Redside Dace is found primarily within the densely populated Greater Toronto Area. It is anticipated that the recovery strategy will promote greater awareness and education. Successful stabilization of the Redside Dace populations could serve as a tangible and visible case study for balancing environmental and development concerns.
No significant socio-economic impacts are anticipated, as prohibitions and restrictions related to the species are currently in place under provincial and other federal legislation. The scientific assessment of the potential for recovery of Redside Dace provides for some allowable harm, which will allow for the issuance of research or incidental harm permits, providing the underlying activity, among other things, will not jeopardize the survival or recovery of the species.
This species is listed under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007. Listing it under SARA is an important step in support of the bilateral agreement between the federal government and Ontario. DFO was an active participant in the development of the recently completed provincial recovery strategy that will be used to support the development of the SARA recovery strategy.
Aquatic species reclassified from threatened to endangered
Beluga Whale (St. Lawrence Estuary population)
Beluga Whales are toothed whales, pure white in colour, with prominent, rounded foreheads. Their thick skin and lack of dorsal fin are believed to be adaptations to cold, icy waters. The St. Lawrence Estuary population occurs mainly in the St. Lawrence River estuary, with summer concentrations centred on the Saguenay River mouth, extending from Île aux Coudres, about 100 km downstream from Québec, and up the Saguenay River to Saint-Fulgence. A large portion of this area is protected as part of the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park, including a portion of the Fjord du Saguenay. Since the mid-2000s, the population has shown evidence of major demographic changes, including increased neonate mortality and a decline in the proportion of young individuals in the population. These trends, together with past and ongoing habitat degradation, and projected increases in threats, suggest that the status of this population has worsened and is at considerably greater risk than it was in 2004. Identified threats include, but are not limited to, activities that generate excessive noise pollution (in frequency and intensity) and those that disrupt or destroy features and attributes likely to influence the presence and abundance of prey (e.g. capelin, Atlantic herring, sand lance, rainbow smelt). COSEWIC assessed the Beluga Whale (St. Lawrence Estuary population) and classified it as threatened in 2004; it was reassessed by COSEWIC and classified as endangered in 2014.
Changing the classification of this species under Schedule 1 of SARA from threatened to endangered will not affect the protection already afforded to it under the Act, and will not add any additional burden on stakeholders; therefore, no public consultations were undertaken.
Benefits and costs
The change of classification under Schedule 1 of SARA will not change the prohibitions and protection afforded by SARA because prohibitions and requirements under SARA apply similarly to threatened and endangered species. The Fisheries Act will also continue to apply in the same manner. The benefits that were afforded to the species will continue to be provided. No incremental benefits or costs associated with the reclassification are anticipated for industry, Canadians, Indigenous peoples, or the Government.
Prohibitions and requirements under SARA apply similarly to threatened and endangered species. Thus, there are no economic costs associated with the reclassification under Schedule 1. Reclassifying the Beluga Whale (St. Lawrence Estuary population) from a threatened to an endangered species on Schedule 1 of SARA is in keeping with COSEWIC’s recommendation and DFO’s Default Listing Position.
Aquatic species for which one previously listed species is replaced with two new populations
The Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act strikes out one species currently listed as a single designatable unit (Leatherback Sea Turtle) and adds two new designatable units: Leatherback Sea Turtle (Pacific population) and Leatherback Sea Turtle (Atlantic population).
Leatherback Sea Turtle (Atlantic population and Pacific population)
The Leatherback Sea Turtle was listed as endangered under SARA as a single designatable unit. In 2012, COSEWIC reassessed this species and divided it into two designatable units or populations. The final listing process removes the single designatable unit or population from the list of endangered species under Schedule 1 of SARA and adds Leatherback Sea Turtle (Atlantic population) and Leatherback Sea Turtle (Pacific population) to the list of endangered species under Schedule 1 of SARA.
