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Recovery Strategy for Paddlefish (Polyodon spathula) in Canada (Proposed)


Paddlefish. B. Cudmore (DFO), 2006

June 2007

Recovery of this species is considered not technically or biologically feasible at this time

Responsible Jurisdictions
Strategic Environmental Assessment Statement

About the Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series

What is the Species at Risk Act (SARA)?

SARA is the Act developed by the federal government as a key contribution to the common national effort to protect and conserve species at risk in Canada. SARA came into force in 2003 and one of its purposes is“to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are extirpated, endangered or threatened as a result of human activity.”

What is recovery?

In the context of species at risk conservation, recovery is the process by which the decline of an endangered, threatened, or extirpated species is arrested or reversed and threats are removed or reduced to improve the likelihood of the species’ persistence in the wild. A species will be considered recovered when its long-term persistence in the wild has been secured.

What is a recovery strategy?

A recovery strategy is a planning document that identifies what needs to be done to arrest or reverse the decline of a species. It sets goals and objectives and identifies the main areas of activities to be undertaken. Detailed planning is done at the action plan stage.

Recovery strategy development is a commitment of all provinces and territories and of three federal agencies -- Environment Canada, Parks Canada Agency, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada -- under the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk. Sections 37–46 of SARA outline both the required content and the process for developing recovery strategies published in this series.

Depending on the status of the species and when it was assessed, a recovery strategy has to be developed within one to two years after the species is added to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. Three to four years is allowed for those species that were automatically listed when SARA came into force.

What’s next?

In most cases, one or more action plans will be developed to define and guide implementation of the recovery strategy. Nevertheless, directions set in the recovery strategy are sufficient to begin involving communities, land users, and conservationists in recovery implementation. Cost-effective measures to prevent the reduction or loss of the species should not be postponed for lack of full scientific certainty.

The series

This series presents the recovery strategies prepared or adopted by the federal government under SARA. New documents will be added regularly as species get listed and as strategies are updated.

To learn more

To learn more about the Species at Risk Act and recovery initiatives, please consult the SARA Public Registry and the Web site of the Recovery Secretariat (http://www.speciesatrisk.gc.ca/recovery/).

Recommended citation:

Reid, S.M., A.L. Edwards, and B. Cudmore. 2007. Recovery Strategy for the Paddlefish (Polyodon spathula) in Canada [Proposed]. Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa. iv+14 pp.

Additional copies:

You can download additional from the SARA Public Registry.

Cover illustrations: B. Cudmore (DFO), 2006

Également disponible en français sous le titre :

« Programme de rétablissement du spatulaire (Polyodon spathula) au Canada [PROJET] »

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, 2007. All rights reserved.

ISBN To come

Cat. no. To come

Content (excluding the cover illustration) may be used without permission, with appropriate credit to the source.

Declaration (recovery not feasible)

This recovery strategy for paddlefish has been prepared in cooperation with the jurisdictions described in the Preface. Fisheries and Oceans Canada has reviewed and accepts this document as its paddlefish recovery strategy as required by the Species at Risk Act. This recovery strategy also constitutes advice to other jurisdictions and organizations on the recovery approaches and objectives that are recommended to protect and recover the species.

The recovery of paddlefish in Canada has been found to be not technically or biologically feasible at this time. Nevertheless, the species still may be the subject of recovery efforts targeted towards other species in the same geographic area or experiencing similar threats, may benefit from general conservation programs in the same geographic area, and will receive protection through SARA and other federal, and provincial or territorial, legislation, policies, and programs.

The feasibility determination will be re-evaluated as warranted in response to changing conditions and/or knowledge (e.g., better information on the species' distribution or better threat mitigation techniques). At a minimum, it will be re-evaluated every five years as part of the report on implementation of the recovery strategy.

In the spirit of the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans invites all Canadians to join Fisheries and Oceans Canada in supporting and implementing this strategy for the benefit of the paddlefish and Canadian society as a whole. Fisheries and Oceans Canada will endeavor to support implementation of this strategy, given available resources and varying species at risk conservation priorities.

Responsible Jurisdictions

Under the Species at Risk Act, the responsible jurisdiction for paddlefish is Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Paddlefish used to occur in Ontario, and the government of Ontario cooperated in the production of this recovery strategy


This document was prepared by Scott M. Reid (Trent University), Amy L. Edwards (Fisheries and Oceans Canada Contractor) and Becky Cudmore (Fisheries and Oceans Canada).

Strategic Environmental Assessment Statement

A strategic environmental assessment (SEA) is conducted on all SARA recovery planning documents, in accordance with the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals. The purpose of a SEA is to incorporate environmental considerations into the development of public policies, plans, and program proposals to support environmentally-sound decision making.

Recovery planning is intended to benefit species at risk and biodiversity in general. However, it is recognized that strategies may also inadvertently lead to environmental effects beyond the intended benefits. The recovery planning process, based on national guidelines, directly incorporates consideration of all environmental effects, with a particular focus on possible impacts on non-target species or habitats.

Because the paddlefish is extirpated and recovery has been determined to be not feasible, no further recovery action is considered appropriate at this time. Accordingly, this recovery strategy will have no effect on the environment.


SARA defines residence as:

a dwelling-place, such as a den, nest or other similar area or place, that is occupied or habitually occupied by one or more individuals during all or part of their life cycles, including breeding, rearing, staging, wintering, feeding or hibernating[SARA S2(1)].

Residence descriptions, or the rationale for why the residence concept does not apply to a given species, are posted on the SARA public registry.

In the case of an extirpated species for which the recovery strategy does not recommend its reintroduction into the wild in Canada, the prohibition pertaining to the damage or destruction of residence does not apply [SARA S33].


The paddlefish is a freshwater fish and was listed as extirpated under SARA when the Act came into force in June 2003. The Species at Risk Act (SARA, Section 37) requires the competent minister to prepare recovery strategies for listed extirpated, endangered and threatened species. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Central and Arctic Region, led the development of this recovery strategy. The proposed strategy meets SARA requirements in terms of content and process (Sections 39-41). It was developed in cooperation or consultation with:

  • Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
  • United States Fish and Wildlife Service
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