The Government of Canada is working with partners to protect aquatic species at risk in Atlantic Canada

·9-min read

DARTMOUTH, NS, Nov. 25, 2020 /CNW/ - The health of our marine and freshwater environment and the wildlife it sustains are critical to our country's culture, well-being, and the economy. Yet some of the species that find their home in the waters, rivers, lakes, estuaries, and marshes in Atlantic Canada are at risk due to climate change, habitat loss and other factors. The Government of Canada is taking action not only to protect these species, but to actively rebuild their populations.

Today, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, announced up to $12.1 million in funding under the Canada Nature Fund for Aquatic Species at Risk for 13 projects in Atlantic Canada, some of which are already underway.

The projects include:

  • The Nova Scotia Salmon Association will receive up to $2,916,491 to conduct conservation planning for priority watersheds within the Southern Uplands region of Nova Scotia to address threats that are common to multiple species at risk, as well as to implement restoration activities to support improvement of aquatic habitats.

  • The North Shore MicMac District Council-Anqotum Resource Management will receive up to $725,150 over four years to carry out a project in the Miramichi River system to enhance cold-water habitats to serve as refuges for Atlantic Salmon, and for other native species such as Brook Trout.

  • World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Canada in Newfoundland and Labrador will work with harvesters to reduce fishing mortality of Golden cod, a genetically distinct Atlantic cod population found in the Gilbert Bay Marine Protected Area. This project will receive up to $368,180.

Through this fund, established under the Nature Legacy initiative, the Government of Canada is helping to build a culture of conservation that empowers Canadian organizations to work together to protect our natural environments. This fund is taking an ecosystem approach to restoring and protecting aquatic species. Instead of targeting specific species, these projects aim to improve a priority place or a priority threat. This broader approach looks at improving the entire ecosystem – from the specific species at risk, the habitat they call home, as well as other species in the area.

The Government of Canada established the historic $1.3 billion Nature Legacy Initiative in Budget 2018. The five-year, $55 million Canada Nature Fund for Aquatic Species at Risk supports a new approach to the conservation of aquatic species through targeted federal investments in priority places and to address priority threats to aquatic species at risk. The Fund makes it possible to support protection and recovery efforts by all partners, and support Indigenous capacity to conserve aquatic ecosystems and species.

Quotes

"As Atlantic Canadians, our economy and our culture is tied to our oceans, lakes and waterways. I'm proud to be part of government that's taking strong, consistent action to protect our aquatic ecosystems and the lifeforms they sustain. With the Canada Nature Fund for Aquatic Species at Risk, we are taking a distinct, strategic approach by targeting regions, rather than individual species. Working with conservation experts on the ground, we're investing in projects that have the greatest potential to make a lasting impact on our natural environments here in Atlantic Canada, and across the country."

The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Quick Facts

  • Projects funded under the Canada Nature Fund for Aquatic Species at Risk focus on two marine priority threats and seven priority areas.

  • The two marine priority threats are:

  • The seven freshwater priority areas are:

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Canada Nature Fund for Aquatic Species at Risk-
Projects in Atlantic Provinces

Backgrounder

As a part of this announcement there are 13 projects in Atlantic Canada that will receive funding under the Canada Nature Fund for Aquatic Species at Risk.

New Brunswick

Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence Rivers Priority Area

  • The North Shore MicMac District Council-Anqotum Resource Management will receive up to $725,150. The Council and its partners, the Miramichi Salmon Association, the Atlantic Salmon Federation and the University of New Brunswick will carry out a project in the Miramichi River system to enhance cold-water habitats to serve as refuges for Atlantic Salmon, Brook Floater and for other native species such as Brook Trout. Refuge sites will be identified and modified physically to ensure sustainable, long-term benefits to aquatic species at risk in the Miramichi River system. The project will also include monitoring control measures for aquatic invasive species. Indigenous participants will receive training carrying out surveys as well as monitoring. Activities will include redirecting cold water sources towards salmon pools and deeper parts of the river, increasing water depth and preventing entry of warmer water into the river.

  • The Gespe'gewaq Mi'gmaq Resource Council will receive up to $661,600 to identify and restore priority habitat for Atlantic Salmon, Atlantic Sturgeon and American Eel in the Restigouche watershed. The activities include collecting Indigenous Knowledge, collaborative planning sessions between partners to co-develop a habitat restoration framework, prioritization of restoration efforts using a model with specialized technology (LiDAR data) and restoration work.

