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What modern safeguards should be instituted in order to ensure appropriate protections for fish and fish habitat?

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Enforcement: Ticketable Offences and Funding for Provincial Agencies

SCORE:
5.0
Theme:Compliance and Enforcement
on 11/25/2016 1480098180
Enforcement of the Fisheries Act has been downloaded to provinces as there are very few federal enforcement officers. If provinces are expected to enf .... Read More

Enforcement of the Fisheries Act has been downloaded to provinces as there are very few federal enforcement officers. If provinces are expected to enforce the Act, they should be provided funding and training to do so. Other enforcement options may also exist such as through ticketable offences.

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Setting limits for cumulative effects, watershed-level management

SCORE:
4.5
Theme:Conservation and Protection of Fish & Fish Habitat
on 11/25/2016 1480095119
Managing cumulative effects requires that limits be set on allowable habitat change or fish population loss. Setting those limits is both a a technica .... Read More

Managing cumulative effects requires that limits be set on allowable habitat change or fish population loss. Setting those limits is both a a technical and a political exercise. It needs to be done in an open and public process, and involve multiple jurisdictions. The new Fisheries Act must provide for such a process.

To illustrate the issues, consider Ripley et al. (2005) http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/abs/10.1139/f05-150#.WDdOcHdk8UE, their Figure 2. Probability of bull trout occurrence in a watershed declines with ANY tree harvest or road development. There is no threshold of development in watersheds below which bull trout are completely safe in the presence of logging or roads, so there is no objective limit you can use for managing logging.

The allowable amount of logging & road development, and the allowable loss of bull trout, will depend on a scientifically-determined range of probabilities of persistence of bull trout in the face of logging, from which an acceptable, politically-determined level of  logging is selected. Also, note that this has to be determined at the watershed level, showing that there will have to be cooperative management involving different legal jurisdictions.

Some exercise like this would need to be done for each species in a watershed, or by evaluating the probability of persistence of entire fish communities. The new Fisheries Act needs to be written in a way that accommodates processes like this.

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Sensitive Inventory Habitat Mapping

SCORE:
4.3
Theme:Conservation and Protection of Fish & Fish Habitat
on 11/17/2016 1479358626
SHIM methods ( http://cmnmaps.ca/cmn/files/methods/SHIM_Methods.html ) should be required by DFO as part of a land use proposal assessment, to descr .... Read More

SHIM methods ( http://cmnmaps.ca/cmn/files/methods/SHIM_Methods.html ) should be required by DFO as part of a land use proposal assessment, to describe the existing "fish habitat". This method has been used in BC for 15 years by many local governments to inform their land use planning and decisions. Those local governments have found it a practical method to meet their business needs. SHIM should be applied to several kilometres of a water course or most of a water body shoreline to establish a baseline data set and to capture any cumulative effects in a watershed.

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Bathymetric Database

SCORE:
4.3
Theme:Monitoring Threats and Reporting-back to Canadians
on 10/20/2016 1476972706
Similar to some comments on a fish habitat inventory, I think we need to consider compiling water volumes or a database of bathymetric data that is av .... Read More

Similar to some comments on a fish habitat inventory, I think we need to consider compiling water volumes or a database of bathymetric data that is available which could be overlain with the fish habitat information. In the NWT for example, we have an abundance of bathymetry information on a project specific basis but it is not compiled anywhere. This could have climate change monitoring implications as well as we could target certain lakes or lake sizes in different areas of the country and track water level decreases and see what lake volumes we are losing over the years and what species may be effected the most. 

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4

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8

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6

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Online national fish habitat mapping

SCORE:
4.7
Theme:Opportunities for Partnerships and Collaborations
on 10/17/2016 1476722164
Many provinces, municipalities, conservation groups, universities, the federal government, industries, etc. have surveyed and mapped fish habitat in .... Read More

Many provinces, municipalities, conservation groups, universities, the federal government, industries, etc. have surveyed and mapped fish habitat in various parts of Canada. It would be an ambitious but worthwhile project to combine all of these sources of data (some of which are likely in print only) into a national, online, publicly assessable fish habitat map. Even if some data are a bit outdated, this online tool could be regularly updated and improved. 

With such a map, an individual or company could readily access existing information to help locate their proposed project where it would result in lower impacts to fish, right from the start. This could save time and money if plans don't need to be altered as much later to reduce impacts. Academics and students could possibly use this data to analyze fish habitat impacts and recommend best practices. Indigenous, conservation, and educational groups could help fill identified gaps in fish habitat information.

Moving forward, I'm wondering if data collectors could be trained through something similar to Environment Canada and Climate Change Canada's CABIN Program (link below).

http://www.ec.gc.ca/rcba-cabin/default.asp?lang=En&n=72AD8D96-1

Does anyone have thoughts on how we could address with data integrity/standardization of existing habitat mapping??

 

 

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