No consultations were undertaken as there would be no changes to the protection of the species, nor any changes to impacts on stakeholders, Canadians, industry, Indigenous peoples or the Government.
Benefits and costs
It is anticipated that the division of this species into two designatable units (Atlantic population and Pacific population) does not result in any incremental benefits or costs for industry, Canadians, Indigenous peoples or the Government, as the protections that were afforded to the species as one designatable unit continue to be provided to both population ranges in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
The rationale behind COSEWIC’s decision to divide the species into two designatable units was provided in the 2012 assessment and status report on the species, and was based on the current understanding that the two populations are discrete and evolutionarily significant. Although there is low genetic diversity, the nesting populations are strongly subdivided globally, supporting the existence of separate Pacific and Atlantic populations. In addition, the species is already managed as two designatable units for recovery purposes, with a separate recovery strategy in place for each population.
Housekeeping amendment for an aquatic species in which there was a change in designatable units on Schedule 1 of SARA
The Aurora Trout was previously assessed as a designatable unit within the Brook Trout species assessment. In the 1960s, the species was extirpated from its native range of two small lakes north of Sudbury due to lake acidification. The Aurora Trout has been successfully re-established in both lakes to which it was native.
In May 2011, COSEWIC re-examined the status of the Aurora Trout. New genetic and breeding data indicate that the Aurora Trout is not genetically distinct from the Brook Trout. As a result, in 2011, COSEWIC decided that the Aurora Trout was ineligible for assessment.
Consultation letters were sent by email in February 2013 to 11 Indigenous groups and communities within traditional travelling distance to have utilized Aurora Trout for food, social or ceremonial uses. In addition, nine stakeholders who had expressed interest or previously participated in development of the Aurora Trout recovery strategy were notified.
In total, six responses were received. Four respondents indicated support for delisting, provided that stocking and regulation would not prevent them from fishing for Aurora Trout. The removal of the species from Schedule 1 of SARA would eliminate any related impediments to fishing. Two respondents were opposed to delisting the Aurora Trout, stating that it would undo efforts to rehabilitate the stock and could result in the loss of a unique and vulnerable Canadian species. However, COSEWIC’s determination that the Aurora Trout does not meet the criteria for recognition as a designatable unit distinct from other Brook Trout is based on scientific genetic and breeding information. This information indicates that the species is not genetically distinct from the Brook Trout and therefore is ineligible for assessment by COSEWIC.
Benefits and costs
There are no socio-economic benefits and costs associated with removing the Aurora Trout from Schedule 1 of SARA.
Based on the results of the COSEWIC report on the eligibility for the Aurora Trout Salvelinus fontinalis timagamiensis in Canada, this species is not a distinct species of Brook Trout and has been removed from Schedule 1 of SARA.
Removing the Aurora Trout from Schedule 1 of SARA is consistent with the provincial assessment by the Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario, which no longer considers the species eligible to be designated as a species at risk under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007. However, the Province has indicated that they will continue to manage the species using the Ontario Fishery Regulations, 2007 through special regulations such as rotating sanctuaries, reduced catch limits and bait restrictions. The Province has also indicated it is currently developing a management plan that will draw on principles consistent with the direction put forth in the Aurora Trout recovery strategy.
Prepublication comment period
On August 27, 2016, a proposed Order and Regulatory Impact and Analysis Statement (RIAS) pertaining to the 15 aquatic species (see Table 1) were published in Part I of the Canada Gazette for a 30-day public comment period. Ten comments in total were received following the prepublication period, six of which pertained to the decision not to list the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna. This RIAS will only detail those comments received during prepublication related to the species that have been added or reclassified to Schedule 1. Please refer to the explanatory note associated with the List of Wildlife Species at Risk (Decisions Not to Add Certain Species) Order for the comments received during prepublication related to the species that have not been added to Schedule 1.
