Recovery Strategy for the Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus) in Canada – 2014 [Proposed]

Posted February 11, 2014 | Categories : Rare Species,Reports,SARA |

The Government of Canada is working to ensure the recovery of species at risk.  On January 7th, 2014, the proposed “Recovery Strategy for the Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus) in Canada” was included on the Species at Risk Public Registry for a 60-day public comment period.
The Marbled Murrelet is a small seabird largely dependent on old growth coastal forests in British Columbia for nesting. It feeds in the ocean near to shore. It is considered threatened due to historic and projected future nesting habitat loss and fragmentation, by-catch in coastal fisheries, increased coastal shipping activity, and changing ocean conditions.
The proposed recovery strategy is available for public comment between January 7th and March 8th, 2014. 
You may view or download a copy of this proposed recovery strategy at the Species at Risk Public Registry website:


During the 60-day public comment period you can submit your comments directly through the website.  Please inform us if you would like us to send you a hard copy.  Your comments are important and will be fully considered.  30 days after the public comment period, a final recovery strategy will be included on the Public Registry. 
If you have questions about the proposed recovery strategy or would like to discuss it in more detail, please contact Undiné Thompson at (604) 664-9055 or  
Thank you for your interest and efforts towards the recovery of the Marbled Murrelet in Canada. 

Stephen Hureau
Head, Species at Risk Recovery Unit
Canadian Wildlife Service
Environment Canada
5421 Robertson Road

Delta, BC, V4K 3N2
Government of Canada

The Minister of the Environment and the Minister responsible for the Parks Canada Agency are the competent ministers under SARA for the Marbled Murrelet and have prepared this strategy, as per section 37 of SARA.

Consultation period: 2014-01-07 to 2014-03-08

For Public INPUT:

Executive Summary

See the full html version here

The Marbled Murrelet is a small seabird that spends most of its time at sea within 0.5km of shore. Marbled Murrelets are secretive and nest as solitary pairs at low densities, typically in old-growth forests within 30 km of the sea. The current Canadian population (estimated at 99,100 birds) is about 28% of the estimated global total of 357,900 birds. The Marbled Murrelet was assessed as Threatened in 2012 by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC).

The main terrestrial threats facing Marbled Murrelets include historic, current and future loss of old-growth nesting habitat; fragmentation of old-growth nesting habitat resulting in increased predation rates and adverse changes to microclimate near the ‘hard’ forest edges; predation at both nest sites and at sea; and potential threats related to the development of energy infrastructure, including collision risks and increases in predator concentrations. Marine threats include: chronic and catastrophic oil spills; entanglement in fishing gear (mainly gill-nets); and current and future boat traffic and shipping which disrupts foraging and marine distributions.

Recovery of the Marbled Murrelet is considered biologically and technically feasible.

The short-term population and distribution objective for the recovery of Marbled Murrelets is that over the period 2002-2032 (three generations) any decline of the British Columbia (B.C.) population and the area of its nesting habitat will have slowed to a halt and the total population and area (amount) of nesting habitat coast-wide will have stabilized above 70% of 2002 levels, with acceptable areas of nesting habitat remaining in the six primary conservation regions. Short-term recovery objectives for six primary conservation regions are recommended to achieve the overall coast-wide objective of 70% retention of 2002 population and habitat levels.

The long term population and distribution objective (25+ years) for the recovery of Marbled Murrelets is to ensure that the species will have high probability of persistence after 2032 across its range, with a stable population level at or above 70% of 2002 population estimates. This will be achieved by maintaining sufficient suitable nesting and marine habitat, and by reducing other threats.

The broad strategies to be taken to address the threats to the survival and recovery of the species are presented in the section on Strategic Direction for Recovery.

A partial identification of nesting critical habitat is included; there is insufficient information for an identification of marine critical habitat. A schedule of studies is included that outlines the studies required before the critical habitat identification can be completed. Areas within which critical habitat occurs have been delineated for each of the six primary conservation regions.

One or more action plans will be posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry within five years of the final posting of the recovery strategy.