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Action Plan for the Northern Abalone (Haliotis kamtschatkana) in Canada - proposed

2. Recovery actions

2.1 Scope of the action plan

This Action Plan addresses all the goals and objectives of the Recovery Strategy for Northern Abalone (2007) (see Section 1.8 of this Action Plan).

2.2. Critical habitat

2.2.1 Identification of Northern Abalone critical habitat

Species at Risk Act (SARA) S. 2(1) defines habitat for aquatic species at risk as:

“… spawning grounds and nursery, rearing, food supply, migration and any other areas on which aquatic species depend directly or indirectly in order to carry out their life processes, or areas where aquatic species formerly occurred and have the potential to be reintroduced.”

Under SARA S. 2(1), critical habitat is defined as:

“the habitat that is necessary for the survival or recovery of a listed wildlife species and that is identified as the species’ critical habitat in the recovery strategy or in an action plan for the species.”

For the Northern Abalone, critical habitat is identified to the extent possible, using the best information currently available. The critical habitat identified in this action plan describes the geographical area that contains habitat necessary for the survival or recovery of the species. The current area identified is deemed to be sufficient to achieve the population and distribution objectives for the species. As illegal harvest is the most significant threat to Northern Abalone recovery, detailed geospatial information will not be included in the SARA public registry pursuant to SARA Section 124.

2.2.2 Information and methods used to identify critical habitat

The geographic locations and biophysical functions, features and attributes of the critical habitat were identified using the best available information, including Northern Abalone, Haliotis kamtschatkana, in British Columbia: fisheries and synopsis of life history information (Sloan and Breen, 1988); the Northern Abalone Case Study for the Determination of SARA Critical Habitat (Jamieson et al. 2004); and Describing Northern Abalone, Haliotis kamtschatkana, habitat: focusing rebuilding efforts in British Columbia, Canada (Lessard et al., 2007).

Northern Abalone occur in a wide variety of habitats from fairly sheltered bays to exposed coastlines, from the low intertidal zone to shallow subtidal depth (Fisheries and Oceans Canada [DFO] 2007). Although the abalone population has declined, there has been no significant reduction in available habitat, and habitat loss is not deemed to be a major threat to the recovery of Northern Abalone (Lessard et al. 2007, DFO 2007, Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada [COSEWIC] 2009). Critical habitat for Northern Abalone is not limited, and the area required for population recovery is less than the area the population currently occupies (COSEWIC 2009).

Critical habitat for Northern Abalone has been identified within four distinct geospatial areas (Figure 3). These four areas constitute the Northern Abalone habitat that is deemed necessary by the Recovery Team and Recovery Implementation Group for the species’ survival and recovery: 1) Northern Abalone habitat within the North and Central Coast of the BC mainland; 2) Northern Abalone habitat within the east coast of Haida Gwaii; 3) Northern Abalone habitat in Barkley Sound; and 4) Northern Abalone habitat within the west coast of Haida Gwaii.

Figure 3. Four distinct geospatial areas of critical habitat for Northern Abalone in Pacific Canadian waters.

Map of British Columbia (see long description below).

Description of Figure 3

A map of British Columbia depicting the four distinct geospatial areas of critical habitat for Northern Abalone. The four areas are: Haida Gwaii’s West Coast; the southern half of the east coast of Haida Gwaii; the North and Central Coast, which extends from the northwest side of Banks Island down to the northwest side of Calvert Island; and Barkley Sound on the southwest side of Vancouver Island.

The first two areas were identified because these were the historically most productive areas during the former commercial fishery (Farlinger 1990; Harbo and Hobbs 1997). Since 1978, index site surveys have provided a time series of abalone densities and size frequencies from the Central Coast and Haida Gwaii every 3-5 years (Adkins and Stefanson 1979; Breen and Adkins 1979; Hankewich et al. 2008; Hankewich and Lessard 2008). The survey sites were selected because of harvestable commercial abalone abundances. These two areas formed the basis for assessment of Northern Abalone population status. The third area was identified as an important rebuilding area, with several sites established since 2002 (Parks Canada Agency unpublished data; DFO unpublished data). The fourth area demonstrates similar habitat features to those on the east coast of Haida Gwaii based on information from survey sites established in 2008 (DFO unpublished data).