  • The Canadian Rivers Institute at the University of New Brunswick will receive up to $473,000 to work in collaboration with the Atlantic Salmon Federation, Anqotum Resource Management Inc and the Ocean Tracking Network for projects in the Miramichi River and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence area. The group will examine potential effects of Striped Bass predation on American Eel and Atlantic Salmon. This project will contribute to the building of relationships among partners including the Mi'kmaq of New Brunswick.

  • The Maliseet Nation Conservation Council will receive up to $896,500 for projects that will improve freshwater fish habitat for the Atlantic Salmon, American Eel and Striped Bass within the Wolastoq (St. John River) watershed, N.B. through the removal of barriers to fish passage and restoration of deteriorated habitat.

Bay of Fundy and Southern Uplands Watersheds Priority Area

  • The World Wildlife Fund Canada will receive up to $746,320 to facilitate a Priority Threat Management (PTM) analysis for the Saint John River watershed. This work will contribute to improvements in the populations of at risk species, as well as proactive protection of aquatic species whose populations are not yet in decline, by protecting and enhancing freshwater habitat within the watershed.

  • The Peskotomuhkati Nation at Skutik received $140,000 in funding to begin a project to reconnect the Skutik/St. Croix River and Passamaquoddy Bay ecosystems by identifying passage opportunities for migratory fishes at the three mainstream dams and throughout the watershed.

PEI

Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence Rivers Priority Area

  • The Abegweit Conservation Society will receive up to $1,367,600 for work which will be carried out in the Midgell, Morell and Mill rivers of Prince Edward Island. The project's focus is to better understand and respond to threats to freshwater species such as Atlantic Salmon and American Eel. The work will include removing barriers, habitat restoration activities and monitoring of species. The project will be carried out while integrating both science and Indigenous knowledge principles to manage threats to fish and its habitat. Project activities will also benefit other freshwater aquatic species such as Brook Trout, Alewife, Rainbow smelts and freshwater mussels.

Nova Scotia

Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence Rivers / Bay of Fundy and Southern Uplands Watersheds Priority Areas

  • The Nova Scotia Salmon Association will receive up to $916,232 to restore ecosystems in the West and South Rivers (Antigonish), the Mabou and the Margaree Rivers in Cape Breton. This project will promote the recovery of aquatic species at risk through planning, prioritization and implementation of activities that reduce identified threats such as declining water quality. This project will support recovery actions for the protection of Atlantic Salmon, American Eel and Atlantic Sturgeon and will foster collaboration among Indigenous Peoples, stakeholders and other parties.

  • The Nova Scotia Salmon Association will receive up to $2,916,491 for a second project to conduct conservation planning for priority watersheds within the Southern Uplands region of Nova Scotia to address threats that are common to multiple species at risk, as well as to implement restoration activities to support improvement of aquatic habitats.

  • The Confederacy of Mainland Mi'Kmaq will receive up to $2,308,257 to undertake a Two-Eyed Seeing approach, bringing together Mi'kmaq Ecological Knowledge and western science, to address high-priority threats and improve fish habitat through biological assessments, habitat restoration and stewardship outreach for aquatic species at risk and to species of importance in Mi'kmaq culture. The project will take place in three areas of Nova Scotia: St. Croix River, Stewiacke River and Southern Gulf of Saint Lawrence watersheds.

Fishing Interactions Priority Threat

  • Oceans North will receive up to $375,000 in funding to increase knowledge sharing between DFO and Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishers, especially in regards to bycatch, identify opportunities to adapt existing management measures, implement national policy including the bycatch policy, identify stewardship actions and best practices to reduce the impact on bycatch of marine fish species at risk.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Fishing Interactions / Physical and Acoustic Disturbance Priority Threats

  • The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society – Newfoundland and Labrador Chapter will receive up to $219,920 to develop an online ecosystem map to highlight the species present in the waters of Newfoundland and Labrador, with an emphasis on species at risk. This interactive platform will provide information about threats to these species and identify existing protections and conservation measures.

  • WWF-Canada will receive up to $368,180 to reduce fishing mortality of Golden cod, a genetically distinct population of Atlantic cod present in the Gilbert Bay Marine Protected Area. The project will measure the effectiveness of shifting harvesters from gillnets to cod pots in the waters adjacent to the Gilbert Bay MPA. It will also aim to reduce ghost gear catch and by-catch of Golden cod in this area.

SOURCE Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Maritimes Region

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