Order Giving Notice of Decisions not to add Certain Species to the List of Endangered Species

Vol. 141, No. 26 — December 26, 2007

Registration
SI/2007-115 December 26, 2007

SPECIES AT RISK ACT

Order Giving Notice of Decisions not to add Certain Species to the List of Endangered Species

P.C. 2007-1912 December 13, 2007

Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, pursuant to subsections 27(1.1) and (1.2) of the Species at Risk Act (see footnote a)("the Act"), hereby

(a) decides not to add the Bering cisco (Coregonus laurettae) and the black redhorse (Moxostoma duquesnei) to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk ("the List") set out in Schedule 1 to the Act;

(b) refers the assessment for the ghost antler (Pseudevernia cladonia) back to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) for further information and consideration;

(c) approves that the Minister of the Environment include in the public registry established under section 120 (see footnote b) of the Act the statement that is attached as Annex 1 to this Order and that sets out the reasons for not adding the Bering cisco (Coregonus laurettae) and the black redhorse (Moxostoma duquesnei) to the List; and

(d) approves that the Minister of the Environment include in the public registry the statement that is attached as Annex 2 to this Order and that sets out the reasons for referring the assessment for the ghost antler (Pseudevernia cladonia) back to COSEWIC for further information and consideration.

ANNEX 1

STATEMENT SETTING OUT THE REASONS FOR NOT ADDING THE BERING CISCO (COREGONUS LAURETTAE) AND THE BLACK REDHORSE (MOXOSTOMA DUQUESNEI) TO THE LIST

Bering cisco (Coregonus laurettae)

The Minister of the Environment has recommended that the Bering cisco not be added to the List.

The Bering cisco is a trout-like, presumably anadromous, fish with extensive spawning migrations into the upper reaches of large rivers that flow into the Beaufort, Bering, and Chukchi seas. In North America, Bering cisco are more commonly encountered in coastal regions of Alaska, although some migrants in the Yukon River reach Canadian waters with sporadic observations of them as far upstream as Dawson City. Bering cisco have been observed in Canadian portions of the Yukon River but to date there has been little research, assessment, or management activities associated with the species. No life history information is available on Bering cisco that migrate into Canada, although inferences may be made from information collected in Alaska. It is currently unknown if the presence of Bering cisco in Canada is associated with spawning migrations, as spawning locations for this species have not been identified in Canada and fish have not been sampled for maturity.

COSEWIC considered the Bering cisco as Data Deficient in April 1990. Subsequently, the species was reassessed and designated Special Concern by COSEWIC in November 2004 on the basis of an updated status report. COSEWIC has identified potential threats to Bering cisco posed by incidental fishing, changing marine conditions, and habitat degradation.

The lack of baseline data for this species in Canada creates significant uncertainty with respect to identifying limiting factors and threats. The potential threats identified in the status report are not currently expected to impact this species. For example, COSEWIC has identified that hydroelectric development may be a threat in the future. However, no new sites have been identified in the Yukon Energy Corporation 20-year plan. Therefore, no new impediments to upstream migration are likely. With respect to by-catch, while this species might be taken rarely as by-catch during fall chum fisheries, no incidental catch in Canadian fisheries has been confirmed.

Consultations on whether or not to list this species under the Act revealed opposition against listing. The Yukon Government, First Nations and the Yukon Salmon Committee have all recommended against listing this species as Special Concern under the Act. The rationale of those consulted for not listing includes the lack of information on Bering cisco in Canada, that there is an abundant population in the Yukon River in Alaska, and that the species is not under any human threat at this time.

In the future, management measures will include an attempt to develop baseline information for this species within the upper Yukon River drainage. This will involve the collection and "keying" of whitefish caught incidentally in fish wheels operated in the Yukon River by Fisheries and Oceans Canada at the Canada/ United States border during the annual salmon tagging program. There has also been an effort to solicit public interest and assistance in locating possible spawning areas in Canada through the website of the Yukon Salmon Committee.

Black redhorse (Moxostoma duquesnei)

The Minister of the Environment has recommended that the black redhorse not be added to the List at this time.

It is a small freshwater sucker-type fish that inhabits pools and riffle areas of large streams and rivers with relatively cool, swiftly moving water. This species is very vulnerable to siltation, favours stream bottoms of gravel, sand or bedrock, and prefers well oxygenated shallow waters.

Although more widely distributed south of the Canada/United States border, the black redhorse is rare over its entire range in north central North America. Canadian populations are found in only five southwestern Ontario watersheds, including in heavily urbanized regions as well as in areas impacted by agriculture. Black redhorse occurs in the drainages of Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair, Lake Huron, and western Lake Ontario.

