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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.

4.0 Information on Species Designated by COSEWIC: Banded Killifish (Newfoundland population)

The rest of this workbook is structured to provide you with specific information on the Banded Killifish (Newfoundland population). Information is provided on COSEWIC status, distribution and biology, reason for designation by COSEWIC,
potential management measures and impacts. For the full Banded Killifish (Newfoundland population) status report that includes the threats and limiting factors please visit: http://www.sararegistry.gc.ca.

4.1 What is the Banded Killifish (Newfoundland population)?

The Banded Killifish, Fundulus diaphanus and the mummichog, Fundulus heteroclitus are the only two Fundulus species found in Newfoundland. They are members of a large family of small fish species that live in fresh and brackish water. The Banded Killifish is dark brown to olive-green on the back with silvery or yellowish sides and white or yellow underneath. As the name implies it carries numerous vertical bands along its sides. Growing in Newfoundland to an average length of 73- 92 mm Banded Killifish do not live more than 3-4 years and mature from the age of one. Spawning takes place in July and August when the males in particular take on a bright blue colouring near the anal fin. The females lay their eggs on plants, which
they rely on for this purpose.

Banded Killifish rely on the invertebrate community for food and in turn are themselves food for larger fish such as brook trout, Atlantic salmon and American eels and birds such as the Belted Kingfisher and mergansers. There is little information on the numbers of Banded Killifish in the Newfoundland population.

4.2 Where is the Banded Killifish found?

Banded Killifish are found in North America from South Carolina north to Atlantic Canada and west in several states and the Great lakes region of southern Canada. In Canada the Banded Killifish is widely distributed in the Maritimes and in suitable areas of the St. Lawrence River valley. The most western occurrence is a disjunct population in Manitoba. Newfoundland represents the eastern extreme of the Banded Killifish's distribution.

On the island of Newfoundland Banded Killifish are known to be present in seven locations: Indian Bay, Loch Leven, Stephenville Crossing, Ramea Island, Winterland, Freshwater Pond and Grand Bay West. While Banded Killifish can live in either fresh or salt water they prefer freshwater. They like the quiet shallow areas of lakes and ponds with clear water and lots of underwater vegetation (Figure 1.).

4.3 COSEWIC Status: Banded Killifish (Newfoundland population)

The Newfoundland population of the Banded Killifish is currently recommended by COSEWIC as a species of Special Concern. It was first assessed by COSEWIC in 1989 and reassessed in May 2003.

The Newfoundland population of the Banded Killifish was listed by COSEWIC as being of Special Concern because it is considered biogeographically isolated from the mainland populations and it occupies such a limited area. It is not thought possible for Banded Killifish to migrate across the Gulf, which separates the mainland populations from insular Newfoundland. The limited distribution of Banded Killifish on the island of Newfoundland makes it vulnerable to localized disturbance such as logging or other sources of habitat alteration.

4.4 What Threats Does the Species Face?

The Newfoundland population of the Banded Killifish is patchy and localized which means that disturbances occurring in the few areas where they are found could effect this population more easily than if it were widely distributed. In the areas where they are found the fish are vulnerable to anything that would effect the quality of their habitat.

Potential sources of problems for the Newfoundland population of the Banded Killifish include:

Figure 1. Newfoundland distribution of Banded Killifish (year of record in parentheses). Cited from Chippett, Jamie D. 2003. Update COSEWIC status report on the Banded Killifish Fundulus Diaphanus, Newfoundland population in Canada, inCOSEWIC assessment and Update Status Report on the Banded Killifish Fundulus diaphanus in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, Ottawa. 1-21 pp.

Forestry Activity

Some forest harvesting practices can result in increased sediment accumulation in nearby water bodies. As the Banded Killifish is a sight dependent species it relies on water clarity to operate effectively. In addition, increased sedimentation can indirectly effect the Killifish by undermining the health and abundance of bottom vegetation which Killifish use as habitat and on which they glue their eggs. Any forestry practice which effects water clarity could be a problem for Banded Killifish.

Farming Activity

Alteration of Killifish habitat through the drainage of wetlands for farming activity in areas used by Banded Killifish could be detrimental to their population. In addition, pesticides used in farming near Banded Killifish habitat could be a source of chemical contamination.

