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SUBJECT: Grenfell: Endangered species valued across Canada
DATE: Jan. 28, 2009

               A Canadian economist has found that people from across Canada care about Atlantic Canadian aquatic endangered species and are willing to pay money for conservation efforts that protect them.
              The author of the study is Murray Rudd, a Canada Research Chair in Ecological Economics at Memorial University’ s Corner Brook campus, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College.
“High-profile species like Atlantic salmon are likely worth hundreds of millions of dollars annually,” he said.
              Rudd's conclusions were published this week in the international journal Endangered Species Research; see http://www.int-res.com/abstracts/esr/v6/n3/. Five Atlantic species were compared in the study. They included Atlantic salmon, leatherback turtle, North Atlantic right whale, Atlantic whitefish and porbeagle shark.
Using data from a 2006 national Internet survey of 2,761 Canadians, Rudd found distinct patterns of support for endangered species conservation programs based on factors like age, income, and recreational fishing experience.
             There were no clear geographic patterns of support. Many survey respondents from Quebec, Ontario, the Prairies and British Columbia valued the conservation and recovery of endangered species from Atlantic Canada.
             "One might expect willingness to pay for protecting Atlantic species to dwindle as we move west, outside Atlantic Canada," said Rudd. "What we're seeing instead is that geography and values aren't clearly related. Just because a person lives in Saskatchewan doesn't mean that they don't care deeply about the fate of endangered species in Atlantic Canada."
             The results of the study suggest that substantial resources should be invested in conservation and recovery initiatives under Canada's Species at Risk Act in order to provide important public benefits for the citizens of Canada.
             "With our current economic state of affairs, governments are talking a lot about investing in public infrastructure,” he said. “We need to remember that biological diversity, our 'natural capital', would also benefit greatly from investments. Endangered species are not like bridges – if we lose them, we don't get a second chance to rebuild them later." 
             For further information on aquatic species at risk, visit
http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/species-especes/species/species_searchSpecies_e.asp


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