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Recovery Strategy for the Leatherback Turtle


 Amphipod: A small flat-bodied crustacean of the order Amphipoda.

 Bioaccumulation: The accumulation of a substance, such as a toxic chemical, in the tissues of a living organism.

 Biomagnification : The increasing concentration of a substance, such as a toxic chemical, found in the tissues of a living organism as you move up the food web.  Simple organisms such as algae can absorb and bioaccumulate minute quantities of a substance which are transferred through the food chain to higher living species such as fish, bird, etc.  Biomagnification along a food chain will result in the highest concentrations of a substance being found at the top of the food chain.

Bycatch: The harvest of fish or shellfish other than the species for which the fishing gear was set.

Carapace: A bony or chitinous case or shell covering the back or part of the back of an animal.

Commensal: Having benefit for one member of a two-species association but neither positive nor negative effect on the other.

Critical Habitat: 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.

Delisting: The removal of a species from the list of species at risk following its recovery.

Endangered Species: a wildlife species that is facing imminent extirpation or extinction.

Food Chain: acommunityoforganismswhereeachmemberiseateninturnbyanothermember.

Forage:  theactofsearchingforfoodandprovisions.

Gene flow: Transfer of genes from one population to another of the same species.

Gangion: A short line attached to a trawl.

 Groin: aprotectivestructureofstoneorconcrete; extendsfromshoreintothewatertopreventabeachfromwashingaway.

Gyre: a great, circular motion of water in each of the major ocean basins centered on subtropical high-pressure region, with circulation clockwise in the northern hemisphere and counterclockwise in the southern hemisphere.

Hatchling: Newly hatched fish or reptile.

Mandible: The lower jaw of vertebrates.

 Medusae: The tentacled, bell-shaped, and sexually mature stage in the life cycle of a jellyfish and other members of the Coelentera.

Mortality: Death rate.

Necrosis: Localized death of cells or tissues through injury or disease.

Pelagic: Pertaining to animals that live at the surface of the ocean, away from the coast.

PIT tag: Passive Integrated Transponder tags are microchips that are injected into an animal’s muscle tissues using a hand-held applicator gun.

Plastron: The front, or ventral part, of the shell of a turtle.

Rookery: A breeding colony of birds or animals.

Revetment: A sloping surface of stone, concrete or other material used to protect an embankment, natural coast or shoreline against erosion.

Riprap: A rubble sustaining wall, often used along shorelines to prevent erosion.

Seawalls: A wall of stone, concrete, or other sturdy material, built along the shoreline to prevent erosion even by the strongest and highest of waves.

Seismic Exploration: The use of seismic energy to probe beneath the surface of the earth.

Stewardship: The wide range of voluntary actions that people are taking to care for the environment.

 Telemetry: The automatic measurement and transmission of data from remote sources, by radio or other means, for recording and analysis.

 Upwelling: A process through which cold and usually nutrient-rich waters rise from the bottom of the ocean to its surface.

APPENDIX B – Schedule of Studies to Identify Critical Habitat

In the absence of sufficient information on habitat use to identify the critical habitat of leatherback turtles in Atlantic Canadian waters within this recovery strategy, SARA requires under section 41.1c.1 that a ‘Schedule of Studies’ be prepared.  The following research activities in Table 1 target key knowledge gaps on the habitat requirements of this species while seasonally resident or migrating through Canadian waters.  Accompanying each activity is an assessment of the overall priority, potential partners, and estimated timing.  It is hoped that implementing the following schedule will yield information to eventually allow for the critical habitat for this species to be described.  It is important to note that activities outlined in this schedule are subject to priorities and budgetary constraints of the participating jurisdictions and organizations.  Consequently, these activities may not necessarily be completed within the timelines as established below.

   2006Yr   1Yr 2Yr 3    Yr 4Yr 5
Critical habitat identification        
Evaluate the spatial and temporal distribution and foraging ecology of leatherback turtles in Canadian waters Primary


Nova Scotia Leatherback Turtle Working Group

Dalhousie University

Memorial University of Newfoundland

   2006Yr   1Yr 2Yr 3    Yr 4Yr 5
Conduct satellite telemetry studies to Identify seasonal foraging areas in Atlantic Canadian waters and migratory routes in the Western Atlantic. Primary



Dalhousie University

Nova Scotia Leatherback Turtle Working Group

ongoing x x x××
Identify prey species and assess their spatial and temporal distribution in Canadian waters Primary


Nova Scotia Leatherback Turtle Working Group

Memorial University of Newfoundland

Identify and model oceanographic processes that influence the spatial and temporal leatherback distribution in Canadian waters Secondary


Nova Scotia Leatherback Turtle Working Group

 Dalhousie University

Memorial University of Newfoundland


ongoing x × × × ×

APPENDIX C - Record of Consultations

The leatherback turtle is an aquatic species under the federal jurisdiction of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.  There are few people in Canada with scientific, traditional, or local knowledge of this species as sightings are typically limited to shelf and offshore observations by the fishing industry.

To assist in the development of this Recovery Strategy, DFO brought together a group of experts and representatives from multiple levels of government, including the US National Marine Fisheries Service, environmental non-government organizations, and industry groups.  Specific members and their affiliations can be found on page iv of the preamble to this recovery strategy.

Comments on this strategy were sought from three members of the international scientific community who have expertise on this species.  In addition, Section 9.0 of this strategy was subject to a full peer review through the Canadian Science Advisory process.

The strategy was also reviewed by relevant provincial government Directors from Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland.

Consultation with industry groups that may be affected by this Recovery Strategy occurred at the October 2005 Atlantic Large Pelagic Advisory Committee meeting.  All comments received have been incorporated.

Additional input on this strategy was sought from members of the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs in February 2006.  No specific comments on the Recovery Strategy were received.



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