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News Article | September 14, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

TORONTO, Sept. 14, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Canada’s wildlife are in trouble, and those species that are declining are suffering deep losses, new research from WWF-Canada shows. The Living Planet Report Canada, published today, is the most comprehensive synthesis of Canadian wildlife population trends ever conducted. It shows that on average from 1970 to 2014, half of monitored vertebrate wildlife species in the study suffered population declines. Of those, average decline is 83 per cent since 1970. The picture is also worrisome for Canada’s federally protected species. Since 2002, when the Species at Risk Act became law, federally listed at-risk wildlife populations declined by 28 per cent, the report shows. Even with protections, the rate of decline for protected at-risk wildlife appears to be increasing to 2.7 per cent per year, compared with 1.7 per cent per year in the period 1970 to 2002. WHAT IS THE LIVING PLANET INDEX? Much like a stock market index measures economic performance, a Living Planet Index measures ecological performance using wildlife population trends over time. It is created by synthesizing records of population size for a variety of monitored vertebrate species to report relative change, on average, over time. Habitat loss and fragmentation, climate change, pollution, unsustainable harvest and invasive species are the key contributors to wildlife decline. Together, effects of these stressors are cumulative (simultaneous and additive) and cascading (changes in one species triggers changes in another). In early 2018, WWF-Canada will convene a National Summit to Reverse the Decline of Wildlife to bring together community groups, academics and researchers, governments, Indigenous organizations, industry leaders, financial organizations, the arts community, international guests and others to combat wildlife loss in Canada. “The closer we looked, the more we realized wildlife loss isn’t some other country’s problem. It’s a Canadian problem. It’s a problem we can all work to solve together. Stopping wildlife loss in Canada will take commitment from individuals, industry, communities and all levels of government. People do have the power to make a difference by becoming citizen scientists, restoring habitat, embracing a low-carbon lifestyle and supporting the decisions that government, industry and communities need to make. By taking action we can, collectively, ensure more wildlife don’t land on the at-risk list in the first place.” James Snider, WWF-Canada vice-president of science, research and innovation, WWF-Canada, says: “As human interactions transform the natural world, biological diversity is undergoing significant declines. Tackling wildlife conservation in the face of increasing development pressures and climate change requires comprehensive data. We can’t measure the impact of stressors, and the success of protection efforts, if we don’t know what’s happening with wildlife populations now. We need a systematically designed monitoring system and the means to respond effectively to the findings. The framework can be created collectively by communities, research institutions, environmental groups and governments, and then populated with data collected by citizen scientists, community groups and researchers from coast to coast to coast. We also need to be willing to embrace new technologies like environmental DNA that make it so much easier for more Canadians to get involved in collecting data. “All of this is even more important considering the increasing and accelerating impacts of climate change. When you consider that the two ecosystems in Canada that are the least well-studied – freshwater and Arctic – are also the two areas climate change is expected to alter the most dramatically, the need becomes even more urgent.” Living Planet Report Canada is generously supported by the Patrick and Barbara Keenan Foundation WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more information, visit wwf.ca. A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/56d78560-4d34-42b5-9c55-68110122961b


Rangeley R.W.,WWF Canada | Davies R.W.D.,WWF International
Marine Policy | Year: 2012

Long-term investment to drive the adoption of precautionary, adaptive and resilience-building fisheries management measures is urgently required, especially given the financially difficult transition period to reach sustainable fisheries. In this paper a case for investing in the recovery of large marine ecosystems is provided based on the future value of recovered fish stocks. It is argued that the current market-based sustainable seafood movement alone will not affect the scale of change needed and must be complemented by investment in fundamental conservation measures that will lead to the recovery of marine ecosystems and promote long-term sustainable use. A rationale for addressing the economically challenging transition period is provided and the basis of a new financial institution to finance the measures necessary for realising the economic, social and environmental benefits of large-scale fisheries reform is proposed. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Drever C.R.,06 250 City Center Ave | Snider J.,WWF Canada | Drever M.C.,University of British Columbia
Canadian Journal of Forest Research | Year: 2010

