Quirks & Quarks

Endangered Fish Species Missing the Safety Net

A team of Canadian Scientists has looked at Canada's system for protecting endangered marine species and discovered that almost none is receiving protection despite policies and legal requirements.

Policies not being applied and not working for marine species

Porbeagle Shark - Endangered but not protected (NOAA)
A new report by Canadian scientists says that while Canada has well-intentioned policies for protecting endangered marine species, they simply aren't working. 

Dr. Julia Baum, a marine biologist from the University of Victoria, and her colleagues investigated how the two mechanisms meant to protect marine wildlife, the Species at Risk Act, and Fisheries & Oceans Canada's management plans, were working.  They discovered that they weren't working, thanks to a combination of bureaucratic delays, political indifference and abrogation of legal responsibilities, that left most species effectively unprotected. 

They found that once scientists had determined that species were endangered, there were years of delays before government would decide whether they would be protected under the law.  Frequently that protection would be denied, especially if there was any commercial interest in the species.  And even if they were designated for protection, the required conservation plans were not being made or implemented.

Related Links

- Paper in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries Management
Release from the Ecology Action Centre
CBC News story