2.2.3 Geospatial area of critical habitat

Within the four areas described above, critical habitat is not comprised of all the area within the identified boundaries but only those areas, within the identified geographic boundaries, where the following specified biophysical attributes occur. Northern Abalone critical habitat is identified at sites at least 20m2 in size with ≥0.1 abalone/m2 that contain all of the features and attributes described in Table 2 (Sloan and Breen 1988; Lessard et al.. 2007; Lessard and Campbell 2007). Density is used to delineate critical habitat, but is not itself considered an attribute of critical habitat. Low densities may exacerbate the decline of the species by reducing fertilization success in this broadcast spawner (the Allee effect).

2.2.4 Functions, features and attributes of Northern Abalone critical habitat

Abalone are normally found attached to rocks, boulders, bedrock or other stable substrates at depths of < 10m, and in a water column that exhibits moderate to high sea water exchange. The presence of a suitable primary substrate supports the function of attachment for both the abalone and for macroalgae, a feature of critical habitat that provides food and cover for adults. Abalone require a water column with salinity >30 ppt, and are therefore not found near areas of freshwater run-off or in estuarine habitats.

Coralline algae is a feature of critical habitat that serves a number of functions. The presence of coralline algae is the primary settlement cue for larval Northern Abalone, and provides food for the juveniles prior to their transition to a macroalgal diet. It also provides cover and camouflage for adults, both through the incorporation of algal pigments during shell formation, as well as through growth of algal patches on the surface of the shell.

The functions, features and attributes of Northern Abalone critical habitat are summarized in Table 2.

Table 2. Functions, Features and Attributes of Northern Abalone Critical Habitat



Primary substrate

Bedrock or boulders with adequate rugosity is necessary for attachment. Secondary substrate: some cobble may be present but little or no gravel, sediment, sand, mud, or shell present.

≤10m depth (datum)



Larval settling

Water column

Normal salinity (>30 ppt; not low salinity as found close to river run off)

Moderate to high water exchange (tidal current or wave action present)


Larval settling


Coralline algaePresence of encrusting coralline algae (e.g., Lithothamnium spp.)



MacroalgaePresence of Nereocystis, Macrocystis, Pterygophora or Laminaria spp

These features and attributes are associated with high quality abalone habitat; however, abalone may not be present in all habitats exhibiting some or all of these features.

2.3 Examples of activities likely to result in destruction of critical habitat

The current statement of what is considered to be destruction of critical habitat is provided in the draft ‘Species at Risk Act Policies: overarching policy framework’ (2009) posted on the SARA Public Registry, and describes destruction as follows:

“Destruction is determined on a case by case basis. Destruction would result if part of the critical habitat were degraded, either permanently or temporarily, such that it would not serve its function when needed by the species. Destruction may result from a single or multiple activities at one point in time or from the cumulative effects of one or more activities over time. When critical habitat is identified in a recovery strategy or an action plan, examples of activities that are likely to result in its destruction will be provided”.

Northern Abalone are typically found in exposed and semi-exposed coastal habitat not suitable for the majority of coastal developments. For this reason, there are relatively few types of activities, works or developments, likely to result in critical habitat destruction. A temporary alteration of any combination of the critical habitat features may or may not result in destruction of critical habitat.

Finfish aquaculture, log booms and log dumps, and dredging have the potential to alter the described features and attributes of critical habitat, and may result in loss of function. The construction of underwater pipes or cable placement, installation of pilings or other developments may have similar impacts as dredging (i.e., loss of primary substrate and possible increase in sedimentation), and require mitigation measures if they are proposed for areas within the designated critical habitat (Lessard et al. 2007). Concern stems from direct loss of habitat resulting from removal or significant alteration of primary substrate and/or effects on water quality.

Lessard et al. (2007) rated the relative impact from these works or developments as low, provided the impact assessment protocol is followed (Appendix 4). Furthermore, the areas potentially affected by such activities are relatively small in the wave-exposed areas of northern B.C. and the west coast of Vancouver Island (COSEWIC 2009) where critical habitat for Northern Abalone is identified (Figure 3). Some examples of activities that are likely to result in the destruction of critical habitat are listed in Table 3.

