ARCHIVED — Vol. 147, No. 7 — March 27, 2013

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Registration

SI/2013-28 March 27, 2013

SPECIES AT RISK ACT

List of Wildlife Species at Risk (referral back to COSEWIC) Order

P.C. 2013-277 March 7, 2013

His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, pursuant to subsections 27(1.1) and (1.2) of the Species at Risk Act (see footnote a)

  • (a) refers the assessment of the status of the Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) (North Pacific population) and the Eulachon (Thaleichthys pacificus) (Nass River and Skeena River population) back to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) for further consideration; and
  • (b) approves that the Minister of the Environment include in the public registry established under section 120 of that Act the statement that is attached as the annex to this Order and that sets out the reasons for the referral back to COSEWIC.

ANNEX

STATEMENT SETTING OUT THE REASONS FOR REFERRING THE ASSESSMENTS OF THE HUMPBACK WHALE (NORTH PACIFIC POPULATION) AND EULACHON (NASS RIVER AND SKEENA RIVER POPULATION) BACK TO COSEWIC

Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) (North Pacific population)

The Humpback Whale (North Pacific population) is currently listed as Threatened under the Species at Risk Act. The status of this population of the species was reassessed by COSEWIC as Special Concern in May 2011. The lower risk designation is a result of recent analyses that indicate an increasing trend in abundance. In the course of consultations carried out between November 2011 and January 2012, a number of concerns were raised with regard to the structure of the designatable unit in Canada. Some species experts expressed concerns that key data pertaining to the structure of the designatable unit was not considered by COSEWIC. In the view of these species experts, such data would justify the identification of two designatable units in Canada. While Fisheries and Oceans Canada (“DFO”) has not produced scientific advice on this matter, this species is referred back to COSEWIC for further consideration. DFO is committed to working with COSEWIC on this matter.

Eulachon (Thaleichthys pacificus) (Nass River and Skeena River population)

The Eulachon (Nass River and Skeena River population) was assessed by COSEWIC as Threatened in May 2011. This short-lived species reproduces just once in its lifetime, and is extremely rich in fats. It spends over 95% of its life in the marine environment. Recent data from the Nass River and Skeena River indicates that the Eulachon population is declining and the level of abundance in adjacent areas has declined substantially in recent years. COSEWIC has advised that, due to new information that was not available when it assessed the status of the Eulachon (Nass River and Skeena River population), this status now needs to be reassessed. In light of the need for consideration of new data, this population of the species is referred back to COSEWIC for further consideration.

EXPLANATORY NOTE

(This note is not part of the Order.)

On June 19, 2012, the Governor in Council acknowledged receipt of assessments for 16 species that the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) provided to the Minister of the Environment. This initiated a nine-month period under the Species at Risk Act during which the Governor in Council is to make decisions on whether or not to add those species to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk (the “List”) set out in Schedule 1 to that Act or to refer the matter back to COSEWIC for further information or consideration. That nine-month period will end on March 19, 2013.

On July 7, 2012, a proposed order to add seven species to the List, to reclassify two species on the List, to amend Schedule 1 by striking out one species previously listed as a single designatable unit and adding two new designatable units of the same species was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, for a 30-day public consultation period. In the accompanying Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement, it was proposed that three species not be added to Schedule 1 to the Act and that two species be referred back to COSEWIC for further consideration.

By way of the Order, the Governor in Council is referring the assessment of the Humpback Whale (North Pacific population) and the Eulachon (Nass River and Skeena River population) back to COSEWIC for further consideration. This decision was made on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment on the advice of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

The Governor in Council also approves that the Minister of the Environment, in accordance with subsection 27(1.2) of the Act, include a statement in the public registry setting out the reasons for the decision to refer the assessment of the Humpback Whale (North Pacific population) and the Eulachon (Nass River and Skeena River population) back to COSEWIC. Those reasons are set out in the Annex to the Order and will be posted on the Web site of the public registry established under the Act (www.sararegistry.gc.ca).