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December 22, 1997
(Forest Resources and Agrifoods)


Public consultation on proposed endangered species legislation

Kevin Aylward, Minister of Forest Resources and Agrifoods, is pleased to announce today the release of a public consultation paper regarding an Endangered Species Act for the province. "It is the intention of this government," said Mr. Aylward, "to consult with the people of Newfoundland and Labrador on their concerns regarding endangered species."

"The proposed legislation will enable the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador to do more to protect endangered species," added Mr. Aylward. "While the Wildlife Act and Regulations provide general protection for wild animals, it does not include plants. Currently there is no act or regulations in this province specifically designed for the protection of species at risk. This new legislation is intended to fill this gap."

Provincial Endangered Species legislation is necessary for the following reasons:

(1) To protect endangered species which presently have no legal protection of any kind.

(2) To strengthen existing protection measures for those endangered species which currently have some protection, however, often it is insufficient to ensure survival of the species, and,

(3) To ensure habitat protection for endangered species. Habitat is crucial for the protection and recovery of endangered species, and this is not adequately protected under current regulations.

The Department of Forest Resources and Agrifoods, however, has been active in taking continued action to protect endangered species within the province. For example, this legislative initiative is headed by the department's endangered species biologist, who is responsible for all activities related to endangered species management and recovery, including the proposed legislation. This fiscal year alone, the department committed more that $120,000 (excluding salaries) to endangered species programs. This money has, in turn, generated another $200,000 in outside funding for endangered species projects. Overall, Newfoundland is among the top provinces providing endangered species funding.

As well, the department has taken action to protect endangered species habitat by creating a wildlife reserve to protect the piping plover, and continues to work with other departments and forest harvesting companies to protect American (pine) marten habitat. Departmental staff actively participate on several endangered species recovery teams for species such as, the pine marten, Piping plover, peregrine falcon, Harlequin duck, Eskimo curlew, and the wolverine. Moreover, the department established, for the first time, a recovery team for a plant species, and is also providing funding assistance for the development of a status report for a rare lichen.

"The proposed legislation will fulfil the province's commitment to the National Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk, signed in Fall 1996," said Mr. Aylward, "The development of this legislation is a priority for this government. We are confident that we will receive constructive comments from the people of this province to move forward in preparing endangered species legislation for Newfoundland and Labrador."

A series of public consultation sessions will be held across the province early in the new year. The time, date, and location of each session will be publicly advertised in advance.

Contact: Joe Brazil, Endangered Species Biologist, (709) 729-3773, e-mail: jbrazil@wild.dnr.gov.nf.ca , Anna Buffinga, Director of Communications, (709) 729-3217, Fax: (709) 729-3374.

NOTE TO EDITORS: A copy of a Public Consultation Paper regarding an Endangered Species Act for the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador can be obtained by calling Communications and Consultation Branch at (709) 729-3610, It is also on the Internet at http://www.gov.nl.ca/forest/species.htm/

1997 12 22 4:00 p.m.

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