Four comments were received during the prepublication of the Order. Three of these comments were in support of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Government of Canada taking steps to provide protection for species at risk. In particular, the support for listing was underscored for the Beluga Whale (St. Lawrence Estuary), Beluga Whale (Cumberland Sound), the Atlantic and Pacific Leatherback Sea Turtles, the Loggerhead Sea Turtle, and the Redside Dace. Supporting comments were received from Conservation Halton, the Mi’Kmaq Confederacy of Prince Edward Island, and a member of the public.
One comment was received from a member of the public in opposition to the listing of Mountain Sucker, Milk River population as threatened. The person highlighted that the Milk River runs through the southeast corner of the Cardston County in Alberta where extensive and long-standing ranching, agricultural and irrigation operations exist. By listing the Mountain Sucker, Milk River population, the automatic prohibitions under SARA would likely impact these operations. However, impacts associated with listing this species are anticipated to be negligible, as prohibitions and restrictions are currently in place under SARA with respect to other co-occurring listed species (the Rocky Mountain Sculpin and the Western Silvery Minnow) in the same area, and prohibitions are in place under the federal Fisheries Act.
Strategic environmental assessment
A strategic environmental assessment (SEA) concluded that the Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act results in important positive environmental effects. The Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act has direct links with the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS). The amendments to Schedule I of SARA support “Theme III: Protecting Nature and Canadians,” of the FSDS. Under Theme III, these amendments help fulfill “Goal 4: Conserving and Restoring Ecosystems, Wildlife and Habitat, and Protecting Canadians,” and one of its “Targets to Conserve and Restore Ecosystems, Wildlife and Habitat,” namely “Target 4.1 Species at Risk: By 2020, populations of species at risk listed under federal law exhibit trends that are consistent with recovery strategies and management plans,” and a number of implementation strategies.
“One-for-One” Rule (see footnote 9)
An application of the “One-for-One” Rule and an analysis of administrative burden were conducted for each species. The analysis found the “One-for-One” Rule is not triggered for the Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act as it is not anticipated to result in increased administrative burden for business.
Small business lens (see footnote 10)
The small business lens is triggered when a regulatory change imposes over $1 million in annual nationwide costs, or has a disproportionate impact on a few small businesses. It was determined that the amendments do not impose annual nationwide costs over $1 million, nor do they have a disproportionate impact on a few small businesses. As a result, the small business lens does not apply to the amendments.
Implementation, enforcement and service standards
Implementation includes activities designed to encourage compliance with the general prohibitions for the threatened and endangered species.
Recovery of species
Under section 37 of SARA, once an aquatic species is listed on Schedule 1 as extirpated, endangered or threatened, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is required to prepare a strategy for its recovery. Pursuant to subsection 41(1) of SARA, the recovery strategy must, for those species whose recovery is considered technically and biologically feasible, address threats to the species’ survival, including any loss of habitat. The recovery strategy must also, among other things, describe the broad strategy to address those threats, identify the species’ critical habitat to the extent possible based on the best available information, state the population and distribution objectives that will assist the recovery and survival of the species and identify research and management activities needed to meet the population and distribution objectives. The recovery strategy must also provide a timeline for the completion of one or more action plans.
Under section 47 of SARA, one or more action plans are required to be prepared, based on the recovery strategy, for species listed as extirpated, endangered or threatened. Pursuant to subsection 49(1) of SARA, action plans must, with respect to the area to which the action plan relates, include, among other things, the following: measures that are to be taken to implement the recovery strategy, including those that address the threats to the species and those that help to achieve the population and distribution objectives for the species and when these are to take place; an identification of the species’ critical habitat, to the extent possible, based on the best available information and consistent with the recovery strategy; examples of activities that would likely result in the destruction of the species’ critical habitat; measures proposed to be taken to protect the critical habitat; and methods to monitor the recovery of the species and its long-term viability. These action plans also require an evaluation of the socio-economic costs of the action plan and the benefits to be derived from its implementation.
