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environmental law, climate change, recovery planning, oceans, marine species


This article evaluates how Canadian recovery planning for Pacific marine species at risk incorporates two pressing 21st century concerns: global climate change and ocean acidification (OA). While many recovery strategies for Pacific species at risk show some understanding of climate change or OA, they generally fail to incorporate key climate and OA information or to consider how these two issues will actually affect the species in question. Two strategies for progress are suggested. First is an administrative strategy that includes the development of a national climate change adaptation strategy, which clarifies how projected climate and ocean acidification impacts should be incorporated into decision-making under the Species at Risk Act (SARA). Second is a legal course that includes an amendment of SARA or regulations thereunder that require up-to-date climate and ocean acidification information to be incorporated during recovery planning. In addition to the administrative and legal courses suggested, a precautionary, yet bold and flexible approach to recovery planning is advocated that aims to achieve species resilience rather than meeting historical population levels (which may already be impossible to achieve given shifting ecological, biological and physical baselines. This article is a follow up to a similar piece that examined Atlantic species at risk.

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