COSEWIC designated the black redhorse as Threatened in April 1988 and subsequently confirmed this status in May 2005. COSEWIC has identified the probable cause for the decline of this species as habitat alteration resulting from urban development, dams and impoundments, and agricultural activities. COSEWIC also identified the recreational fishery in the Grand River as a threat to the species, one which is expected to increase with urban growth. Currently, black redhorse can be caught as sportfish or baitfish under the Ontario Fishery Regulations, 1989 pursuant to the Fisheries Act, and the species may be caught as by-catch in Aboriginal subsistence fisheries.

If black redhorse were added as Threatened to Schedule 1 to the Act, automatic prohibitions would be in place to protect the species and its residence from known threats including fishing, agricultural activities, urbanization, and other threats to the species' habitat. Scientific analysis to determine whether the activities could be allowed to continue without jeopardizing recovery or survival is underway. When this work is finished, an analysis of the socio-economic effect of adding the black redhorse as Threatened to Schedule 1 to the Act on Aboriginal peoples, affected industry groups, and other Canadians will be completed. As the socio-economic information is necessary to make an informed decision on whether or not to list a species under the Act, the Minister of the Environment has recommended that the black redhorse not be added to Schedule 1 to the Act at this time. The Minister may reconsider the matter after this analysis has been completed.

ANNEX 2

STATEMENT SETTING OUT THE REASONS FOR REFERRING THE ASSESSMENT FOR THE GHOST ANTLER (PSEUDEVERNIA CLADONIA) BACK TO COSEWIC FOR FURTHER INFORMATION AND CONSIDERATION

Ghost antler (Pseudevernia cladonia)

Assessments may be referred back to COSEWIC for further information and consideration if new information has become available, existing information (Aboriginal traditional knowledge and community knowledge) was not considered, or it is unclear to what species, populations, or individuals a status designation applies.

The assessment for the ghost antler (Pseudevernia cladonia), a lichen, is being referred back to COSEWIC as a result of significant new information on the population of the species that was not available at the time of the species assessment. Following receipt by the Governor in Council of the Status Report for ghost antler from COSEWIC, the Government of New Brunswick notified Environment Canada of the discovery of over a million individuals of ghost antler lichen at a previously unsurveyed location. The Minister is referring the assessment for the ghost antler back to COSEWIC in order for this new information to be considered in the assessment of the status of the species.

EXPLANATORY NOTE

(This note is not part of the Order.)

On April 26, 2007, the Governor in Council (GIC) acknowledged receipt, from the Minister of the Environment, of the assessments of 40 species. This initiated a nine-month period for consultations regarding the listing of those species and the GIC decision on whether or not to add those species to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk (the List) set out in Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act (the Act) or to refer the matter back to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) for further information or consideration. That nine-month period ends on January 26, 2008.

A proposed Order and a Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement was published in Part I of the Canada Gazette on August 11, 2007, recommending the listing of 36 of the 40 species assessed by COSEWIC and the reclassification of one listed species. The Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement explained that the Governor in Council was proposing not to add the Bering cisco and the black redhorse to the List. In addition, the Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement indicated that the assessment of the ghost antler would be referred back to COSEWIC for further consideration.

By way of this Order, the Governor in Council confirms its decision, under subsection 27(1.1) of the Act, to not add Bering cisco and black redhorse to Schedule 1 and to refer the assessment of the ghost antler back to COSEWIC for further information or consideration.

The decision not to add the Bering cisco and the black redhorse to the List was made on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, in consultation with the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, taking into account the assessments provided by COSEWIC. The decision was informed by responses received during consultations with the provincial governments, stakeholder groups, the industry and Aboriginal peoples and by comments received during the 30-day public consultation period following the prepublication of the proposed Order.

The decision of the Governor in Council to refer the assessment of the ghost antler back to COSEWIC for further information or consideration was based on the Minister of the Environment's recommendation that COSEWIC re-examine the status as new information regarding the species' population has been discovered that was not available at the time of the assessment.

The GIC also approves that the Minister of the Environment include a statement in the public registry setting out the reasons, under subsection 27(1.2) of the Act, for the decision not to add the Bering cisco and the black redhorse to the List and to refer the assessment of the ghost antler back to COSEWIC. Those reasons are set out in Annexes 1 and 2 to this Order and will be posted on the Web site of the public registry established under the Species at Risk Act (www.sararegistry.gc.ca).

Footnote a

S.C. 2002, c. 29

Footnote b

S.C. 2002, c. 29