The Pacific coast is home not only to humans, but to a wide range of plants and wild animals. Canadians expect the law to protect key species like wild salmon – which play a major role in ecosystems and local economies – and to ensure that plant and animal species do not go extinct. That means ensuring that the laws intended to safeguard species are doing their job.
Taking care of fish and wildlife can be approached from two important and interconnected approaches. An ecosystem-based approach focuses on maintaining the ecosystem as a whole, with all its parts and processes, as a way to care for all species. Another approach focuses on the needs of specific species, either because they are of special management concern (e.g., species at risk; key animals that “put food on the table” for Indigenous nations) or because they need special attention in planning and management.
In the ocean, many species are facing increased threats due to climate change, habitat loss, pollution, overfishing, and the cumulative effects of other human activities. Managing these threats requires the use of different legal tools – such as endangered species legislation, fisheries law and policy, regulation to reduce industrial impacts, and protection of key habitats in marine protected areas.
Photo credit: Miles Ritter