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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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A national program for dealing with derelict fishing gear

SCORE:
1.0
Theme:Conservation and Protection of Fish & Fish Habitat
on 11/25/2016 1480094898
Canada's oceans have long been amongst the richest and biologically diverse oceans in the world. Millions of invertebrates, fish, marine mammals and b .... Read More

Canada's oceans have long been amongst the richest and biologically diverse oceans in the world. Millions of invertebrates, fish, marine mammals and birds live under, on and over these waters and depend on them for food and shelter. We Canadians benefit from these riches in various ways. We fish for food, grow kelp and shellfish and use the oceans for recreational activities such as scuba diving. These activities support a large and wide varieties of enterprises and many people's livelihood depend on them. However there is a serious risk for the sustainability of these economic sectors. Each years tonnes of abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear, called ghost gear, end up in our oceans or landfills. The fishing gear that ends up in the ocean continues to fish and kill millions of non targeted species such as fish, birds, seals, whales and other animals. The fishing that ends up in the land fill is a missed opportunity for recycling as there is a wide range of options to re-use these materials into new products such as clothing, industrial carpet tiles and other useful products. For 7 years my wife Kathy Johnson and I have created , run and funded the only consistent (volunteer) ghost gear removal program in our area in BC and, as far as we are aware, in Canada. We have made our program part of a worldwide effort that removes ghost gear all over the world. Other countries and states have since long been funding platforms that locate, remove and recycle the ghost gear. It is unacceptable to see that Canada is nowhere on the world stage and is even behind some third world countries in this aspect. Due to the lack of political leadership from the past gouvernment we have not seen a federal program that addresses and supports a national ghost gear removal program. In the last year we have seen no progress in this matter despite efforts of organizations such Animal World Protection to start discussions with gouvernment and industry. I would hate to think that my trust that I have this current gouvernment is misplaced. In the ministerial mandate letter that was sent to the Ministry of Fisheries Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard one of the targets is specifically mentioned : “Restore funding to support federal ocean science and monitoring programs, to protect the health of fish stocks, to monitor contaminants and pollution in the oceans, and to support responsible and sustainable aquaculture industries on Canada’s coasts.” Clearly the previously mentioned ghost gear is both a pollutant and a threat to the sustainability of fish stocks and health of the oceans. I expect the responsible Minister to develop, fund, implement and enforce a program that not only deals with the existing gear in our oceans but also prevents the creation of new ghost gear. This would include the recycling of the retrieved and end of life gear that is currently dumped in landfills. The technology and people are there . We now need the leadership to get legislation and funding to start dealing with this issue. I therefore invite the responsible people of the ministry to contact me and work with myself and other organizations to get Canada back in a leadership position and literally clean up its ocean act. I am grateful for any support and look forward to share our experience and knowledge in order to create a better Canada. Kind regards Peter Mieras

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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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Does Canada’s New Fisheries Act Leave Some Arctic Fish or Habitats Behind?

SCORE:
5.0
Theme:Conservation and Protection of Fish & Fish Habitat
on 11/24/2016 1480022479
Dear Colleagues, I would like to bring a Commentary, published in the Journal Arctic in March 2014, on the impacts of the 2012 changes to the Fisherie .... Read More

Dear Colleagues,

I would like to bring a Commentary, published in the Journal Arctic in March 2014, on the impacts of the 2012 changes to the Fisheries Act in remote regions such as the Canadian Arctic to your attention.

The article can be found here: 'Does Canada’s New Fisheries Act Leave Some Arctic Fish or Habitats Behind? (Citation: Gantner, N., 2014 Arctic 67(1)iii-v)

While this piece highlights concerns regarding one particular ecosystem and infrastructure project - which is now nearly completed, these may be echoed in any number of remote regions facing increased interest in natural resource development and environmental protection, particularly when fish and fish habitat are at stake.

