Kevin Aylward, Minister
Department of Forest Resources and Agrifoods
December 1997



Why We are Concerned

Past and Present Endangered Species Efforts

The Need for Endangered Species Legislation

A National Accord and Our Commitment to Legislation

Public Consultation

Proposed Provisions of the Newfoundland Endangered Species Act

Where will it apply
To whom will it apply
Endangered Species Review Committee
Listing Process
Emergency designations
Critical habitat
Land Management Agreements
Recovery Teams
Recovery Plans and Statements
Management Plans




"The beauty and genius of a work of art may be reconceived, though its first material expression destroyed; a vanished harmony may yet again inspire the composer; but when the last individual of a race of living things breathes no more, another heaven and another earth must pass before such a one can be again."

William Beebe


William Beebe wrote this eulogy almost 100 years ago for the Great Auk, a large flightless seabird which became extirpated in Newfoundland in the early 1800's with the last pair killed off Iceland in 1844. Beebe captured eloquently the finality of extinction. Unfortunately the list of extinct species does not end with the Great Auk. The Labrador Duck, Newfoundland Wolf, Eelgrass Limpet and possibly the Sea Mink are also creatures which once called Newfoundland and Labrador home but now are only to be found in the pages of history books. Extinction has been part of a natural process since life began on this planet. However the rate of extinction has significantly accelerated in recent times with scientists now calculating extinction rates 1,000 to 10,000 times that which would be considered natural. In almost all cases the causes of extinction, particularly in the past several hundred years can be traced back to the actions of one organism, the human species, a fact unparalleled in natural history. Nothing now can be done for these extinct species but something can be done for those species still with us but are at risk of extinction because of our actions. Today we know that plants and animals such as the Newfoundland (Pine) Marten, Wolverine, Harlequin Duck, Piping Plover, Peregrine Falcon and Longs Braya are endangered and require human intervention and protection if they are to survive. We also know that there are probably many other animals and plants which are at risk but have not yet had their status evaluated.



Most Newfoundlanders and Labradorians agree that endangered species must be protected. There are a number of reasons people put forward for supporting protection. We may see the need to maintain species because of benefits to ourselves, we may support the right for all species to exist, we may be concerned with the loss of biodiversity, we may feel a sense of responsibility or we may fear the consequences to the system which supports us all by the loss of even one component of that system. Endangered species often are indicators of an ecosystem=s health. To save and protect the species will often result in the protection of the system as a whole and all those creatures which are dependent upon it.



The Province has been an active participant in endangered species conservation for the past number of years. We have supported the preparation of status reports and recovery plans for species found in this Province. Currently we sit on Recovery Teams for the Wolverine, Piping Plover, Newfoundland Marten, Harlequin Duck, Peregrine Falcon and Eskimo Curlew. We actively participate in national organizations such as the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and the Recovery of Nationally Endangered Wildlife (RENEW) Committee. We also provide input on endangered species issues on the international scene by being involved with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). We have been implementing recovery actions as our resources permit. A Reserve has been established to protect nesting Piping Plovers on Big Barasway beach near Burgeo. Selected areas have been closed to snaring and trapping to protect the endangered Newfoundland Marten and a captive breeding facility has also been established for this species. We monitor Peregrine Falcon populations in Labrador and we are working with Quebec on the recovery of the Wolverine.



There are significant impediments to our ability to adequately protect endangered species. First, there are many species which have no legal protection of any kind such as plants. Second, for those species which do have some form of legal protection we find that the protection is often insufficient. Third, habitat which is crucial for protection and recovery of any endangered species can be protected to a degree under certain Acts and Regulations but not necessarily in a manner which might meet all the needs and requirements for the protection and recovery of that species.



For the past 2 years provinces, territories and the Federal Government have been working towards a national approach for the conservation of species at risk. One of the goals has been to insure that all endangered species in Canada will receive a minimum level of protection. In the fall of 1996, the Province signed the National Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk. Among the provisions of the Accord is an agreement to "establish complementary legislation and programs that provide for effective protection of species at risk throughout Canada." As well the Accord identifies certain minimum provisions which legislation should include. By signing the Accord, Newfoundland has agreed to the development and implementation of endangered species legislation. It is therefore Government's intention to proceed with endangered species legislation at the earliest possible convenience. Provincial legislation will complement Federal legislation currently being developed.



Prior to bringing a Newfoundland Endangered Species Bill before the House of Assembly, Government would like to have the views and opinions of private citizens, groups, organizations and others as to what they think such a Bill should contain. Opinions will be gathered in 2 ways. First, anyone can submit comments in writing to the Endangered Species Biologist. A group of Department officials have been charged with the responsibility of developing the recommended provisions and sections of our endangered species legislation and then working with Legislative Counsel in the drafting of the Act. Comments should be received no later than February 13, 1998. You can address your comments and opinions to:

Mr. Joe Brazil, Endangered Species Biologist
Inland Fish and Wildlife Division
Department of Forest Resources and Agrifoods
P.O. Box, 8700, St. John's
Newfoundland and Labrador
A1B 4J6

Telephone: (709) 729-3773
Fax: (709) 729-4989

Second, a series of public consultation sessions chaired by staff of the Department of Forest Resources and Agrifoods will be announced. The time, date and location of each session will be publicly advertised. Written briefs can be presented at this time and comments will be recorded. The Committee will consider all of the input it receives prior to the final drafting of the Bill.



