Plentiful catches are now the stuff of history books. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) reports cod populations from the Arctic to the Bay of Fundy declining to perilously low levels—by 97 to 99 per cent since the 1960s.
The committee recommends to federal environment minister Jim Prentice that cod be listed as “endangered” on the legal list of species at risk.
Even with reduced catches since 1992, “cod are at such historically low levels that they have gone beyond their tipping point,” says Jeffrey Hutchings, the Dalhousie University biology professor who just stepped down as the chair of COSEWIC. “They may no longer be able to replace themselves in their ecosystem.”
Cod was designated by COSEWIC as a “special concern” in April 1998 with some populations deemed “threatened” or “endangered” by May 2003. But at that time, the government rejected COSEWIC’s recommendation to list the cod as endangered because of “socio-economic” concerns.
(A note about the terminology: species considered “special concern” are those particularly sensitive to human activities or natural events but are not endangered; “threatened” are species likely to become endangered if limiting conditions are not reversed; “endangered” are species facing imminent extinction or extirpation, missing from the wild.)
But Dr. Hutchings believes there may be a silver lining to COSEWIC’s report if the federal government accepts it this time. “Then a recovery strategy would have to be implemented by law,” he says.
“It’s old news that cod are in trouble. It’s been 18 years since the collapse of northern cod stocks,” he says. “The silver lining is if we get determined action by the federal government to make recovery targets, set timelines to achieve those targets and establish harvest control rules.”
The committee, which met last month to assess 51 species at risk, has now assessed 602 wildlife species in various risk categories, including 262 endangered, 151 threatened, 166 special concern, 23 extirpated (no longer found in the Canadian wild), and 13 wildlife species extinct.
With Dr. Hutchings stepping down, Marty Leonard, also a Dalhousie professor, assumes the chair for a two-year term.
Charles Crosby | Newswise Science News
Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel
Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
22.02.2018 | Life Sciences
22.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
22.02.2018 | Earth Sciences