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Recovery Strategy for the Short-tailed Albatross (Phoebastria albatrus) and Pink-footed Shearwater (Puffinus creatopus) in Canada (Final)

Short-tailed Albatross: Hiroshi Hasegawa, Toho University, Japan. Pink-footed Shearwater: Peter Hodum, Oikonos-Ecosystem Knowledge.

Short-tailed Albatross


Pink-footed Shearwater




Responsible Jurisdictions
Strategic Environmental Assessment


About the Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series

What is the Species at Risk Act (SARA)?

SARA is the Act developed by the federal government as a key contribution to the common national effort to protect and conserve species at risk in Canada. SARA came into force in 2003 and one of its purposes is“to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are extirpated, endangered or threatened as a result of human activity.”

What is recovery?

In the context of species at risk conservation, recovery is the process by which the decline of an endangered, threatened, or extirpated species is arrested or reversed and threats are removed or reduced to improve the likelihood of the species’ persistence in the wild. A species will be considered recovered when its long-term persistence in the wild has been secured.

What is a recovery strategy?

A recovery strategy is a planning document that identifies what needs to be done to arrest or reverse the decline of a species. It sets goals and objectives and identifies the main areas of activities to be undertaken. Detailed planning is done at the action plan stage.

Recovery strategy development is a commitment of all provinces and territories and of three federal agencies -- Environment Canada, Parks Canada Agency, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada -- under the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk. Sections 37–46 of SARAoutline both the required content and the process for developing recovery strategies published in this series.

Depending on the status of the species and when it was assessed, a recovery strategy has to be developed within one to two years after the species is added to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. Three to four years is allowed for those species that were automatically listed when SARA came into force.

What’s next?

In most cases, one or more action plans will be developed to define and guide implementation of the recovery strategy. Nevertheless, directions set in the recovery strategy are sufficient to begin involving communities, land users, and conservationists in recovery implementation. Cost-effective measures to prevent the reduction or loss of the species should not be postponed for lack of full scientific certainty.

The series

This series presents the recovery strategies prepared or adopted by the federal government under SARA. New documents will be added regularly as species get listed and as strategies are updated.

To learn more

To learn more about the Species at Risk Act and recovery initiatives, please consult the SARA Public Registry and the Web site of the Recovery Secretariat (

Recommended citation:

Environment Canada. 2008. Recovery Strategy for the Short-tailed Albatross (Phoebastria albatrus) and the Pink-footed Shearwater (Puffinus creatopus) in Canada. Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series. Environment Canada, Ottawa. vii + 46 pp.

Additional copies:

Additional copies can be downloaded from the SARA Public Registry.

Cover illustrations:
Short-tailed Albatross: Hiroshi Hasegawa, Toho University, Japan
Pink-footed Shearwater: Peter Hodum, Oikonos-Ecosystem Knowledge

Également disponible en français sous le titre :

« Programme de rétablissement de l'Albatros à queue courte (Phoebastria albatrus) et du Puffin à pieds roses (Puffinus creatopus) au Canada »

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of the Environment, 2008. All rights reserved.

ISBN 978-0-662-48382-3

Catalogue no. En3-4/56-2008E-PDF

Content (excluding the illustrations) may be used without permission, with appropriate credit to the source.


This recovery strategy has been prepared in cooperation with the jurisdictions responsible for the Short-tailed Albatross and the Pink-footed Shearwater. Environment Canada has reviewed and accepts this document as its recovery strategy for the Short-tailed Albatross and the Pink-footed Shearwater, as required under the Species at Risk Act (SARA). This recovery strategy also constitutes advice to other jurisdictions and organizations that may be involved in recovering the species.

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 findings and revised objectives.

This recovery strategy will be the basis for one or more action plans that will provide details on specific recovery measures to be taken to support conservation and recovery of the species. The Minister of the Environment will report on progress within five years, as required under SARA.

