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Species at Risk Act (SARA)

Legal Listing of Aquatic Species

Consultation Workbook for the Banded Killifish, (Fundulus diaphamus), Newfoundland population

1.0 Objective of this Consultation

Your opinion is being sought to assist the government of Canada in making an informed decision on whether to add the Banded Killifish (Newfoundland population) to the Schedule 1 (the List of Wildlife Species at Risk) of the Species at Risk Act(SARA) as a Species of Special Concern. Your input on the impacts of adding this species to the List is important.

This workbook has been developed to give you an opportunity to provide Fisheries and Oceans Canada with your feedback, advice, and other comments regarding adding the Banded Killifish (Newfoundland population) to Schedule 1 of SARA (Schedule 1 identifies which species are legally protected under SARA).

At the end of this workbook there are a series of questions about SARA and the impacts of legally listing a species, as well as the role you or your community might eventually take in the recovery process. You are encouraged to complete any or all of the questions starting on page 12 and provide any additional comments you feel are relevant. They are meant to stimulate discussion. You may have comments that do not fit with any of the questions and you are encouraged to provide those comments as well. Your ideas, knowledge and advice are important to this process and will help the Government of Canada assess the impacts of adding Banded Killifis (Newfoundland population) to the species at risk legal list. Your ideas and views on participation in the recovery planning process will be used to refine our current approach.

For further information on how to submit your workbook please refer to page 12.

To make sure your comments are considered, please send in your submission by June 30, 2004.

2.0 What is the Species at Risk Act (SARA)?

The Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act on June 5, 2003 as part of its strategy for the protection of wildlife species at risk. Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of species that receive protection under SARA.ThisSchedule 1 list is commonly referred to as the 'SARA list'. The existing SARA list contains the 233 species the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) had assessed and found to be at risk at the time of thereintroduction of SARA to the House of Commons on October 9th, 2002.

The degree of risk is categorized according to the terms Extirpated, Endangered, Threatened and Special Concern. A species is assessed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) as Extirpated when it is no longer found in the wild in Canada but still exists elsewhere. It is Endangered if it is facing imminent extirpation or extinction. An assessment of Threatened means that thespecies is likely to become Endangered if nothing is done to reverse the factors leading to its extirpation or extinction. COSEWIC assesses a species as Special Concern if it may become a Threatened or Endangered Species because of a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats.

The Species at Risk Act (SARA) was created to ensure the survival of wildlife species and the protection of our natural heritage. It requires Canada to provide for the recovery of species at risk due to human activity, and to manage species of Special Concern to make sure they do not become Endangered or Threatened. It provides for the protection not only of species, but also of their residences and critical habitat.

Environment Canada is responsible for implementing SARA as a whole, but Fisheries and Oceans Canada has responsibility for aquatic species at risk. No single organization or entity can be responsible on its own for ensuring the survival of species. The federal, provincial and territorial governments, Aboriginal peoples, wildlife management boards, non-governmental organizations, landowners, resource users and individuals across Canada must all work together. The Act was designed to encourage such cooperation.

The following section discusses some key issues related to SARA. More about the Act can be found at the Species at Risk website: http://www.speciesatrisk.gc.ca

2.1 The Role of COSEWIC

The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) is the body designated to assess the status of wildlife species in Canada. Based on the information found in a status report, COSEWIC classifies the species as being Extinct, Extirpated, Endangered, Threatened, of Special Concern, Data Deficient, or not at risk (the glossary at the end of this document explains these categories). COSEWIC's Species Specialist Subcommittees (SSC) provide expertise on particular groups of plants and animals and make recommendations as to the appropriate status designation of a species to the entire Committee.

Members of COSEWIC do not formally represent the agency, group, or region from which they are drawn. They are appointed on the basis of their expertise, and will, to the best of their ability, provide independent and impartial scientific advice and recommendations.

COSEWIC assesses the biological status of a species using the best available information. It reviews research, considers community and Aboriginal traditional knowledge, and applies strict assessment criteria based on those developed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. COSEWIC sends its assessment of the species to the Minister of the Environment to initiate the legal listing process.

More information about COSEWIC can be found on its website: http://www.cosewic.gc.ca

2.2 Legal Listing - What Does This Mean?

A species is not protected under SARA unless it is legally listed, which means included in the List of Wildlife Species at Risk (Schedule 1 of the Act).

Following receipt of COSEWIC assessments, the federal government must do one of the following:

a) Accept the assessment and add the species to the List;

b) Decide not to add the species to the List; or

c) Refer the current assessment back to COSEWIC for further information or consideration.

The decision on whether to add the species to the list takes into account the COSEWIC assessment and other factors such as potential social and economic impacts of the listing.

3.0 Significance of the Addition of a Species to the SARA List

The protection that comes into effect following the addition of a species to the SARA list depends upon the degree of risk assigned to that species.

3.1 Protection for listed Extirpated, Endangered and Threatened species

Under the Act, prohibitions protect individuals of Extirpated, Endangered and Threatened species. These prohibitions make it an offence to kill, harm, harass, capture or take an individual of a species listed as Extirpated, Endangered or Threatened, or to damage or destroy the residence of one or more individuals of an Endangered or a Threatened species. The Act also makes it an offence to possess, collect, buy, sell or trade an individual of a species that is Extirpated, Endangered or Threatened or a part or derivative of one. These prohibitions will come into force for the SARA listed species on June 1st, 2004.

The focus of protection will be on those species for which the federal government has direct legal authority. The protection will be in force for all listed birds protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 and for listed aquatic species. The prohibitions will also apply to all listed species on federal lands. For all other listed Endangered, Threatened and Extirpated species, the provinces and territories have the responsibility to ensure that they receive adequate protection. Exceptions to the prohibitions on aquatic species may be authorized by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, provided that the survival or recovery of the species is not jeopardised. The Ministers may enter into agreements or issue permits only for (1) research relating to the conservation of a species or (2) for activities that benefit a listed species or enhance its chances of survival or (3) that incidentally affect a listed species.

3.2 Protection for Listed Species of Special Concern

The prohibitions of SARA for species listed as Extirpated, Endangered and Threatened will not apply to species of Special Concern; however any existing protections and prohibitions, such as those authorized by the Migratory Birds Convention Act or the Canada National Parks Act, continue to be in force.

3.3 Management Plans for Species of Special Concern

For species of Special Concern such as the Banded Killifish in Newfoundland, management plans will be prepared and made available on the Public Registry within three years of their addition to the SARA list, allowing for public review and comment. Management plans will include appropriate conservation measures for the species and for its habitat.

Management plans will be prepared in cooperation with aboriginal organizations, responsible jurisdictions, and relevant management boards directlyaffected by them. Stakeholders affected by the recovery strategy will also be consulted.

For species of SpecialConcerncurrently listed in Schedule 1 a management plan must be prepared within 5 years of the Act coming into force. The time line for management plans for the Banded Killifish (Newfoundland population) and other species of Special Concern in the future will be three years.

3.4 Public Registry

The SARA Public Registry is a comprehensive source of information relating to matters under the Act and allows for timely access to public documents relating to the administration of SARA. It is a key instrument in fulfillin the government'scommitment to encourage public participation in environmental decision-making. The Public Registry can be accessed through the web at: www.sararegistry.gc.ca.

The Registry will include documents including regulations, orders, agreements, guidelines, standards, and codes of practice. In addition, it will provide species assessments and status reports, recovery strategies, action plans, and management plans for the recovery of wildlife species.

Anyone may provide written comments on a proposed recovery strategy, action plan or management plan for a wildlife species. The general public has 60 days after the strategy or plan is posted on the Registry to provide feedback.

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