Table 3. Examples of Activities that are Likely to Result in Destruction of Critical Habitat
ActivityAffect-PathwayLevel of ConcernFunction AffectedFeature AffectedAttribute Affected


Underwater pipe installation

Cable placement

Piling installation

Direct loss of habitat resulting from removal or significant alteration of primary substrate

Effects of sedimentation

LowAttachmentPrimary substrateBedrock or boulders with adequate rugosity is necessary for attachment. Secondary substrate: some cobble may be present but little or no gravel, sediment, sand, mud, or shell present.
Finfish aquacultureIncreased sedimentation and physical changes to the substrateLowAttachmentPrimary substrateBedrock or boulders with adequate rugosity is necessary for attachment. Secondary substrate: some cobble may be present but little or no gravel, sediment, sand, mud, or shell present.

Log booms

Log dumps

Shading may alter community structure and algal growthLow


Larval settling


Coralline algae


Presence of encrusting coralline algae (e.g., Lithothamnium spp.)

Presence of Nereocystis, Macrocystis, Pterygophora or Laminaria spp.

2.4 Proposed measures to protect critical habitat

Pursuant to subsection 58 (4) of the Species at Risk Act, DFO intends to issue an Order to protect Northern Abalone critical habitat.

In addition to the Protection Order, there are various mechanisms that will aid in the protection of critical habitat. Specific criteria to avoid a harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of Northern Abalone habitat are applied through a protocol specifically developed for assessing and protecting Northern Abalone from works or developments in, on or under the water that are proposed in areas of Northern Abalone habitat (Lessard et al. 2007; Appendix 4). The protocol applies even in situations where additional measures (to mitigate habitat impacts for other species) prohibiting certain activities (e.g., dredging) are already in place. The protocol also applies to works or developments on, in and under the water that are subject to review under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. The consistent application of this protocol mitigates impacts to habitat and critical habitat of abalone.

A significant portion of the total critical habitat identified for Northern Abalone falls within the boundaries of National Marine Conservation Areas (NMCAs) and National Marine Conservation Area Reserves (NMCARs). The Gwaii Haanas NMCAR site extends 10 km offshore from Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site. This area was established under the National Marine Conservation Areas Act and is managed for sustainable use, and protected from industrial activities such as marine dumping, mining, and oil and gas exploration and development.

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve provides protection for abalone critical habitat in Barkley Sound under the Canada National Parks Act. Protections in the Park Reserve extend out to 20 metres depth. Parks Canada’s protected heritage sites are managed to promote ecosystem integrity, and continued persistence of natural populations by measures to maintain or restore the diversity of genes, species and communities native to the region. Marine Protected Areas may also be established in future under the Oceans Act.

Environment Canada’s Habitat Stewardship Program (HSP) provides support for Coast Watch, a community-based stewardship program that supports public education, awareness, and abalone patrols to reduce illegal harvest. This program has significant participation from within the First Nations communities.

Habitat and critical habitat for Northern Abalone are also protected under the Fisheries Act. Section 35(1) prohibits any work or undertaking that results in the harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat unless authorized pursuant to Section 35(2).

2.5 Actions and performance measures

2.5.1 Measures to be taken and implementation schedule

The specific activities to recover Northern Abalone are summarized in Table 4. Some measures to recover the Northern Abalone population in Canada pre-date the 1990 fisheries closures and the species’ legal listing under the SARA. Many of the actions listed below were outlined in the 1999 Workshop for Rebuilding Northern Abalone in B.C. (Dovetail 1999), the 2002 National recovery strategy adopted under the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk (DFO 2002), the 2004 draft National Recovery Action Plan for Northern Abalone, and Recovery Strategy for Northern Abalone (2007), and have been ongoing and improving over several years. To date, these measures continue to be the most comprehensive and extensive means known to recover abalone. New actions or updated approaches have been added to Section 2.4.1 as appropriate. New activities may be added, or those existing activities adapted and revised as new information is gathered.

1. Management

Maintain the fisheries closures for Northern Abalone.

Abalone fisheries closures were implemented in 1990 to allow for natural population recovery. However, there is evidence that the reduced abundance and resulting fragmentation of the population (i.e., animals spread too far apart) is hindering recovery. Model simulations from Lessard et al. (2007) predict that mortality rates >0.20 would result in further decline in the Northern Abalone population, and recommend that maximum human-induced mortality be near zero. Additional abalone harvest of any kind will significantly hinder recovery. To that end, the following management initiatives will be undertaken:

1.1 Maintain fisheries closures under the Fisheries Act and Regulations (1993) to recreational, commercial and First Nations’ food, social and ceremonial abalone fisheries to limit mortalities and declines in abundance.

