Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

May 16, 2016 14:16 ET

Taking Action to Protect Species at Risk

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 16, 2016) - Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Hunter Tootoo is taking action to protect five aquatic species at risk and the habitats critical for their survival or recovery. This is a significant advance for species at risk and underscores the government's commitment to listen to the advice of scientists.

To protect the critical habitat of five species - including the beluga population of the St. Lawrence Estuary - Minister Tootoo has signed Critical Habitat Orders under the Species at Risk Act. Other species receiving protection are the North Atlantic right whale, nooksack dace, northern madtom, and four populations of white sturgeon.

A Critical Habitat Order focuses on specific geographic locations essential for the survival of the species, such as where they give birth, hatch, feed or raise their young. The Order does not mean that no human activities can be carried out in the critical habitat. However activities must be assessed on a case-by-case basis to ensure that they will not lead to the destruction of the habitat and require authorization before going ahead.

The Critical Habitat Orders for the two whale populations will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, on May 14, 2016. The public will have 30 days to comment before the Orders are enacted and published in Part II of the Canada Gazette. Protecting the critical habitat of the other three species has already been the subject of public consultation and will be enacted and published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, on May 18, 2016.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada will release more than 50 recovery strategies, management plans and action plans for protecting species at risk in the coming months. Recovery documents are developed in cooperation with experts from universities, conservation groups, Indigenous groups, industry, and government.

Quick Facts

  • The Canada Gazette is the official newspaper of the Government of Canada. Through the Canada Gazette, Part I, the Government includes Canadians in the regulatory process. All Canadians have a chance to submit their comments to the relevant government department or agency responsible for proposed regulations, before they are enacted and published in Part II. This is called the consultation process.
  • Part II contains all regulations that have been enacted as well as statutory instruments and other documents, such as orders in council, orders and proclamations.


"Our government is taking action to protect species at risk and ensure our ecosystems remain healthy for current and future generations. We base our decisions on the best available science as well as consultations with indigenous peoples and all stakeholders. By working together, we can protect and begin the recovery of species at risk while also improving our rich and diverse marine environment."

- Hunter Tootoo, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Associated Links

- Canada Gazette website

- Learn more about aquatic species at risk

- Learn more about the Species at Risk Public Registry

- Learn more about the St. Lawrence Estuary beluga

- Learn more about the North Atlantic right whale

- Learn more about the nooksack dace

- Learn more about the northern madtom

- Learn more about the white sturgeon

- Learn more about the recovery document posting plan


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Contact Information

  • Media Relations
    Fisheries and Oceans Canada

    Patricia Bell
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Minister
    Fisheries and Oceans Canada