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Recovery strategy for the Northern Abalone


Northern abalone is a marine species under federal jurisdiction of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans under the Fisheries Act and the Species at Risk Act (SARA).  SARA (Section 37) requires the competent minister to prepare recovery strategies for listed extirpated, endangered or threatened species.  The northern abalone was listed as threatened under SARA in June 2003. 

The Province of British Columbia has jurisdiction over the use of seabed and foreshore under the BC Land Act.  Aquaculture facilities are subject to licensing under the BC Fisheries Act.   Artificial movements of northern abalone into and within coastal waters and to aquaculture facilities are subject to review and licencing by the federal-provincial Introductions and Transfers Committee.  Under the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act, Parks Canada Agency has involvement in abalone management and protection in National Marine Conservation Areas (NMCAs).  The Province of BC and Parks Canada Agency have cooperated in the development of this recovery strategy. 

Fisheries & Oceans Canada formed the Abalone Recovery Team in 2001 to develop the ‘National Recovery Strategy for the Northern Abalone in British Columbia’, which was adopted under the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk in 2002.  In 2007, the recovery strategy was updated to meet the requirements of SARA (this document). 

This proposed recovery strategy meets SARA requirements (Sections 39-41) in terms of content and process and covers the period 2007-2012.


The recovery strategy for the northern abalone has been prepared in cooperation with the jurisdictions described in the Preface. Fisheries and Oceans Canada has reviewed and accepts this document as its recovery strategy for the northern abalone as required under the Species at Risk Act (SARA). This recovery strategy also constitutes advice to other jurisdictions and organizations on the recovery goals, approaches and objectives that are recommended to protect and recover the species.

Success in the recovery of this species depends on the commitment and cooperation of many different constituencies that will be involved in implementing the directions set out in this strategy and will not be achieved by Fisheries and Oceans Canada or any other jurisdiction alone. In the spirit of the National Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans invites all Canadians to join Fisheries and Oceans Canada in supporting and implementing this strategy for the benefit of the species and Canadian society as a whole. Fisheries and Oceans Canada will support implementation of this strategy to the extent possible, given available resources and its overall responsibility for species at risk conservation. Implementation of the strategy by other participating jurisdictions and organizations is subject to their respective policies, appropriations, priorities, and budgetary constraints.

The goals, objectives and recovery approaches identified in the strategy are based on the best existing knowledge and are subject to modifications resulting from new information. The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans will report on progress within five years.

This strategy will be complemented by one or more action plans that will provide details on specific recovery measures to be taken to support conservation of the species. The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans will take steps to ensure that, to the extent possible, Canadians interested in or affected by these measures will be consulted.

Responsible juridiction

Fisheries & Oceans Canada

Parks Canada Agency

Government of British Columbia


The Abalone Recovery Team (Appendix 1) prepared this recovery strategy for Fisheries and Oceans Canada.


The development of the recovery strategy for northern abalone was the result of valuable contributions by a number of individuals and organizations.  The Abalone Recovery Team is grateful to the following reviewers for their valuable advice and contributions on the 2002 recovery strategy: Paul Breen, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, New Zealand; Konstantin Karpov, California Fish and Game; Michele Patterson, World Wildlife Fund; Scoresby A. Shepherd, South Australian Research and Development Institute; Norm Sloan, Parks Canada; Anne Stewart, Bamfield Huu-ay-aht Community Abalone Project Society; and Jane Watson, Malaspina University-College.

The recovery team also acknowledges the many people who provided advice and comments through consultation workshops, and the following individuals for their written submissions in 2002: Lorne Clayton, IEC International Collaborative Marine Research and Development Ltd.; Erica Boulter, World Wildlife Fund; Robert DeVault, Outer Coast Oysters; Larry Golden; Michele James, Underwater Harvesters Association; Stefan Ochman, Fisheries Manager, Huu-ay-aht First Nation;  Dawn Renfrew, Bamfield Marine Sciences Center; Fred Hawkshaw; Mike Featherstone, Pacific Urchin Harvesters Association; Mark Biagi, Community Futures Development Corporation of Powell River and John Shepherd, Northwest Community College.

Fisheries & Oceans Canada would like to thank the numerous individuals and their organizations that are working to achieve the long-term recovery of northern abalone.

Strategic environnmental assessment statement

In accordance with the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals, the purpose of a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is to incorporate environmental considerations into the development of public policies, plans, and program proposals to support environmentally-sound decision making.

Recovery planning is intended to benefit species at risk and biodiversity in general. However, it is recognized that strategies may also inadvertently lead to environmental effects beyond the intended benefits. The planning process based on national guidelines directly incorporates consideration of all environmental effects, with a particular focus on possible impacts on non-target species or habitats.

This recovery strategy will clearly benefit the environment by promoting the recovery of the northern abalone. The potential for the strategy to inadvertently lead to adverse effects on other species was considered. The SEA concluded that this strategy will clearly benefit the environment and will not entail any significant adverse effects. Refer to the following sections of the document in particular:Needs of the Northern Abalone, Approaches Recommended to Meet Recovery Objectives, and Effects on other species. 


SARA defines residence as: “a dwelling-place, such as a den, nest or other similar area or place, that is occupied or habitually occupied by one or more individuals during all or part of their life cycles, including breeding, rearing, staging, wintering, feeding or

hibernating[SARA S2(1)].

Residence descriptions, or the rationale for why the residence concept does not apply to a given species, are posted on the SARA public registry: http://www.sararegistry.gc.ca/plans/residence_e.cfm