Our objective was to assess the relative rarity and representation within protected areas of Standard Forest Units (SFUs) in northeastern Ontario by applying the concepts of geographic range, habitat specificity, and local population size. SFUs are stand type classifications, routinely employed by forest managers, based on tree composition, disturbance history, and prescribed silvicultural system. We identified several SFUs as rare because of a narrow distribution, association with only one landform type, or lack of at least one stand larger than an ecoregion-specific threshold. In the Boreal forest, rare SFUs comprised stands dominated by eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis (L.) Carrière), red oak (Quercus rubra L.), yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis Britt.), or eastern white-cedar (Thuja occidentalis L.). Rare SFUs also included eastern white pine (Pinus strobus L.) and (or) red pine (Pinus resinosa Ait.) leading stands managed by shelterwood or seed tree silviculture as well as low-lying deciduous stands and selection-managed stands of shade-tolerant species. In the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence forest, rare SFUs were yellow birch stands, stands dominated by conifer species abundant in the Boreal, and shelterwood-managed hardwood stands. Several rare SFUs had <12% of their total area in protection, i.e., stands dominated by eastern white pine, yellow birch, eastern white pine-red oak, or eastern white-cedar. These rare stand types require increased protection in reserves and tailored silvicultural practices to maintain their probability of persistence.


Davies R.W.D.,WWF International | Rangeley R.,WWF Canada
Marine Policy | Year: 2010

Demand for wild (non-farmed) seafood is increasingly reliant upon a natural capital base that is rapidly diminishing. Despite this, studies show that changes in management could increase fisheries' profitability whilst also protecting fish stocks. This premise is approached by looking specifically at north Atlantic cod-a species that has collapsed in many regions but with evidence to suggest it has the biological potential to recover, despite concerns about altered ecological niches and changing oceanic conditions. The key issue is how the potential economic benefits of cod recovery can provide the fishing sector with incentives for change and how these can be translated into a case for investment, given the financially difficult transition period that currently inhibits fisheries reform. In examining this, the paper concludes that repayable financial investments and rights-based management, tailored to local situations, are required to create resilient and diverse ecosystems that underpin improved seafood economies. It is essential, however, that management and policy solutions adopt a holistic ecosystem-based management approach. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Ban N.C.,Fisheries Center | Ban N.C.,James Cook University | Alidina H.M.,WWF Canada | Ardron J.A.,Pacific Marine Analysis and Research Association
Marine Policy | Year: 2010

Analysis of cumulative human impacts in the marine environment is still in its infancy but developing rapidly. In this study, existing approaches were expanded upon, aiming for a realistic consideration of cumulative impacts at a regional scale. Thirty-eight human activities were considered, with each broken down according to stressor types and a range of spatial influences. To add to the policy relevance, existing stressors within and outside of conservation areas were compared. Results indicate the entire continental shelf of Canada's Pacific marine waters is affected by multiple human activities at some level. Commercial fishing, land-based activities and marine transportation accounted for 57.0%, 19.1%, and 17.7% of total cumulative impacts, respectively. Surprisingly, most areas with conservation designations contained higher impact scores than the mean values of their corresponding ecoregions. Despite recent advances in mapping cumulative impacts, many limitations remain. Nonetheless, preliminary analyses such as these can provide information relevant to precautionary management and conservation efforts. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.


Fuentes M.M.P.B.,James Cook University | Fish M.R.,WWF Canada | Maynard J.A.,University of Melbourne
Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change | Year: 2012

Climate change poses a serious threat to sea turtles (Cheloniidae) as their terrestrial reproductive phase is only successful within a limited range of environmental and physical conditions. These conditions are likely to become less optimal as climate change progresses. To date, management and conservation of sea turtles has focused almost entirely on non-climatic stressors, due at least in part to practitioners not knowing what strategies to take and the feasibility and risks of potential strategies. To aid the management of sea turtles in a changing environment, we identified management strategies via a focus workshop and surveys to mitigate the impacts of climate change to the terrestrial reproductive phase of sea turtles. The effectiveness, ecological risks and potential social and logistical constraints associated with implementing each of the identified management strategies is discussed. Twenty management strategies were identified; strategies varied from habitat protection to more active and direct manipulation of nests and the nesting environment. Based on our results, we suggest a three-pronged approach to sea turtle conservation in light of climate change, where managers and researchers should: 1) enhance sea turtle resilience to climate change by mitigating other threats; 2) prioritise implementing the 'no regret' and 'reversible' management strategies identified here; and 3) fill the knowledge gaps identified to aid the trial and implementation of the potential strategies identified here. By combining these three approaches our collective toolkit of sea turtle management strategies will expand, giving us an array of viable approaches to implement as climate change impacts become more extreme. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


