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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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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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Restore Protections for all Native Fish Species

SCORE:
4.1
Theme:Conservation and Protection of Fish & Fish Habitat
on 11/25/2016 1480099124
Non-CRA fisheries (commercial, recreational, or aboriginal) currently lack adequate protection despite being critical components of their ecosystems; .... Read More

Non-CRA fisheries (commercial, recreational, or aboriginal) currently lack adequate protection despite being critical components of their ecosystems; the result is weakened protections for the important habitats that support these and other species.

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Offsetting and Habitat Banking

SCORE:
5.0
Theme:Conservation and Protection of Fish & Fish Habitat
on 11/25/2016 1480098286
While offsetting is meant as a last resort if an impact cannot be prevented or mitigated, in some cases, it is inevitable. Currently, offsetting is do .... Read More

While offsetting is meant as a last resort if an impact cannot be prevented or mitigated, in some cases, it is inevitable. Currently, offsetting is done on a project-by-project basis with an effort to complete the offset near the area of impact. DFO needs to explore more fully the concept of habitat banking. Major restoration works could be completed in areas that have been heavily impacted in the past if offsetting from multiple projects could be applied to fewer large projects.

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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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Effects of Shipping on Fish and Fish Habitat

SCORE:
5.0
Theme:Conservation and Protection of Fish & Fish Habitat
on 11/25/2016 1480053792
The Effects of Ships and Shipping practices on Fish and Fish Habitat. Fisheries and Oceans Canada has a lot of catching up to do. For many years, DFO .... Read More

The Effects of Ships and Shipping practices on Fish and Fish Habitat.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada has a lot of catching up to do. For many years, DFO has been hampered in executing it’s mandate to protect fish and fish habitat because of the past changes in the Fisheries Act and also because of reduced staffing and reduced funding for research and monitoring.

 The Fish and Fish Habitat protection review by Fisheries and Oceans is a hopeful sign that things are about to change for the better.

 New findings in research on responses of fish to ships and ship movements need to be seriously considered.

 For example, new research has been published reporting methods to analyze video recordings of fish in their natural habitat. The object of the research was to assess conditions where fish in their natural habitat were affected by ship presence. While the authors indicate that more research is needed, their initial findings indicate that fish in their natural habitat are adversely affected by shipping in 2 different scenarios. The first observed effect was a response to ship noise from a moving ship. The second recorded effect was that fish are also affected by the mere presence of a stationary ship in the area of their natural habitat. Further research needs to be done to explore this effect, but even at this stage, it is a game changer. The new findings substantially impact the assessment guidelines that address ‘harm to fish and fish habitat’. Proponents of development projects or anchorage proposals for large freighters will need to face this issue.

 When you consider the number of large tankers and freighters currently in our waters and add to that the threat of those numbers increasing, research such as this will be critical to better assess the impact of large ships and shipping on fish and fish habitat.

 Recommendations:

  • Expand the criteria for fish and habitat protection to all fish and marine species. Recognize that the marine ecosystem is an interconnected web that relies on the health of all species.
  • Remove present Section 35 prohibition where “serious harm to fish” is narrowly defined in part as: “the death of fish or the permanent alteration to, or destruction of, fish habitat……”,
  • Reinstate the former Section 35 HADD prohibition: “No person shall carry out any work, undertaking or activity that results in harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat.”
  • Change the criteria for DFO assessment. Any major development proposal should now require a DFO independent assessment.
  • Support an increased infusion of financial support to research. Re-commit to important research that has suffered in recent years from lack of funds and from the “post-2012” narrow focus on the commercial fishery. Two such fields of study are forage fish, and Resident Killer Whales. There are others.
  • Support financially and practically an infrastructure where the senior scientists can mentor the new young scientists.
  • Re-engage in active research about the impacts of ship noise.
  • Initiate new research on the impact of stationary large ships on marine life.

 Thank you for this opportunity to provide comments on fish and fish habitat protections in the Fisheries Act.

 

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Extensive damage of our environment is a crime is ecocide

SCORE:
2.0
Theme:Compliance and Enforcement
on 11/25/2016 1480043419
The UN SDGs are motivated as a result in part of the UN GEO reports of extensive unsustainable damage being duty to our environment. As a result of th .... Read More

The UN SDGs are motivated as a result in part of the UN GEO reports of extensive unsustainable damage being duty to our environment. As a result of this awareness I informed PM Stephen Harper and PM Justin Trudeau , the Clerk of the Privy Council, the Min of the Environment, the Min of Justice , the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, the Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defense of the proposal to have extensive damage of our environment recognized as criminal acts of ecocide in the Rome Statute from which the International Criminal Court (ICC) get it authority. When does the extensive damage to the web which in this case fish and fish habitat are a component cross the line and threaten the extinction of a species , the mental , physical ecological, economic and food security of Canadians , of  humanity?  When as a result must such damage be recognized as violations of humanities rights to peace and security ?  The government of Canada must recognize that it has the superior duty to protect citizens and the environment what sustains them.  In sept 2016 the ICC announced it intends to prosecute environmental crimes @chrisarsenaul Thomson Reuters Foundation  http://tinyurl.com/jkp6cru In closing is the nation Canada that committed cultural genocide of first nations people now committing ecocide the extensive unsustainable damage to our planets atmsopere, oceans and ecosystems, the web of life, commonly called climate change. Will those with a duty to protect Canadians do the right thing.Having informed the government of Canada repeatedly unfortunately they have not yet fulfilled their duty. 

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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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