COSEWIC Dec 4/17 Press Release and upcoming Ucluelet Pelagic Sept 18/18

1.This is well worth a read the Federal Govt is always slow to upgrade the status of birds that were recommended to be endangered and threatened by the Committee on the status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). Sofi Hindmarch a Barn Owl biologist that specializes in the Western Barn Owl population wrote an editorial in BC Nature Magazine this month that talks about her frustration with SARA and the government's refusal and slow action to uplist so many species in need of saving and protection. Her article is definitely worth a read.

COSEWIC whom my friend John Reynolds is on the committee works tirelessly to evaluate and make recommendations about the status of many species in Canada. Their press release came out yesterday and the biggest story is that Peregrine Falcons globally are no longer at risk for extinction. However, this is not all roses and lollipops the Pacific Subspecies is still at risk of extinction and is now listed as "Special Concern."

There was quite a bit of sad news and some with a double edged sword in regards to animals I work with. This is especially true with the listing of 8Pacific Wild Sockeye Salmon populations as "Endangered", 2 as "Threatened" and 5 as "Special Concern." This is sad news that we have mismanaged such an important resource that the First Nations always managed so well here before Europeans settled North America.  Pacific Sockeye and Chinook Salmon are over fished commercially, affected by climate change, fish farms and their associated diseases, pollutants and sea lice. Hopefully the federal government will work fast to follow these recommendations and upgrade their status which will offer further protection. It is a sad reality that species can stay in limbo for ten years because the government doesn't want to uplists them because of their economic significance or other reasons and Salmon bring a huge economical incentive for them which they will not want to lose.  I sure hope I'm wrong. There is also some good news in the report that states that 9 populations of Fraser River Sockeye are increasing and/or are stable. This shows the good work the Federal Govt and DFO has been doing to protect the species despite also regulating and allowing fish farms in BC which is counter productive to their mandate but driven again by economical incentive.

The other news that saddened me is that the Grey Whale population that feeds off Tofino has not been listed by COSEWIC as endangered as well. Caribou in the NWT and Nunavut face a sad similar fate. The subspecies of Northern Saw-whet Owl Haida Gwaii subspecies has now been listed as "threatened". I have been sad to see that the western population of Barn Owls was not uplisted to "Endangered" yet, despite multiple research to the contrary. Currently, COSEWIC lists them as "Threatened" and it will be reviewed again in 2020 but SARA (Species at Risk Act) only lists them as "Special Concern." The federal government prefers not to upgrade the species status to "Threatened" or "Endangered" because then that species has to have more protection and laws around it and land set aside. All of this costs money and sometimes great economic loss to the government like the cessation or restrictions of logging, fishing, drilling and mining and other industrial land use, agriculture or development.

To read the full press release which details in full all I said and the full list of species that have been upgraded in their species status by COSEWIC, click HERE.

2. Nature Alberta is hosting a pelagic trip from Ucluelet, British Columbia on Sunday September 16, 2018. Early bird tickets are now on sale at https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/nature-alberta-pelagic-trip-tickets-41032135221 . This was a very fun pelagic I went on it last year and highlights were South Polar Skua, Short-tailed Shearwater, Leach's Storm-Petrel and Black-footed Albatross to name a few. 







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