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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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Research Ongoing Cumulative Impacts of Multiple Salmon Farms in Pacific Migratory Waters

SCORE:
5.0
Theme:Monitoring Threats and Reporting-back to Canadians
on 11/25/2016 1480111896
Act on Justice Cohen's concerns:  “DFO has not completed research into the effects of diseases and pathogens from salmon farms on wild Fraser .... Read More

Act on Justice Cohen's concerns: 

“DFO has not completed research into the effects of diseases and pathogens from salmon farms on wild Fraser River sockeye. Nor has DFO done any research into the cumulative effects on sockeye of having multiple salmon farms sited on their migration route. In sum, there are insufficient data (almost no data) to evaluate cause and effect relationships, and insufficient data to look for correlations between fish farm factors and measures of sockeye health such as productivity.“ Vol3 p. 24

"I accept the evidence that a devastating disease could sweep through a wild population killing large numbers of wild fish without scientists being aware of it." (Spoken in press release & in report)

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Reform the Fisheries Act!

SCORE:
3.7
Theme:Compliance and Enforcement
on 11/25/2016 1480102019
Government needs to have the ability to charge companies for destroying vital fish habitat. There needs to be strict regulations so that damaged fis .... Read More

Government needs to have the ability to charge companies for destroying vital fish habitat. There needs to be strict regulations so that damaged fish habitats are cleaned up. There need to be enough trained enforcement staff to ensure orders are followed. The provision that outlawed the “harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat” needs to be returned to the Act.

How has the DFO not laid a single charge of damaging fish habitat since 2012, despite almost 1,900 complaints nation-wide? This boggles the mind. 

Habitat protection is critical. In the words of former fisheries minister Roméo LeBlanc: "The chain of life extending to the whole open ocean depends on bogs, marshes, mudflats, and other ‘useless-looking’ places that ruin your shoes. Biologists have likened these areas to the corn fields and wheat fields on the ocean. These rich shore areas support salmon, lobster, herring and other local populations; their influence extends for hundreds of miles, even to the rockiest shorelines. They are the irreplaceable nurseries of fisheries' well-being.” (Found here: http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2016/11/24/Reverse-Attack-on-Fish-Habitat-Protection/?utm_source=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=241116)

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Fish Habitat Restoration

SCORE:
2.5
Theme:Conservation and Protection of Fish & Fish Habitat
on 11/25/2016 1480101507
While the Fisheries Act has programs in place for habitat protection, changes should be made with the intention of addressing the restoration of fish .... Read More

While the Fisheries Act has programs in place for habitat protection, changes should be made with the intention of addressing the restoration of fish habitat in areas that have been damaged by human impact and development. 

Restoration is not intended to return a system to a pre-altered state or fixed condition but to help restore the structure, function, and ecological processes of a system. Restoration also includes extensive environmental monitoring. Environmental monitoring requires collection of data to measure the success of a project. Data collected from monitoring programs will also aid in filling gas in DFO and public data and can assist in mapping. 

Habitat restoration is at the foundation of many land management strategies and endangered species recovery initiatives and should be considered further in the Fisheries Act. 

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Restore DFO Capacity

SCORE:
4.6
Theme:Compliance and Enforcement
on 11/25/2016 1480098060
DFO currently lacks the capacity to effectively monitor and protect habitat and enforce the Act. While there may be advantages to centralization, the .... Read More

DFO currently lacks the capacity to effectively monitor and protect habitat and enforce the Act. While there may be advantages to centralization, the capacity for staff with local knowledge is severely limited.

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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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Public Fisheries Database

SCORE:
4.0
Theme:Opportunities for Partnerships and Collaborations
on 11/25/2016 1480091791
I propose that we work on establishing a federal database and an interactive mapping framework (IMF) similar to that currently used in Alberta. Work b .... Read More

I propose that we work on establishing a federal database and an interactive mapping framework (IMF) similar to that currently used in Alberta. Work being done on a Provincial level is regularly uploaded through a load form to the database and points are then populated on a map after the data is entered. This data is then searchable through an IMF system to help establish a baseline of the species richness and presence in an area. The responsibility of uploading information falls to those collecting the data through fish research licenses, public fishing, angling groups, etc. The federal governing body would really only be tasked with website maintenance. This would allow government, consultants, public, special interest group, etc to have reliable information at their finger tips. 

There is constantly work being done by consultants, government, industry etc. Why not give them a spot to upload e-fishing, netting, and angling data? It would allow us to better understand the distribution of fish in our country and give us a invaluable database to draw from.

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Education Transparency & Restoration of the Fisheries Act before Harper

SCORE:
4.0
Theme:Conservation and Protection of Fish & Fish Habitat
on 11/25/2016 1480040743
I believe we need to reintroduce the Fisheries Act to where it was pre-Harper's dismantling of it. The public needs to be informed about the importanc .... Read More

I believe we need to reintroduce the Fisheries Act to where it was pre-Harper's dismantling of it. The public needs to be informed about the importance of caring for our fish habitat - and there needs to be more transparency for everyone. This summer the destruction of a fish bearing stream in the Maple Creek Watershed of Port Coquitlam was stopped literally DAYS before the filling in of it. Not ONE person was informed. Not ONE PERSON!!! DFO authorized it. Only the owner of the property knew.  It was discovered by accident. To make way for a single family three story 13,000 Sq ft home This HAS to stop !!! For more info on this there is a fb page Save Maple Creek Port Coquitlam and read the history of this. Transparency & Education. Restore the Fisheries Act to protect our precious fish habitat. 

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Essential Fish Habitat Must Be Protected

SCORE:
4.3
Theme:Conservation and Protection of Fish & Fish Habitat
on 11/24/2016 1480027509
Consideration needs to be given to areas with multiple species at risk, biodiversity “hotspots”, or recovery habitats for species at risk. .... Read More

Consideration needs to be given to areas with multiple species at risk, biodiversity “hotspots”, or recovery habitats for species at risk. Some habitats cannot be recreated through offsetting, and risk cannot be effectively mitigated. This would essentially create “no go zones” where habitat cannot be damaged or destroyed. The current Act allows for the designation of “ecologically sensitive areas” which would include regulatory restrictions on development but this has not yet been enacted or tested. Climate modeling should also be included in this approach. If we protect only the current habitat and not potential recovery habitat -we could still lose species needlessly.

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Cumulative Effects Must be Considered

SCORE:
4.2
Theme:Conservation and Protection of Fish & Fish Habitat
on 11/24/2016 1480027336
Consideration needs to be made for cumulative effects. This may not be easy but it is important and needs to start with setting ecosystem-based habit .... Read More

Consideration needs to be made for cumulative effects. This may not be easy but it is important and needs to start with setting ecosystem-based habitat targets at various scales, using the best available science. Approvals should consider other impacts already facing a watershed. Low or moderate risk activities could be tracked using simple permitting processes or even a notification process that is available on a public registry. Currently, DFO does not know and therefore cannot track the number of small projects being implemented on or near water. DFO cannot prevent a “death by a thousand cuts” if we do not know either how many cuts have been made, or where they are.

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