1.2 Restrict release of detailed data on abalone distribution and occurrence collected as a result of monitoring surveys, or proposal reviews conducted under the Fisheries Act, Canadian Environmental Assessment Act or SARA, in order tomitigate threats to both individual abalone (illegal harvest) and willful destruction of critical habitat for abalone.

1.3 Continue to employ the monitoring requirements in the impact assessment protocol (Lessard et al.2007; Appendix 2) for works and development in abalone habitat and critical habitat.

2. Protection

Implement a compliance promotion and enforcement (proactive and reactive) plan for the recovery of Northern Abalone.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Conservation and Protection (C&P) Branch promotes and enforces compliance with legislation that protects Northern Abalone. Efforts are both proactive and reactive. C&P activities for Northern Abalone are based on: Education and shared stewardship (e.g., public education, media releases, monitoring agreements, presentations to industry, schools and First Nations communities); Monitoring, control and surveillance activities (e.g., land, sea and air patrols, fish inspections, enforcement activities, interagency partnerships, and response to non-compliance); and Management of major cases and special investigations in relation to complex compliance issues (e.g., long-term, intelligence-based investigations that require a high level of specialized investigative skills).

Compliance promotion and enforcement are necessary to reduce mortalities of Northern Abalone from direct illegal harvest (poaching) and to encourage the public to contact C&P when witnessing suspicious activity. Protection of aggregations of abalone and habitats that support them will prevent losses of individuals and important habitat. Detection of abalone in transit disrupts illegal trade between buyers and sellers and allows officers to gather intelligence on individuals and groups involved in the illegal abalone trade. The following compliance and enforcement activities will be undertaken (subject to available resources):

2.1. Education and shared stewardship activities:

  • Engage clients, stakeholders and First Nations in compliance decision-making, monitoring agreements, and activities.
  • Discuss abalone protection with individuals at wharves, on general patrols, at community events, and at schools.
  • Interact with clients and stakeholder groups, First Nations, industry and interested parties on the importance of abalone protection.
  • Promote abalone protection and the Observe-Record-Report (ORR) toll-free reporting line (1-800-465-4336).

2.2 Activities to monitor, detect and respond to cases of non-compliance:

  • Surveillance of port and offloading sites
  • Conduct extensive on-the-water patrols, dive patrols and air patrols (including covert operations) to monitor areas, vessels and persons of interest.
  • Build partnerships with other Canadian and international agencies (e.g., Department of Justice, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Environment Canada, and Canadian Food Inspection Agency).
  • Respond to cases of non-compliance (e.g., warnings, alternative measures, orders, prosecutions, community-based justice processes).

2.3. Develop major cases and intelligence-based investigations on illegal abalone trade.

  • Build intelligence to disrupt the illegal supply-demand chain.
  • Follow up on tips received from the public, informants and partners.
  • Work with national and international enforcement agencies to share intelligence and disrupt movement of abalone.

2.4.Continue to review development proposals under the Fisheries Act following the impact assessment protocol (Appendix 4) to mitigate harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of abalone habitat and critical habitat.

3. Education and awareness

Implement a communications campaign to stop illegal harvest and raise public awareness of Northern Abalone.

Communications campaigns are expected to increase support for, and awareness of, enforcement efforts, encourage public involvement and community stewardship of abalone. The communications approach will be used to support an ‘anti-poaching’ message:

3.1 Continue to raise awareness of the plight of the abalone and the threats to their survival, including, but not limited to:

  • Continue to provide communications support to stewardship activities to further the First Nations and community involvement in the abalone action plan.
  • Promote delivery of the education tool kit through distribution and use within the public education system.
  • Continue to use abalone displays at public events and in public areas, and identify new and upcoming events at which to promote abalone information.
  • Engage in media relations to highlight abalone issues, status and stewardship successes.

3.2 Stop or discourage illegal harvesting activities, including but not limited to:

  • Continue to promote the Abalone Coast Watch Program and the Observe-Record-Report phone number (e.g., sticker/card with reporting information and phone number).
  • Continue to involve First Nations and other coastal communities in monitoring and reporting poaching activities.
  • Engage in media relations to deter illegal harvest, and raise awareness of enforcement actions and results (e.g., arrests, convictions, fines).
  • Where possible, foster public support of court imposed sentencing that is appropriate to the status of Northern Abalone. This may be achieved by educating the general public through publications, other communication media, and the provision of impact statements to the court.