Godin A.C.,Dalhousie University | Wimmer T.,WWF Canada | Wang J.H.,University of Hawaii at Manoa | Worm B.,Dalhousie University
Fisheries Research | Year: 2013

The indiscriminate capture of non-target organisms (bycatch) in commercial fisheries undermines the sustainable development of marine resources. In the Northwest Atlantic, blue sharks (Prionace glauca) account for most of the bycatch in the Canadian pelagic longline swordfish fishery. Minimizing the capture of this species is of interest to conservationists as well as the fishing industry because the high incidence of shark bycatch negatively affects fishing operations through bait loss and increased handling time. Electropositive metals (e.g., lanthanide) oxidize in seawater and create electric fields, which can alter the swimming and feeding behaviors of several species of sharks. Although electropositive metals appear to have the potential to reduce shark bycatch in pelagic longline fisheries, there have not been any controlled trials reported from a commercial fishery. A total of 7 sets (6300 hooks) with 3 hook treatments (standard hooks, hooks with electropositive metals (neodymium/praseodymium), and hooks with lead weights) were deployed in 2011 on the Scotian Shelf in the Northwest Atlantic. The results of this study show that electropositive metals did not reduce the catch of blue sharks or other common shark bycatch species, and hence do not present a practical bycatch mitigation measure for the Canadian longline fishery. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.


Hutchings J.A.,Dalhousie University | Rangeley R.W.,WWF Canada
Canadian Journal of Zoology | Year: 2011

The collapse of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua L., 1758) in the early 1990s, perhaps the greatest numerical loss of a Canadian vertebrate (1.5-2.5 billion reproductive individuals), is one from which the species has yet to recover. Populations, or stocks, are at or well below their conservation reference points. The lack of recovery has been linked to ongoing fishing mortality (targeted, bycatch), changes to life history (reductions in age and size at maturity, truncations in age and size structure), and increased natural mortality. Emergent and demographic Allee effects, coupled with altered interspecific interactions, render questionable the presumption that the recovery of heavily depleted populations can be reliably forecasted by population dynamical behaviour during decline. Contrary to international commitments and inconsistent with fishery rebuilding plans elsewhere, cod recovery plans exclude target and limit reference points, recovery timelines, and harvest control rules. We suggest that the long-term biodiversity, social, and economic benefits associated with cod recovery can be realised by novel changes, including quantitatively responsible recovery plans based on science-determined reference points, new or revised legislation, integrated management strategies, strengthened sustainable seafood certification practices, expansion of marine spatial planning and protected areas, and novel financial incentives for investment in long-term, sustainable fisheries.


OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - 12 déc. 2016) - Dans une déclaration commune publiée aujourd'hui, 27 chefs de file canadiens de la société civile ont félicité les premiers ministres du Canada pour l'élaboration d'un Cadre pancanadien sur la croissance propre et le changement climatique. Ce plan historique a été annoncé à la suite de la réunion des premiers ministres tenue vendredi dernier. Les chefs de file de cette déclaration commune sont membres de l'Initiative pour l'IntelliProspérité. Ils représentent divers secteurs et circonscriptions à travers le pays, incluant par exemple, les Compagnies Loblaw, la Banque Royale du Canada, Shell Canada, Unilever Inc, le Syndicat des Métallos, WWF Canada et l'Association canadienne de l'aluminium. Texte de leur déclaration : Nous voulons féliciter les premiers ministres pour la réalisation d'un plan national visant à promouvoir une croissance propre et à faire des progrès réels en matière de changements climatiques. Ce plan inclut les éléments clés nécessaires pour le faire, notamment une hausse du prix du carbone, des normes internationales pour l'énergie propre et l'efficacité énergétique, ainsi que des investissements importants dans les infrastructures propres telles que les bâtiments, les transports et les systèmes énergétiques. Le passage à une économie performante par un faible taux de carbone est en cours partout au Canada et ailleurs dans le monde, offrant d'excellentes possibilités à toutes les parties de l'économie. Ce genre de leadership coordonné par les gouvernements est essentiel pour accélérer notre progrès et nous aider à suivre le rythme des leaders mondiaux, en catalysant l'initiative privée et l'innovation à travers le pays. Ce plan définit la bonne direction. Le prochain défi est de transformer ces engagements en actions. Cela exigera une conception intelligente des politiques et une mise en œuvre efficace - pour inciter le Canada à respecter ses engagements climatiques mondiaux et stimuler une croissance propre en économie tout en aidant les populations vulnérables à s'adapter afin de permettre aux entreprises de rester concurrentielles à l'échelle mondiale. Nous offrons notre soutien total afin d'aider le Canada à saisir cette opportunité économique et environnementale de première nécessité. Nous nous engageons à montrer l'exemple dans nos propres organisations et réseaux. L'Initiative pour l'IntelliProspérité a été lancée par des chefs de file canadiens respectés issus des milieux d'affaires, des groupes de réflexion, des syndicats, des peuples autochtones, des jeunes et des ONG. Notre objectif : Accroître la réflexion pour accélérer la transition du Canada vers une économie plus performante et plus propre. www.intelliprosperite.ca