Government has already given careful consideration as to what it might want to see included in endangered species legislation. A brief description of the main provisions being suggested by Government follow and should help to lead the discussion. Throughout the Act every effort will be made to insure each step in the process is transparent. Status reports, recovery plans, land management agreements, reports and decisions will all be public information. There will also be allowance for public input prior to final status designations or decisions being made.


Application. The Act will apply to all species and ecosystems listed as endangered, threatened, vulnerable or extirpated. Only native species or those species which have been in the province for at least 50 years and have made it here without human intervention will be considered.

Where will it apply. The Act will apply on provincial and private lands.

To whom will it apply. It will apply to all persons, government departments, crown corporations, municipalities and private enterprises.

Endangered Species Scientific Review Committee (ESSRC). A Committee will be established to oversee the preparation and review of status reports. The Committee will make status recommendations to the responsible Minister. The Committee will be composed of respected scientists and wildlife managers who will represent the variety of life found in the province. The Committee will have a majority of members from outside government. In addition to assigning species status the Committee will have a number of other responsibilities including; the development of criteria for status reports, establishing a list of candidate species, commissioning reports and preparing an annual report on the Committee's work.

Listing process. A Provincial list of designated species will be appended to the regulations. Species will be listed 2 ways. Species listed by the national organization COSEWIC, and whose range is wholly or in part in this province will automatically be listed on the provincial list. Species not considered by COSEWIC but of Provincial concern will upon designation by ESSRC and acceptance by Government be placed on the provincial list.

Emergency designations. There will be provision for the Minister to assign status and protection on an emergency basis.

Prohibitions. Persons will be prohibited from killing, injuring, possessing, trafficking or disturbing a vulnerable, threatened or endangered species. Critical habitat and threatened and endangered ecosystems will be protected from disturbance.

Critical habitat. Critical habitat for threatened or endangered species will be identified in status reports, recovery plans or some other appropriate source. The boundaries for such habitat will be identified and gazetted. Regulations identifying prohibitions within critical habitat will be developed and implemented within 6 months to a year.

Fines. Fines of up $50,000 for an individual and $100,000 for a corporation can be assessed by the court. Second or subsequent offences will allow for a doubling of the fine. There will also be provision for jail sentences as well as an allowance for compensation or restoration.

Land Management Agreements. Agreements can be negotiated with private or leasehold landowners who have critical habitat upon their lands. Conditions of the agreement will become regulation for the area in question.

Exemptions. Certain exemptions will be allowed under the Act for scientific research, recovery actions or items identified under land management agreements. All exemptions will have to meet stringent criteria with the short and long term viability of the species not put in jeopardy.

Recovery Teams. These Teams may be formed to prepare Recovery Plans for extirpated, threatened and endangered species and ecosystems. The Teams may consist of managers, scientists and stakeholders who have an interest in the recovery of a species. Recovery Teams will also monitor the progress of recovery actions.

Recovery Plans/Response Statements. Recovery Plans may be developed for extirpated, threatened or endangered species, or threatened or endangered ecosystems and will be prepared within 1 year of listing for endangered species and 2 years for threatened species. Recovery Plans will be prepared in a prescribed format and will have to address key issues affecting the listed species, provide achievable objectives, describe specific research and management activities, and identify other actions necessary for the recovery of the species. In some instances a full recovery plan may not be required, however a Response Statement as to what Government's plans are for the listed species will be necessary.

Management Plans. These plans will be required for species listed as vulnerable. They will be prepared by the appropriate management agency within a prescribed time period.

We look forward to your comments, suggestions and opinions. We all share in the responsibility for protecting our endangered species and so we should also share in the developing of the tools to do the job.



COSEWIC Committee on the Status of Endangered Species in Canada

Critical Habitat means habitat that is identified as critical to the survival of a wildlife species in a status report, recovery plan or as identified by the Minister responsible for species at risk

Ecosystem a dynamic complex of plants, animals and micro-organisms and their non-living environment interacting as a functional unit

Endangered a species facing imminent extirpation or extinction

ESSRC Endangered Species Scientific Review Committee. An independent body of scientists responsible for status assignment for species of concern

Extinct A species that no longer exists

Extirpated A species no longer existing in the wild in Newfoundland but occurring elsewhere

Minister means the Minister responsible for Wildlife

Species a species, subspecies or geographically distinct population of animal, plant or other organism that is wild by nature and;

(a) native to Newfoundland
(b) has experienced a natural range extension into Newfoundland and existed here for at least 50 years and is vulnerable, threatened or endangered elsewhere or has undergone significant genetic variation

Threatened a species likely to become endangered if limiting factors are not reversed

Vulnerable a species of special concern because of characteristics that make it particularly sensitive to human activities or natural events

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