In 2002, the Government of Canada passed the Species at Risk Act (SARA) to prevent the extinction of wildlife species in Canada by protecting endangered or threatened species, such as some Pacific salmon, and their habitat. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) is the independent body of experts and scientists assigned to identify at-risk species or populations and assess their conservation status. If any Pacific salmon are assessed as Endangered or Threatened by COSEWIC, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) must undertake a Recovery Potential Assessment and create a recovery plan to protect the salmon from further decline and extinction.
The shortage of easily accessible and detailed information on the status of salmon populations and threats to their habitat can undermine conservation efforts under SARA and slow down progress to protect at-risk salmon populations and plan their recovery. To help address these issues, the Pacific Salmon Foundation, in collaboration with COSEWIC and DFO, is pursuing the following activities to support SARA in its protection of Pacific salmon:
- Assist the identification and prioritization of salmon populations to undergo assessment by COSEWIC.
- Support DFO’s Recovery Potential Assessments of salmon by assisting in identifying current and future threats, developing information synthesis documents, and advancing the application and utility of our online data visualization tool called the Pacific Salmon Explorer in this process
- Work with DFO’s Species at Risk Program Salmon team to explore the application and modification of the Pacific Salmon Explorer to better to support their work.
- Make relevant data readily accessible to these processes through the Salmon Watersheds Program Data Library, PSF’s online public database.
- More efficient science-based processes to protect Pacific salmon under the Species at Risk Act
- Improve information available to SARA processes, decision-makers, and recovery planners to inform salmon conservation actions, such as future vulnerabilities to climate change
- Provide public access to data and information used in SARA processes through the Pacific Salmon Explorer and Salmon Watersheds Program Data Library