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Quebec Bulletin
August-September 2015/Volume 18/Number 4


Listing Species Under the Species at Risk Act: Also a Matter of Economics!

Atlantic Sturgeon
Atlantic sturgeon.

Did you know? Socio-economic factors play a role in the process of listing species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA).

Before deciding whether or not to list a species under SARA, the government is required to assess the potential socio-economic impacts the listing could entail. This requirement stems from the Cabinet Directive on Streamlining Regulation which stipulates that any proposal to amend an act must undergo a cost–benefit analysis in accordance with Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat requirements. Economists are tasked with estimating the scope and distribution of costs and benefits associated with listing a species under SARA. More specifically, these economists identify the affected stakeholders and quantify the effects—both positive and negative—that the listing would have on each stakeholder. For example, the economists will quantify the costs that the private sector would need to absorb to comply with SARA requirements, such as costs associated with closing a commercial fishery or with introducing speed reduction measures for vessels.

As for the economic benefits, these can be estimated, for example, by calculating the amount that Canadians would be willing to pay to implement conservation programs for species at risk. These socio-economic analyses help guide the decision-making process with regard to the listing recommendation; they also guide consultations with stakeholders.

Economists are also called upon at the recovery stage of species at risk. Section 49 of the Species at Risk Act states that an action plan must include an evaluation of the socio-economic costs of its implementation. This evaluation must be updated every five years.

Sarah Larochelle
Strategic Services

Another Step for Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation

Atlantic salmon.
© Dominique Danvoye
Atlantic salmon.

The 32th Annual Meeting of the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) was held in June 2015 in Happy Valley–Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador. Richard Nadeau, Regional Director General for Fisheries and Oceans Canada at the time, served as head of the Canadian delegation.

The Organization achieved many important goals, one of which was for Greenland—which did not have a wild Atlantic salmon fishing quota—to establish a management and control plan. This plan was put in place with a maximum catch quota set at 45 tonnes. For Canada, this quota may be disappointing; but considering the declining salmon stocks in the Atlantic, it is still an improvement over the 58 tonnes of reported catches last year. The meeting also brought about another victory: talks were held with France to have the Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon archipelago join NASCO and set its own fishing quotas as well.

Like many other aquatic resources, the wild Atlantic salmon is a major part of Canada's economy, history and culture. Without losing sight of the socio-economic challenges Greenland is facing, we can be proud of the progress made in recent years for the conservation of this species.

Lucie Milot
Regional Director General’s Office