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The paddlefish is a freshwater fish and was listed as extirpated under SARA when the Act came into force in June 2003.  The Species at Risk Act (SARA, Section 37) requires the competent minister to prepare recovery strategies for listed extirpated, endangered and threatened species. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Central and Arctic Region, led the development of this recovery strategy. The strategy meets SARA requirements in terms of content and process (Sections 39-41). It was developed in cooperation or consultation with:

  • Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
  • United States Fish and Wildlife Service

Declaration (Recovery Not Feasible)

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

The recovery of paddlefish in Canada has been found to be not technically or biologically feasible at this time. Nevertheless, the species still may be the subject of recovery efforts targeted towards other species in the same geographic area or experiencing similar threats, may benefit from general conservation programs in the same geographic area, and will receive protection through SARA and other federal, and provincial or territorial, legislation, policies, and programs.

The feasibility determination will be re-evaluated as warranted in response to changing conditions and/or knowledge (e.g., better information on the species’ distribution or better threat mitigation techniques). At a minimum, it will be re-evaluated every five years as part of the report on implementation of the recovery strategy.

In the spirit of the 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 paddlefish and Canadian society as a whole. Fisheries and Oceans Canada will endeavor to support implementation of this strategy, given available resources and varying species at risk conservation priorities.

Responsible Jurisdictions

Under the Species at Risk Act, the responsible jurisdiction for paddlefish is Fisheries and Oceans Canada.  Paddlefish used to occur in Ontario, and the government of Ontario cooperated in the production of this recovery strategy


This document was prepared by Scott M. Reid (Trent University), Amy L. Edwards (Fisheries and Oceans Canada Contractor) and Becky Cudmore (Fisheries and Oceans Canada).

Strategic Environmental Assessment Statement

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 recovery 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.

Because the paddlefish is extirpated and recovery has been determined to be not feasible, no further recovery action is considered appropriate at this time.  Accordingly, this recovery strategy will have no effect on the environment.


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:

In the case of an extirpated species for which the recovery strategy does not recommend its reintroduction into the wild in Canada, the prohibition pertaining to the damage or destruction of residence does not apply [SARA S33].