5.0 How Can the Species be Protected?

5.1 Existing Measures

The Banded Killifish was designated by the province of Newfoundland and Labrador in its Endangered Species ListRegulations as vulnerable under the Endangered Species Act of Newfoundland and Labrador, effective July 30, 2002. Under this Act the minister shall release a management plan for the species to the public within 3 years from the time the species was designated as vulnerable (i.e. by July 30, 2005).

As yet there are no specific measures in place for the protection of Banded Killifish in Newfoundland other than the Federal Fisheries Act which has jurisdiction over fish habitat and under which it is an offence to harm fish habitat.

5.2 Potential Management Measures

If the Banded Killifish (Newfoundland population) is added to Schedule 1 of SARA as a species of special concern a management plan will be prepared within three years of legal listing. The management plan may expand the management
measures taken to protect the species from harm in general and to protect its critical habitat. Fisheries and Oceans Canada wishes to gain a better understanding of how these measures could contribute to the recovery of the species, as well as the
potential impacts of these measures on human activities and resource users. Some of the potential management measures listed below will require collaboration with other government departments and agencies to fully implement. Prohibitions or restrictions of activities posing threats or potential threats to the species where it is regularly found may be needed. Future management measures could include but are no limited to:

  • research into habitat selection and use by the Newfoundland population of Banded Killifish
  • research into the population dynamics of the Newfoundland population of Banded Killifish and other research deemed important for the development of a plan to conserve the species
  • the identification of critical habitat for the Banded Killifish
  • the designation and formal protection of critical habitat once identified
  • restrictions on land-use practices in the proximity of designated critical habitat for Banded Killifish
  • restrictions on the use of Banded Killifish as bait

This list is not meant to cover all potential management measures. Other management measures may be proposed as we work through the consultation process and as more research is carried out. If the species is legally listed and proceeds tomanagement planning, there will be further consultation on management measures.

6.0 Impacts on Stakeholders

This consultation workbook was developed to help us better understand the impacts on stakeholders of legally listing the Banded Killifish (Newfoundland population) as a species of Special Concern. Based on the COSEWIC assessment and a
review of activities in the area, we have described below how some stakeholders may be impacted. These descriptions are intended to assist you in filling out the questionnaire on pages 12-15. Please note that SARA was designed to takeacooperative approach to the recovery of species and further consultation with regulators and stakeholders will be taken on any future management actions, should the species be added to the legal list.

We urge all interested parties to fill out the questions to help us better understand what impacts the addition of the species to the SARA legal list will have. If you are not included in the list of stakeholders below, it is still important for you to complete the questions so that DFO can gain a better understanding of impacts.

6.1 Aboriginal peoples

Aboriginal peoples will be consulted on the development of a management plan for Banded Killifish (Newfoundland population). Management strategies may be considered that affect land use practices and plans of aboriginal groups on the island of Newfoundland.

6.2 Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

The province may wish to collaborate with the federal government in the development of a management plan for the Banded Killifish.

6.3 Forestry Industry

Crown land grants for forestry purposes in areas adjacent to known Banded Killifish occupancy may be subject to restrictions. The size of Buffer zones around freshwater bodies in areas of importance to Banded Killifish in which no cutting is
allowed may be increased.

6.4 Farming Industry

Crown land grants for agricultural purposes in areas adjacent to known Banded Killifish occupancy may be subject to restrictions.

6.5 Anglers

The use of Banded Killifish as bait may be regulated.

6.6 ATV Association

The use of ATVs in areas adjacent to known Banded Killifish occupancy may be subject to restrictions. Associations representing ATV owners and users may play a role in raising public awareness of the species and activities that could endanger it.

6.7 Community Organizations

The conservation community may play a role in raising public awareness of the species and activities that could endanger it.

6.8 Conservation Non-governmental organizations

The conservation community may play a role in raising public awareness of the species and activities that could endanger it.

6.10 Researchers

Those wishing to carry out research on the species or in areas of their critical habitat once defined may have to follow strict guidelines. This may limit the types of research permitted in areas of critical habitat. It may also mean more lead-up time will be needed in planning research projects.

7.0 Contact Information

If you have questions about the Species at Risk Act or the consultation process,please feel free to contact us.