3.3 Significantly reduce demand for (illegal) Northern Abalone by targeting sales and consumption of Northern Abalone, including but not limited to:

  • Engage in media and public relation to explain the distinction between illegal and legal types of abalone in the marketplace.
  • Foster restaurant (e.g., “We only use legal abalone” sticker) and consumer-directed awareness programs (e.g., Marine Stewardship Certification, Seafood Watch).
4. Research and population rebuilding

Research that leads to improved understanding of threats, life history, recruitment and predator-prey interactions with Sea Otters will assist in developing long-term population and distribution objectives for Northern Abalone recovery. The potential contributions of First Nations traditional knowledge to improved understanding of Northern Abalone habitats is recognized and supported by an ecosystem approach. Evaluation of pilot projects is necessary to prioritize carrying out activities, as well as determine the appropriate rebuilding method(s) to address poor adult recruitment and to fill knowledge gaps on Northern Abalone biology, habitat and ecology. Criteria for evaluating feasibility of pilot projects should include the method’s ability to increase abalone abundance in study areas, efficiency, practical application and cost effectiveness. Studies and findings about abalone in other jurisdictions may also be incorporated into B.C. activities as applicable. Some research findings, including abalone traditional knowledge, may overlap and/or complement one another.

a) research on Northern Abalone to improve understanding of abalone recruitment and species interactions:

4.1 If a disease is detected, conduct examinations to identify the cause of disease(s). If the disease is determined to be infectious, investigate the etiological agent to identify the pathogen and determine the biology of the pathogen to find methods of prevention or control.

4.2 Conduct computer simulations to determine potential larval dispersal mechanisms.

4.3 Kinship analyses may be conducted to identify adults to their progeny in support of linking the source of adult concentrations with the proportion of their recruited progeny in an area in (i) wild adult aggregation studies, and (ii) hatchery-raised abalone outplanting studies.

4.4 Investigate ecological interactions with Sea Otters and their role in the recovery of Northern Abalone by establishing pilot research areas where Sea Otters occur to determine abalone population parameters under the effects of Sea Otters and to determine population and distribution objectives in the presence of Sea Otters.

4.5 Evaluate feasibility and effectiveness of pilot aggregation and translocation projects. Aggregating reproductive adult abalone is intended to increase density and improve reproductive success; and translocating “surf’ abalone to calmer, kelp abundant habitats, is intended to improve growth rates and reproductive successFootnote 10.

4.6 Evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of outplantingFootnote 11 using data from pilot projects conducted between 2000 - 2010. Pilot projects initiated under the rebuilding program have concluded.

4.7 Promote additional traditional knowledge research, using appropriate and respectful methods (e.g., Haida Marine Traditional Knowledge[HMTK] Study Participants et al. 2008). Observations regarding habitat requirements and critical habitat areas may be valuable information that First Nations TK can contribute to abalone rebuilding (See Appendix 3 for example interview questions).

b) Continue to promote abalone population rebuilding initiatives in collaboration with First Nations and other coastal communities

First Nations and coastal communities have taken a lead in population rebuilding projects. Without this involvement, contribution and interest, many of the population rebuilding efforts and the associated research activities may not be possible (e.g., cost, time and effort prohibitive). Working co-operatively with coastal First Nations on proposals for projects that are in First Nations’ local areas, and with coastal communities and possibly other jurisdictions, will assist in the efforts for abalone population rebuilding.

While wild-to-wild translocations and aggregations of adults and outplanting of hatchery-raised abalone to the wild have shown some promise, their outcomes have often been poor and uncertain (Tegner 2000). In addition, their effects are likely very localized and may not be suited for species recovery on the whole. Evaluation is necessary (see Actions 4.5, 4.6 above) to determine appropriate use of these methods.

4.8 Conduct small scale enhancement of habitat to monitor and increase survival of early abalone benthic stages. Northern Abalone, especially juveniles, are cryptic and hide in rock crevices, which makes monitoring of juvenile survivorship difficult. Currently, contained units (concrete blocks caged in small enclosures (e.g., crab traps), are being used to increase rugosity (i.e., hiding crevices), to monitor juvenile and early life stages’ survival and species interactions (e.g., with Sea Otters), and to allow efficient sampling without disrupting the natural environment.