News Article | January 10, 2013
Site: www.theguardian.com

A dozen killer whales, trapped and facing near-certain death in the frozen expanse of Canada's Hudson Bay, broke free on Thursday morning, to the vast relief of locals and many thousands monitoring their plight online. Pictures of the whales clustered around a 10-foot hole in the ice that was their last source of oxygen had set off a desperate search for rescue options. The authorities in Inukjuak, a village of around 1,800 in northern Quebec, posted video of the distressed orcas on YouTube and Facebook on Wednesday in a bid to get the Canadian government to intervene. By Thursday morning, however, hunters from the nearby hamlet of Inukjuak reported that changing weather conditions had broken up the ice, and the whales had swum free. "They are free, they are gone," Johnny Williams, the town manager, said in a telephone interview. "Last night, the winds shifted from the north. The ice cracked and with the new moon, the ice went. We have open waters on the coastline of Hudson Bay." He said the whales' escape was a huge relief for Inukjuak. Over the last few days, 80 people at a time had gone out on the ice to watch the whales. "We were all trying to find out how we can save them," he said. "We observed the wind, the moon, everything." The whales' escape was cause for celebration elsewhere in Canada, where there had been a desperate campaign to push the government to send in ice-breaking ships to crack open the ice and help the animals find open water. Stranding of killer whales in Arctic ice is relatively unheard of. Williams, who is 69, said in his lifetime he had only ever seen two or three carcasses of orcas before this week. But marine biologists say killer whales are moving into the Arctic in greater numbers over the last decade as the sea ice retreats due to climate change. Orcas face no natural predators in the Arctic, putting them at the top of the food chain. The whales spend the summers in the Arctic, feasting on seals and narwhal and beluga whales. By the time the ice freezes, in November or December, they are miles away. A killer whale once tagged near Baffin Island had made it as far as the Azores by winter. This year, however, the freeze came later, after the new year, and the whales were trapped. "The general picture is that most of the marine animals that can't maintain a hole in the ice move out," said Pete Ewins, a senior officer in the Arctic programme for WWF Canada. "Perhaps a less experienced pod made a mistake." The Canadian government sent two technicians up to Inukjuak on Thursday morning to brief locals on the very limited list of options for the trapped mammals – none of which were very hopeful of the whales' survival. Had the weather not intervened, it is likely the whales would have suffocated beneath the sea ice, or endured slow starvation until the break-up of the ice next May. Ewins said there were few good options for the stranded whales. Ice breakers, as demanded by the mayor of Inukjuak, were too far away from the remote region. Noise of their approach could scare off the whales, he said. There were only two humane options, he said, which were to fly the whales out by giant helicopters – which would be prohibitive in the Arctic – or install equipment to keep the water moving and ice-free. "The only option would be to put in bubbling equipment to keep enough open water and hope that the whales have enough fat deposits to keep them through to May," he said. In previous incidents of stranding of belugas, narwhals or other whales that are common in the Arctic, the authorities have resorted to killing the animals outright, to avoid slow starvation and painful death, he said. In the event, however, nature took its course, freeing the whales before the list of bad options had to be explored. "I am just very glad," said Megan Epoo, whose elderly uncle was the hunter who originally spotted the stranded whales. "The men here had announced they were going to try and make the breathing hole bigger, and remove the ice from the side of the hole, and that would have been very dangerous. So we were all very worried that something bad would happen," she said. "But now nobody has to do anything because the whales are free."

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