Spiny softshell turtle (Apalone spinifera) COSEWIC assessment and status report: chapter 10

Existing Protection or Other Status

The Spiny Softshell Turtle is currently listed by COSEWIC as Threatened. In Ontario this species is currently protected under the Ontario Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act 1999. The habitat of this species also receives some protection through the natural heritage component of the Provincial Policy Statement under Ontario’s Planning Act. This Act protects significant portions of the habitat of all threatened species. Several nesting sites are also protected, to varying degrees, as they are located on provincial or federally owned land. In Quebec, new legislation is currently under review that will prohibit the catching, keeping, transporting or selling of any subspecies of Apalone spinifera (P. Galois, pers. comm.).

In Ontario, one of the nesting sites is located on federal land and another is located on provincial land while the rest of the sites are on private land. Even though the sites located on government land should be protected from future development, these two sites presently experience the highest levels of recreation activity of all the Ontario nest sites. Not only does this increased human activity directly affect the turtles (disturbance, possibility of collision with watercraft, etc.) there also tends to be increased raccoon populations in these areas. As well, trapping for snapping turtles occurs adjacent to these areas and softshells are being taken in these traps.

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