4.9 Examine growth, survival and distribution of early benthic stages in relation to local habitat, algal, predator and competitor species, in order to determine the parameters that contribute to higher juvenile densities (recruitment). Promote the participation of First Nations in identification of habitat requirements for the rebuilding program. Years of observations can potentially provide information on habitat characteristics; previous distribution; particularly productive areas; areas predominated by juveniles or unusually large abalone; and spawning areas.

5. Population Monitoring

Monitor population status of Northern Abalone

Establishing a time series of abundance estimates is needed in the five biogeographic zonesFootnote 12 to determine the progress (decline or increase) of recovery in the Northern Abalone population compared to the population and distribution objectives. Ongoing monitoring of the abalone population is needed to assess its recovery and long-term viability, and the effectiveness of threat mitigation. Continuation of the current time series is needed to model and study recruitment variation, and population dynamics, in support of rebuilding efforts. The data collected in these surveys will be necessary to evaluate all of the objectives-based performance measures.

5.1 Continue index site surveys every 4-5 years (started 1978) in the North and Central Coast and Haida Gwaii, which includes the collection of habitat information.

5.2 Continue more recently established index surveys every 4-5 years (started 2003) on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, Georgia Basin, and in Queen Charlotte Strait, which includes the collection of habitat information.

5.3 Test new or modifications of existing survey methods to estimate the abundance of abalone of different life stages, aggregation size (patchiness), suitable habitat and habitat mapping.

2.5.2 Performance measures

The performance measures outlined in Section 2.5 of the Recovery Strategy for Northern Abalone (2007) also apply to this action plan. Some questions from the recovery strategy have been re-framed (shown in italics) to focus and support future analyses of performance and progress towards achieving the stated objectives. A report on progress toward addressing each of the action-based performance measures from the recovery strategy is provided (Appendix 2).

Objective-based performance measures:

  • Did the mean densities of large adult (≥ 100 mm SL) northern abalone decline below 0.1/m2 at surveyed index sites in Haida Gwaii and North and Central Coast? Or did it increase?
  • Did the percentage of surveyed index sites with large adult (≥ 100 mm SL) northern abalone decrease (<40%)? Or did it increase (>40%)?
  • Did the annual estimated mortality rate for mature (≥ 70 mm SL) abalone drop to < 0.20, and the mean densities of mature (≥ 70 mm SL) abalone increase to greater than 0.32/m2
  • Were more than 40% of the quadrats (m2) occupied by abalone?
Action-based performance measures:
  • Was the coast-wide closure to northern abalone harvesting maintained and enforced? Is there evidence for success in detecting and apprehending illegal harvesters?Footnote 13
  • Was a proactive protective enforcement plan implemented? How many reports relating to abalone harvesting were provided to enforcement officers and the toll free enforcement line (Observe-Record-Report)? To what degree were these reports investigated and resulted in charges and convictions? How much effort has been spent on enforcing abalone closures (e.g., months, hours)? What were the trends in enforcement hours and resulting charges and convictions over the period before and during implementation of the recovery strategy? Has the impact of the illegal harvest been studied further?
Education and awareness
  • Was a long-term communications strategy implemented? How many and what kind of communication materials and/or actions were produced and/or undertaken? How many people, and where, did the communications activities reach? What indications for increased awareness (e.g., did visits to the abalone web site increase, what level of participation at workshops?) were a result of communications efforts? 
Research and population rebuilding
  • What significant new knowledge was gained through research that would directly contribute to the rebuilding of the Northern Abalone population? How many population rebuilding initiatives were undertaken? Was there an observed increase in juvenile abundance and/or recruitment as a result of rebuilding experiments? Does rebuilding appear to be a viable or promising strategy to recover the wild abalone population? What reports (technical or primary publications) were prepared that provide results of surveys and biological studies?
Population monitoring
  • Were regular surveys continued in each of the biogeographic zonesFootnote 14?

2.6 Proposed implementation schedule

The specific activities to recover Northern Abalone are summarized in Table 4. Activities are largely ongoing, and implementation datesFootnote 15 are given. Where appropriate, partnerships with specific organizations and sectors have been identified. These partnerships and organizations will provide expertise and capacity to carry out the listed action. In consideration for reducing costs, activities will be combined where appropriate. Fisheries and Oceans Canada encourages groups and individuals other than those listed in Table 4 to participate in the recovery program for Northern Abalone in B.C. The list of organizations below will be adapted as needed.

