Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 4261
Title: A tale of two acts: endangered species listing practices in Canada and the United States
Author: Robin S. Waples, Marta Nammack, Jean Fitts Cochrane, J. A. Hutchings
Publication Year: 2013
Journal: Bioscience
Volume: 63
Issue: 9
Pages: 723-734
Keywords: endangered species, ESA, SARA,

Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA) and the US Endangered Species Act (ESA) have adopted different approaches to achieve broadly overlapping goals.  We compare and contrast the ESA and SARA, focusing on roles of science and policy in determining which species warrant legal protection.  Our analysis suggests that each Act could benefit from mimicking strengths of the other, and both could be strengthened by improving clarity and transparency of listing determinations.  A particular strength of SARA is that all evaluations of species' status are conducted by a single, national scientific body (COSEWIC).  The ESA has nothing comparable to COSEWIC but has more stringent legal deadlines for listing actions, and listing decisions cannot by law consider socio-economic factors (as can occur under SARA).  Conservation of biodiversity would be enhanced if both Acts were complemented by additional programs focused on ‘coarse scale’ efforts that protect more species before they need individual intervention.

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