Notice of permit

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Regional or Local Number: DFO-18-PPAC-00013

Notice is hereby given that pursuant to the provisions of section 73 of the Species at Risk Act permit no. DFO-18-PPAC-00013 is issued.

Scientific research for the conservation of the species

This permit will apply to staff trained to complete opportunistic biosampling on Basking Sharks caught incidentally in trawl gear while aboard commercial groundfish vessels. The Company has considerable expertise in the provision of observers for at-sea monitoring in the north-east Pacific, with over 25,000 days at sea providing catch estimates, samples, tagging, and support for Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s (DFO) research program. Staff are trained in the identification and handling of Basking Shark, in accordance with DFO’s Shark Sampling Protocol (2011). The priority will be to return captured live Basking Sharks to the water as quickly as possible to reduce the chance of mortality. Live release will be monitored by observers to assess condition of shark when released and provide reporting to DFO. Depending on the condition of the live individual, external size measurements and a small clip of tissue (i.e. 1 cm square sample from any fin tip), for genetic analysis, will be collected to provide data and information on population structure. Staff will also apply appropriate handling procedures to reduce stress to live sharks. For Basking Sharks found dead, external size measurements and more detailed biosampling will occur; specifically: stomach contents and liver sampling; vertebrae (just behind gill slit area) removal; muscle sampling (from posterior base of dorsal fin at the attachment point to body); and, counting, sexing, measurements and sampling of pups (in the case of gravid females). Dead sharks will be counted and the data provided to DFO Science.

Start Date: 2018-05-01   End Date: 2021-03-31

Issuing Authority: Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Authority Used:

  • Species at Risk Act

Location of Activity (province, territory or ocean):

  • Pacific Ocean

Affected Species:

a) Alternatives: Impacts on the species are highly unlikely using the proposed methods described. Activities will be completed in accordance with DFO’s Shark Sampling Protocol (2011) and no alternative established methods for obtaining the desired information were identified. The protocol has been used on many occasions by other researchers, and it has had no detectable negative impact on Basking Sharks or other elasmobranch species. b) Measures to minimize impact: Overall, the proposed activities are unlikely to impact Basking Shark individuals or their habitat. While the impacts on the species from the proposed activities are unlikely, the following mitigation measures will be undertaken to reduce harm, including: for all incidentally-captured live Basking Sharks, the priority will be to return the shark to the water alive as quickly as possible; if the shark appears to be unduly stressed, it will be returned to the water immediately with sampling being a lower priority; when biosampling does occur, the most important measurements/ sampling will take precedence over measurements/ sampling lower on the list so that sharks can be released at any point; sampling gear has been used previously for sampling this species and has been shown to have no detectable negative effects; and, sampling will only be carried out by trained at-sea observers. c) Effects on survival and recovery: Biosampling of live Basking Sharks (i.e. taking a small fin clip for genetic analysis) is not anticipated to harm Basking Sharks (i.e. low impact), nor is any disturbance to the habitat used by this species anticipated (low impact or not applicable). Taking fin clips for genetic analyses of elasmobranchs is a commonly-used procedure with no adverse effects reported. The size of the tissue sample is small (1 cm square) and far from any vulnerable organs, therefore the sampling will cause negligible harm to the sampled shark. Live sharks will be handled so as to reduce stress (i.e. a towel will be placed over the sharks’ eyes, which is a proven method for calming down on-board sharks for measurement and sampling). The priority will be returning the shark to the water alive as quickly as possible. If the shark appears to be unduly stressed, it will be returned to the water immediately with sampling being a lower priority. Considering this suite of measures, it is unlikely that the activity will jeopardize the survival or recovery of the species.

Contact Person(s)
Species at Risk Regional Manager
Pacific Region, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
200-401 Burrard Street
Vancouver, BC
V6C 3S4
Tel: 604-666-7907

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