Many actions in Table 4 were prioritized by the ART and AbRIG during the 2004 action planning process. Ratings and participation were re-confirmed at the 2009 AbRIG meeting. Priority ratings used in 2004 and 2009 were adapted from the criteria established by the national recovery program RENEW (Recovery of Nationally Endangered Wildlife; A Working Draft - Recovery Operations Manual 20 November 2001):

“Urgent” – an activity addressing the main threats from illegal harvest and low recruitment, with a high predictability of success; or that is mandated under SARA; or

“Necessary” – an activity addressing knowledge gaps and/or other threats, for which success may be measured over the long-term; or

“Optional” – an activity primarily outside those activities specific to abalone recovery, but which could impact abalone recovery.

Key to abbreviations used in Table 4:

Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre Public Education Program

B.C. coastal communities

Canadian Coast Guard, Fisheries & Oceans Canada

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Canadian Department of National Defense

Environment Canada - Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk (HSP) and Aboriginal Funds for Species at Risk (AFSAR)

First Nations

Heiltsuk Abalone Stewardship Project (Heiltsuk Fisheries Program)

Haida Gwaii Abalone Stewards, a partnership of the Haida Fisheries Program, Skidegate Band Council, Old Massett Village Council, Laskeek Bay Conservation Society, Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site, World Wildlife Fund Canada, Simon Fraser University (SFU) Centre for Wildlife Ecology, SFU School of Resource and Environmental Management, Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Kitasoo Abalone Stewardship Program (Kitasoo Fisheries Program)

Metlakatla Fisheries Program

Nisga'a Fisheries Department

Non-governmental Organizations (e.g., Marine Stewardship Certification, Seafood Watch programs)

Parks Canada Agency

Proponent for the works or developments on, in or under the water

Province of B.C. Ministry of Environment, B.C. Assets and Lands (provincial government), B.C. Conservation Officers Service

Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network

Universities, e.g., Simon Fraser University, University of Victoria, and Thompson Rivers University


Table 4 (1. Management). Proposed Implementation Schedule. Activities listed are largely ongoing and many recovery measures were implemented prior to SARA’s proclamation and to the SARA Recovery Strategy (DFO 2007).
Recovery ActivitiesObj.PriorityThreats or concerns addressedResponsibilityStart Date
LeadPartnersFootnote a
1.1 Aboriginal, recreational and commercial abalone fisheries remain closedAllUHarvest, Low recruitmentDFOCCGSince 1990
1.2 Restrict release of detailed distribution and location to mitigate poaching and destruction of critical habitat1, 2, 3U>Harvest, Low recruitment, Habitat degradation/ lossDFOAllSince 1990
1.3 Continue to employ monitoring requirements in Lessard et al (2007) protocol for works and development in abalone habitat and critical habitatAllUHabitat degradation/ loss, Critical Habitat destruction, MonitoringDFO, ProponentPCASince 2007


Table 4 (2. Protection). Proposed Implementation Schedule. Activities listed are largely ongoing and many recovery measures were implemented prior to SARA’s proclamation and to the SARA Recovery Strategy (DFO 2007).
Recovery ActivitiesObj.PriorityThreats or concerns addressedResponsibilityStart Date
LeadPartnersFootnote a
2.1 Promote compliance through educationAllUHarvest, Low recruitmentDFOCCG, FN, PCASince 1990
2.2 Monitor and respond to non-complianceAllUHarvest, Low recruitmentDFORCMP, DND, PCASince 1990
2.3 Build major cases and special investigations on illegal abalone tradeAllUHarvest, Low recruitmentDFORCMP, CFIA, DND, EC, PCA, PROV, TRAFFICSince 1990, new efforts in 2010 are ongoing
2.4 Review works and development proposals in abalone habitat and critical habitat1, 2, 3ULow recruitment, Habitat degradation/ lossDFOPROV
Ongoing, as required


Table 4 (3. Education & Awareness). Proposed Implementation Schedule. Activities listed are largely ongoing and many recovery measures were implemented prior to SARA’s proclamation and to the SARA Recovery Strategy (DFO 2007).
Recovery ActivitiesObj.PriorityThreats or concerns addressedResponsibilityStart Date
LeadPartnersFootnote a
3.1 Raise awarenessAllNHarvest, Low recruitment, SARA statusHGAbS, KASP, G-N, HASP, MFP, NFP, BMSC, CC & FN, PCA, ECDFOSince 2000
3.2 Discourage illegal harvestAllUHarvest, Low recruitmentDFOEC, HGAbS, KASP, NFP, MFP, G-N, HASP, BMSC, CC & FN, PCADFO since 1990, stewardship efforts since 2000
3.3 Reduce commercial demand of illegal product and target marketsAllNHarvest, Low recruitmentDFORestaurants, ENGOsSince 2003