For species listed as species of special concern, the general prohibitions under SARA do not apply. Under section 65 of SARA, management plans are required to be prepared for species listed as species of special concern and their habitat. A management plan must include measures for the conservation of the species that the competent minister considers appropriate.
Recovery and management planning is an opportunity for federal, provincial and territorial governments to work together, and to stimulate cooperation and collaboration among a number of partners -- including municipalities, Indigenous peoples and organizations, and others -- in determining the actions necessary to support the survival, recovery and conservation of listed species.
Compliance promotion initiatives are proactive measures that encourage voluntary compliance with the law through education and outreach activities, and raise awareness and understanding of the prohibitions by offering plain language explanations of the legal requirements under the Act. DFO will promote compliance with the general prohibitions of SARA through activities that may include online resources posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry, fact sheets, mail-outs and presentations. These activities will specifically target groups that may be affected by this Order and whose activities could contravene the general prohibitions, including other federal government departments, Indigenous peoples, private land owners, and recreational and commercial fishers.
As well, with the addition of nine species to Schedule 1 of SARA, there will be some incremental cost implications for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. These costs will be, for example, for training fishery officers and patrolling areas where some of those species are present. The costs are expected to be higher for some species that are present in remote areas where access is limited and threats are more difficult to manage (for example the Cumberland Sound Beluga). The Department of Fisheries and Oceans will look at the most efficient ways to minimize these costs, which will be managed with existing departmental resources.
SARA provides for penalties for contraventions to the Act, including fines or imprisonment, seizure and forfeiture of things seized or of the proceeds of their disposition. Alternative measures agreements are also available. SARA also provides for inspections and search and seizure powers by enforcement officers designated under SARA. Under the penalty provisions of SARA, a corporation that is not a non-profit corporation and that is found guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $300,000. A non-profit corporation is liable to a fine of not more than $50,000, and any other person is liable to a fine of not more than $50,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than one year, or to both. A corporation that is not a non-profit corporation, found guilty of an indictable offence, is liable to a fine of not more than $1,000,000, a non-profit corporation to a fine of not more than $250,000, and any other person to a fine of not more than $250,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years, or to both.
Species at Risk Program Management
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
- Footnote a
S.C. 2002, c. 29
- Footnote 1
S.C. 2002, c. 29
- Footnote 2
The Governor in Council is the Governor General of Canada acting by and with the advice of the Queen’s Privy Council of Canada (Cabinet).
- Footnote 3
More information on COSEWIC can be found at www.cosewic.gc.ca.
- Footnote 4
More information can be found at http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/species-especes/publications/sara-lep/policy-politique/index-eng.html.
- Footnote 5
SARA defines a wildlife management board as “any board or other body established under a land claims agreement that is authorized by the agreement to perform functions in respect of wildlife species.”
- Footnote 6
Please refer to the “Aquatic species added to Schedule 1 of SARA (9)” and “Aquatic species not added to Schedule 1 of SARA (2)” sections of “Table 1 -- Classifications of 15 species assessed by COSEWIC and received by the GIC,” to which the nine-month timeline applies.
- Footnote 7
- Footnote 8
United Nations. 1992. Convention on Biological Diversity. www.cbd.int/doc/legal/cbd-en.pdf.
- Footnote 9
The “One-for-One” Rule requires regulatory changes that increase administrative burden costs to be offset with equal reductions in administrative burden. In addition, ministers are required to remove at least one regulation when they introduce a new one that imposes administrative burden costs on business. More information can be found at http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/hgw-cgf/priorities-priorites/rtrap-parfa/ofo-upu-eng.asp.
- Footnote 10
The objective of the small business lens is to reduce regulatory costs on small businesses without compromising the health, safety, security and environment of Canadians. More details about the small business lens can be found at http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/hgw-cgf/priorities-priorites/rtrap-parfa/sbl-lpe-eng.asp.