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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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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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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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Protect Habitat for the future generations

SCORE:
5.0
Theme:Conservation and Protection of Fish & Fish Habitat
on 11/25/2016 1480052058
Please reinstate the old fisheries act prior to the Harper government to give our sacred Salmon and Sturgeon a chance to survive for all future genera .... Read More

Please reinstate the old fisheries act prior to the Harper government to give our sacred Salmon and Sturgeon a chance to survive for all future generations. The most delicate ecosystem on the Fraser river is between Mission and Hope for salmon and sturgeon rearing, smolt and fry development. Gravel should never be taken from these area's or other tributaries to the Fraser River for the same reasons. Cleaning our waterways of garbage and abandoned boat, ship and industrial equipment to prevent degradation. Do not allow any Salmon fishing when there is a conservation concern of stock groups. Create a transparent monitoring and enforcement program that all Canadians and the world can be proud of. Future generations rely on our Government to make responsible decisions that will protect all fish for the future. 

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Adaptive, Ecosystem, and Long-Term Managment

SCORE:
4.3
Theme:Conservation and Protection of Fish & Fish Habitat
on 11/17/2016 1479421946
In a general sense, an adaptive management approach is important when looking at fish management and study decisions.  Though going back to previous .... Read More

In a general sense, an adaptive management approach is important when looking at fish management and study decisions. 

Though going back to previous legislature would be more beneficial to conservation than what is currently in place. We should refine the older policies with up to date information so that we may begin to work toward the net gain policy.

When concerned with an individual species, one cannot focus in on just that species. An ecosystem based management approach is imperative to understanding what drives their abundance and distribution. There are many factors which contribute to a species survival that must all be considered in helping to restore a species population. 

Species management must also continue to take a collaborative approach. Where we cannot just have scientists or publicists coming up with management decisions separately. Various types of specialists from government officials, to research scientists, social scientists, etc. must collaborate in producing programs that are beneficial to all. 

At the same time, management must also be well-informed. Each species has very specific requirements to survive which even vary spatially and temporally. These requirements may be overlooked if a general framework is applied to all. 

It is important to get the general population on board if any management decision is to be successful. Expansion of public knowledge is important in this regard. For example, applicant angling license holders should undergo brief testing on ecological principles, species-specific knowledge, and current conservation issues to better understand how they may effect their surroundings. 

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More funding for evidence-based habitat restoration projects

SCORE:
4.7
Theme:Conservation and Protection of Fish & Fish Habitat
on 11/17/2016 1479421128
Preemptive restoration of wild spawning, rearing and refuge habitats would have positive long-term economic and ecological effects. Proactively increa .... Read More

Preemptive restoration of wild spawning, rearing and refuge habitats would have positive long-term economic and ecological effects. Proactively increasing habitat complexity (eg. artificial reefs, shoreline restoration, large woody debris additions) and returning fish assemblages to levels of self-sustainability will reduce future needs for reactive measures after ecological crises. Increasing a habitat's natural output will reduce the need to supplement with hatchery stock on an annual basis, preserving biodiversity and reducing taxpayer burden. 

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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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Habitat Compensation/Offsetting/Banking (NoNetLoss) is Mostly a Myth

SCORE:
3.4
Theme:Compliance and Enforcement
on 11/16/2016 1479275367
DFO needs to require several activities of developers to ensure compensation and habitat banking is successful. - Establish baseline data prior to .... Read More

DFO needs to require several activities of developers to ensure compensation and habitat banking is successful.

- Establish baseline data prior to compensation actions to facilitate site planning and long term assessments of success using prescribed methods.

- Accurately map and inventory newly constructed projects to facilitate future monitoring and research.

- Monitor and apply adaptive management to mitigate stressors in perpetuity, because compensation and habitat banks are always near human activity which carries the risk of future unforeseen impacts.

- Many completed compensation projects have failed because the above process was not used and DFO needs to systematically find and fix broken habitat compensation projects, to repay the habitat deficit to Canada that has accumulated since the No Net Loss principle was adopted in the 1980s

Compensation, Offsetting and Habitat Banking are ecosystem assets owed to Canadians in lieu of land development. It needs to be considered a permanent cost of doing business not just a one off expense by the developer. There are many financial instruments DFO can use to ensure habitat created is not lost due to neglect.

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Add Species at Risk to Fisheries Act

SCORE:
4.2
Theme:Conservation and Protection of Fish & Fish Habitat
on 10/27/2016 1477586257
Hello: I am a local volunteer with Streamkeepers in North Vancouver and am a bit overwhelmed by the complexity of formally protecting fish habitat. I .... Read More

Hello: I am a local volunteer with Streamkeepers in North Vancouver and am a bit overwhelmed by the complexity of formally protecting fish habitat. I can see why some people resort to “luddite” thinking and just want to smash the system because it is too complex to have much confidence in. That said, incorporating all stakeholders concerns is complex and I trust our government and civil service are making great efforts to both protect species and address stakeholders concerns.

 I am no expert but some of my thoughts, related to fish. It seems that habitat protection for fish was reduced in the new Fisheries Act as in the new act habitat protection is only applied to commercial, recreational and aboriginal fish stocks. When you consider that the Canadian Encyclopedia says Canada has 1200 fish species, of which only a few dozen are covered by the new act, this change appears to take away habitat protection for a lot of fish species.

However, this gap seems to be expected to be taken up but the Species at Risk Act (SARA) for the species not covered in the new Fisheries act. SARA makes it illegal to kill, harm, harass etc. identified/listed species etc.. So the issue moves to; what does it take for a species to get listed so it has habitat protection under SARA because if the species is not listed, the habitat of some populations of the species may be legally destroyed.   

As an observer of environmental groups behavior; when all species were in the Fisheries act, some groups worked to use the habitat protection provisions to stop all development near any fish population and there had to be a reaction from regulators as other stakeholders also had priorities. Putting the act back to the way it was, to give over zealous environmental groups undue influence or allow them to hijack reasonable processes would be a disservice to society.  However, we need to think about what can be done to support reasonable protection of habitat for species that are not currently at risk, so that they do not become listed and continue to have the chance to thrive.

 My thinking is that the Fisheries Act should be modified to include "species at risk" in addition to the species related to “commercial, recreational and aboriginal fisheries” as referenced by SARA. This would "double down" on the protection of at risk species, protection under both SARA and the Fisheries act.

A follow-on is that SARA should be revised to have an "earlier warning" category for species to protect habitat so that healthy stocks of all species are maintained and this "early warning" classification also be included in the Fisheries Act. In addition to this Sustainability principles should be required for all developments (at any scale) and rigorous enforcement provided for.

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