Success in the recovery of these 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 Environment Canada or any other jurisdiction alone. In the spirit of the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk, the Minister of the Environment invites all responsible jurisdictions and Canadians to join Environment Canada in supporting and implementing this strategy for the benefit of the Short-tailed Albatross and the Pink-footed Shearwater and Canadian society as a whole.

Responsible Jurisdictions

  • Environment Canada (lead)
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada (participating)
  • Parks Canada Agency (participating)
  • Province of British Columbia (participating)


  • Joanna L. Smith – University of Washington
  • Nadine R. Parker – Transport Canada
  • Ken H. Morgan – Environment Canada
  • Louise K. Blight – University of British Columbia
  • Michael J. Chutter – BCMinistry of Environment
  • Peter J. Hodum – Oikonos-Ecosystem Knowledge
  • Tamee Mawani – Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • David Cunnington - Environment Canada


This recovery strategy was originally drafted by Jo Smith and Nadine Parker and was then revised by Ken Morgan and Louise Blight. Members of the Recovery Team, as well as David Cunnington and Lucy Reiss (Environment Canada), provided extensive comments. We thank the following individuals for their contributions to the development of the recovery strategy: Jamie Kenyon (Environment Canada); Pat O'Hara (University of Victoria/Environment Canada), David Hyrenbach (Duke University/University of Washington); Rob Suryan (Oregon State University, Hatfield Marine Science Center); Michelle Wainstein (Washington Sea Grant); Gary Drew, John Piatt and Jenny Wetzel (US Geological Survey, Alaska Science Center); Greg Balogh and Maura Naughton (US Fish and Wildlife Service); Tracee Geernaert (International Pacific Halibut Commission) and Ross Vennesland (Parks Canada Agency). Critical reviews by Maura Naughton (USFWS, Portland), Roberto Schlatter (Universidad Austral de Chile), Paul Sievert (USGS, Massachusetts Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit) and Rob Suryan helped improve the strategy. We especially thank Peter Hodum and Hiroshi Hasegawa (Toho University) for generously granting us permission to use their photographs.

Strategic Environmental Assessment

A strategic environmental assessment (SEA) is conducted on all SARA recovery planning documents, in accordance with the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals. The purpose of a 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. The results of the SEA are incorporated directly into the strategy itself, but are also summarized below.

This recovery strategy will clearly benefit the environment by promoting the recovery of the Short-tailed Albatross and the Pink-footed Shearwater. 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. The reader should refer to the following sections of the document in particular: description of the species' habitat and biological needs, ecological role, and limiting factors; effects on other species; and the recommended approaches for recovery.


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 [Subsection 2(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.


The Short-tailed Albatross and the Pink-footed Shearwater are migratory birds protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act (1994) and are under the management jurisdiction of the federal Ministry of the Environment. The Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 (MBCA) is the updated statute that implements the 1916 Migratory Birds Convention between Canada and the United States. The Family Diomedeidae is not listed in Article I of the Convention, but well-established policy dictates that albatrosses are protected under the MBCA by virtue of their inclusion in the Environment Canada document entitled Birds Protected in Canada under the Migratory Birds Convention Act (CWS 1991). SARA (Section 37) requires the competent minister to prepare recovery strategies for listed extirpated, endangered, or threatened species. Both species were listed as threatened under SARA in 2005.

Environment Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service - Pacific and Yukon Region led the development of this recovery strategy through the Short-Tailed Albatross and Pink-footed Shearwater Recovery Team. 

The recovery strategy was developed in cooperation or consultation with:

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Parks Canada Agency
  • Government of British Columbia

International conservation efforts are critical to the recovery of these species. This recovery strategy outlines recommended approaches within Canada. A number of other conservation plans exist to address these species internationally, including: the Pink-footed Shearwater North American Conservation Action Plan (Commission for Environmental Cooperation [CEC] 2005), developed cooperatively by Canada, the U.S. and Mexico; and the Draft Recovery Plan for Short-tailed Albatross, prepared by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This recovery strategy is consistent with and supports these international efforts.

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