02/14/2014 04:58 EST | Updated 04/16/2014 05:59 EDT

Endangered Species Plans By Ottawa Unlawful, Rules Judge

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VANCOUVER - A Federal Court judge says Ottawa violated the federal species-at-risk law by failing to take action to protect four endangered species.

A coalition of environmental groups filed a lawsuit over the government's recovery strategy for the Nechako White Sturgeon, Pacific Humpback Whale, Southern Mountain Caribou and Marbled Murrelet.

The Species At Risk Act sets deadlines for the government to file proposed recovery strategies and final recovery strategies, but none of the proposed plans were finished by the time the lawsuit was filed in September 2012.

The departments of Environment and Fisheries and Oceans have now filed proposed plans for all four species, but only one final recovery strategy, for the Pacific Humpback Whale.

Federal Court Judge Mactavish Anne Mactavish has ruled the government acted unlawfully by failing to meet deadlines for four species' recovery strategies.

Mactavish has yet to rule on whether she will order Ottawa to file final strategies for the Nechako White Sturgeon, Southern Mountain Caribou and Marbled Murrelet.

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