David Kulka
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre White Hills
PO Box: PO Box 5667
St John's, Newfoundland
Canada A1C 5X1

Telephone: (709-772-2064)
Fax: (709-772-4188)
E-mail: KulkaD@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

In Person: Any Fisheries and Oceans Office

Feedback Section

The government's decision on whether or not to list the species will be based on a full description and understanding of the costs and benefits of the impacts of protection and recovery on individuals, organizations, Aboriginal Peoples, industries, and Canadian society in general.

How to use this workbook:

Please consider the questions provided below, and provide a response to any or all of the questions that interest you. It is important that you indicate which species your comments are intended for. Additional pages may can be added as well. After you have completed the questions, please sent the questions and answers only to:

David Kulka
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre White Hills
PO Box: PO Box 5667
St John's, Newfoundland
Canada A1C 5X1

Telephone: (709-772-2064)
Fax: (709-772-4188)
E-mail: KulkaD@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Mail completed hard copies to the address above or email to
KulkaD@dfo-mpo.gc.ca or FAX to:
FAX Number - (709-772-4188)

Workbooks must be submitted by June 30, 2004

Questions

Once a species is legally listed as a species of Special Concern, a management plan will need to be drafted. Stakeholders will be asked to participate in the development of a management plan to ensure the conservation of the Banded Killifish(Newfoundland population). It may evolve that management practices would be implemented that may have significant socio-economic impacts (positive or negative). The government's decision on whether or not to list the species will be based on a full description and understanding of the costs and benefits of the impacts on individuals, organizations, First Nations, industries, and Canadian society in general. Please take some time to carefully answer the questions below and send in your workbook by, June 30, 2004. You may also send your comments electronically via email to KulkaD@dfompo. gc.ca or by FAX to (709-772-4188).

Name:
Affiliation:
Species of Interest:

1.a) Based on what you have learned about the Species at Risk Act, do you think the listing of the species, of interest to you, would affect your activities? How?

b) If a legal listing will affect your activities, do you see these effects as a cost or benefit to you? In what way?

c) For you, would the costs or benefits of a legal listing change over time? If so, how would they change and do you have any suggestions on how to minimize the impacts?

2. In order to be truly effective, the recovery of species at risk must be a cooperative process that includes organizations and individuals with knowledge of these species and the threats it faces. How can relevant parties be included in the recovery of the species?

3. How can you as an individual, or your industry or organization as a group, participate in the recovery of the species? Give examples of particular activities, if you can.

4. Please add any other comments or concerns (include additional sheets, if necessary).

Please send us your comments via regular mail, email or fax to the addresses given above by June 30, 2004

THANK YOU

Appendix 1: Glossary of Terms

Action Plan:

A document that sets out specific ways to put a recovery strategy into effect. Aquatic species: All 'fish' including:

a) parts of fish

b) shellfish, crustaceans, marine animals and any parts of shellfish, crustaceans or marine animals

c) the eggs, sperm, spawn, larvae, spat and juvenile stages of fish, shellfish, crustaceans and marine animals

Competent Minister:

The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is the competent minister for listed aquatic species. The Minister of Canadian Heritage (Parks Canada Agency) is the competent minister for listed species found in national parks national historic sites and other national protected heritage areas. The Minister of the Environment is the competent minister for all other listed species and for the overall administration of the law.

Critical habitat:

Habitat that is necessary for the survival or recovery of a listed wildlife species and that is identified as the species' criticalhabitat in the recovery or in an action plan for the species

Data deficient species:

Wildlife species for which there is insufficient evidence to determine whether or not the species is in fact at risk.

Endangered species:

Wildlife species that is facing imminent extirpation or extinction

Extinct species:

Wildlife species that no longer exists anywhere.

Extirpated species:

Wildlife species that no longer exist in the wild in Canada, but exist elsewhere in the wild

Habitat:

In respect to aquatic species, spawning grounds and nursery, rearing, food supply, migration and any other areas on whichaquatic 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

Management Plan:

A document that sets out specific ways to manage threats to a species of special concern in order to prevent the species of special concern from becoming threatened or endangered.

Recovery Strategy:

A document prepared by the competent minister in cooperation and consultation with other governments, wildlife management boards, Aboriginal organizations, landowners and others who are likely to be affected by the strategy.

It identifies the population goal and objectives, and broad recovery approaches to abate threats.

Species of Special Concern:

Wildlife species that may become a threatened or endangered species because of a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats

Threatened species:

Wildlife species that is likely to become an endangered species if nothing is done to reverse the factors leading to its extirpation or extinction