Table 4 (4. Research & Rebuilding). Proposed Implementation Schedule. Activities listed are largely ongoing and many recovery measures were implemented prior to SARA’s proclamation and to the SARA Recovery Strategy (DFO 2007).
Recovery ActivitiesObj.PriorityThreats or concerns addressedResponsibilityStart Date
LeadPartnersFootnote a
4.1 DiseaseAllNLow recruitment DFOSince 2003
4.2 Larval dispersalAllNLow recruitment PCA, DFOSince 2002, again in 2009
4.3 Kinship identificationAllNLow recruitmentUnivDFO, PCA, BHCAPSince 2002
4.4 Species interactions3, 4NSea Otters, Habitat effectsKASP, HASP, HGAbS, UnivPCA, DFOSince 2002, new efforts in 2010 ongoing
4.5 Evaluate feasibility and effectiveness of pilot aggregation and translocation projectsAllULow recruitmentKASPHGAbS, MFP, Gitga’at, DFO, EC, PCASince 2001, Data analysis in 2010/11
4.6 Evaluate feasibility and effectiveness of pilot out-plantingAllULow recruitment, Population rebuildingUnivBHCAP, Univ, DFOOutplanting since 2003, surveyed some sites 2000, 2002, 2003, Report expected 2011/12
4.7 Traditional knowledgeAllNTK, biology, ecology, threats, habitatFNAbRIG, DFO2009
4.8 Enhancement to protect early life-stagesAllNLow recruitment, Juvenile survivalHGAbS, KASPDFO, ECSince 2001
4.9 Research on early benthic stages, identify habitat requirementsAllULow recruitment, Population rebuildingAb RIG, HGAbS, UnivDFO, PCASince 2002, new efforts in 2010 ongoing


Table 4 (5. Monitoring). Proposed Implementation Schedule. Activities listed are largely ongoing and many recovery measures were implemented prior to SARA’s proclamation and to the SARA Recovery Strategy (DFO 2007).
Recovery ActivitiesObj.PriorityThreats or concerns addressedResponsibilityStart Date
LeadPartnersFootnote a
5.1 Index site surveys1, 3, 4UAll (Monitoring)DFOHGAbS, MFPSince 1978,
5.1 Index site surveys (North and Central Coasts)1, 3, 4UAll (Monitoring)DFOHGAbS, MFP2011
5.1 Index site surveys (Haida Gwaii)1, 3, 4UAll (Monitoring)DFOHGAbS, MFP2012
5.2 Baseline abundance surveys in southern B.C.3, 4All (monitoring)DFOPCASince 2003,
5.2 Baseline abundance surveys in southern B.C. (WCVI)3, 4All (monitoring)DFOPCA2013
5.2 Baseline abundance surveys in southern B.C. (QCS)3, 4All (monitoring)DFOPCA2014
5.3 Survey methodology for juvenilesAllNLow recruitmentHGAbS, KASP, UnivDFO, PCASince 2002


Footnote A

Partnerships do not necessarily identify specific actions or subsidiary actions required to complete the recovery activity.

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Footnote 10

This action is subject to review and permitting under SARA (S. 73).

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Footnote 11

This action is subject to review and permitting under SARA (S. 73).

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Footnote 12

Five biogeographic zones were identified for Northern Abalone in B.C. based on environmental, management and/or biological considerations. These areas include intertidal and subtidal waters surrounding the following land areas: Haida Gwaii; North and Central Coasts (Cape Caution north to and including Prince Rupert); Queen Charlotte and Johnstone Straits (Seymour Narrows near Quadra Island north to Cape Caution); Georgia Basin (San Juan Point to Seymour Narrows near Quadra Island); and West Coast of Vancouver Island (San Juan Point north to the Scott Islands).

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Footnote 13

In place of, “Was the coast-wide closure an effective measure contributing in halting the population decline?”

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Footnote 14

Replaces ‘Was baseline abundance established in each of the biogeographic zones?’ That action has been completed.

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Footnote 15

Implementation dates may refer to implementation of an improved program rather than a date at which similar activities were started.

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