Critical habitat of the of the Roseate Tern

The Roseate Tern (Sterna dougallii), a medium-sized seabird, is found on coasts and islands along the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans, with important North Atlantic nesting sites on islands off the coast of Nova Scotia. In 2003, the Roseate Tern was listed as endangered under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) when the Act came into force. While the primary threat to the Roseate Tern in Canada is believed to be predation and displacement of colonies by gulls, habitat limitations are also documented threats.

As required by SARA, a recovery strategy for the Roseate Tern was completed and was posted on the Species at Risk (SAR) Public Registry on October 25, 2006. The recovery strategy identified habitat that is critical to the survival or recovery of the species (also known as critical habitat), some of which is on federal land. When, in a final posted recovery strategy, all of a species’ critical habitat or portions of that critical habitat have been identified on federal lands, in the exclusive economic zone of Canada or on the continental shelf of Canada, SARA requires that it be protected within 180 days.

The objective of the Critical Habitat of the Roseate Tern (Sterna dougallii) Order is to support the survival and recovery of Roseate Tern through the legal protection of its critical habitat on federal lands. The Order will fulfill the Minister’s legal obligations under SARA for the protection of the species and serves as a necessary step in its recovery process.

A Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) conducted for the Order concluded that the legal protection of the critical habitat of the Roseate Tern on federal lands would have important positive benefits for the Roseate Tern in Canada.  The Order is directly related to Theme III of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) (2013-2016), “Protecting Nature and Canadians”, and supports the Theme’s Goal 4, “Conserving and restoring ecosystems, wildlife and habitat, and protecting Canadians. Resilient ecosystems with healthy wildlife populations so Canadians can enjoy benefits from natural spaces, resources and ecological services for generations to come.” In particular, the Order will contribute to achieving Target 4.1, “Species at Risk: By 2020, populations of species at risk listed under federal law exhibit trends that are consistent with recovery strategies and management plans”.

For more information on the Roseate Tern, visit the Roseate Tern Species Profile.

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