Recommendations:

  1. Bring back the Fish Habitat provision(s).
  2. Return to protecting all fish species, not only 'CRA fisheries'
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Owner-operator policy

SCORE:
4.7
Theme:Compliance and Enforcement
on 11/23/2016 1479919308
Enforce owner-operator policy in the Maritimes. Smaller scale inshore fishermen are attached to place and are stewards of the environment. When they h .... Read More

Enforce owner-operator policy in the Maritimes. Smaller scale inshore fishermen are attached to place and are stewards of the environment. When they have to compete with corporate fleets, especially under quota systems, they're pressured into putting in more effort - fishing rougher weather, longer hours, bigger boats, bigger investments, more at stake - to land more fish. More at stake, more likely to sell out to bigger entrepreneurial interests who can afford to buy out their licenses and quota for much more than the next fisherman in the community could ever afford. Licenses leave communities, altering long traditions and ways of living in coastal communities, and funnels yet more fishing capacity to corporate interests. Repeat. What we get is more intense fishing, less sustainable fishing, and a loss of community viability and wellbeing. 

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Provide Fishery Officers and Guardians with clear power to stop conveyances

SCORE:
3.3
Theme:Compliance and Enforcement
on 11/17/2016 1479358409
Provide Fishery Officers and Guardians with clear power to stop conveyances as provided to Canadian Wildlife Service Officers under the Migratory Bi .... Read More
  • Provide Fishery Officers and Guardians with clear power to stop conveyances as provided to Canadian Wildlife Service Officers under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994

"A Fishery Officer or Fishery Guardian may, at any reasonable time, direct that a conveyance be stopped — or be moved, by the route and in the manner that the officer may specify, to a place specified by the officer where an inspection can be carried out — and the officer may, for a reasonable time, detain a conveyance."

Currently there is no clear power for Fishery Officers to stop or direct conveyances, their current authority comes from their inspection powers but does not give clear authority.

 

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Habitat Protection and Fish Conservation

SCORE:
4.6
Theme:Conservation and Protection of Fish & Fish Habitat
on 11/08/2016 1478605829
Require some form of online test before granting any form of fishing license. The test should be focused on species conservation and should test knowl .... Read More

Require some form of online test before granting any form of fishing license. The test should be focused on species conservation and should test knowledge of the fishing regulations. Model the test after the hunting CORE test, maybe not as difficult a version.

Increase the number of fisheries officials in the field to allow better oversight to prevent overfishing. 

 

Organize several research studies of the commercial, indigenous, and recreational fishing industries to gather data on illegal activity. Allow researchers to observe fishing activity in certain high-risk areas without announcing their intention, I.e. do not divulge that they are participating in research.

Issue a moratorium on open net fish farming. Require closed containment systems with a closed loop water source, thus preventing sea lice from leaving a farm pen and preventing fish from escaping the farm.

 

I would support an increase in income taxes to achieve these goals.

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Stronger Regulations and Management around our Sport Fish

SCORE:
4.8
Theme:Conservation and Protection of Fish & Fish Habitat
on 11/01/2016 1478021089
#1 - Stronger penalties for poachers.  For example, mandatory loss of fishing equipment and a one year minimum ban on fishing.  Just giving a fine i .... Read More

#1 - Stronger penalties for poachers.  For example, mandatory loss of fishing equipment and a one year minimum ban on fishing.  Just giving a fine is not a big enough deterrent and allows them to continue to be on the river with fishing gear which is a privilege that should be revoked.

#2 - Mandatory Environmental assessments for fish farms or any new business or company that poses a risk to the fish habitat and native species.  Example, NL approved to have a mass development of open pen fish farms which poses risk to the native Atlantic Salmon - Alton Gas approved to dump a large amount of Salt into a Bay of Fundy river which poses a major risk to the native Striped bass

#3. A clear divide needs to happen between Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture.  Having DFO look over both is a conflict of interest.

#4. An agreement needs to be reached to stop the commercial fishing of Atlantic Salmon or any other species that has their stocks at risk

#5. Selective harvesting should be mandated and enforced for the Aboriginal First Nations Food Fishery for Atlantic Salmon in the Maritimes.  Banning gill nets would be the first step and  second step would be banning the killing of any female Atlantic Salmon.  This would go a long way in ensuring the health of the Atlantic Salmon in Atlantic Canada and it still allows First Nations to harvest for Food and Ceremonial purposes.

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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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Revise Section 35 (1) and Provide Effective Protection Against Unnecessary Harm and Stock Depletion

SCORE:
4.1
Theme:Conservation and Protection of Fish & Fish Habitat
on 10/22/2016 1477176196
35 (1), "No person shall carry on any work, undertaking or activity that results in serious harm to fish that are part of a commercial, recreational o .... Read More

35 (1), "No person shall carry on any work, undertaking or activity that results in serious harm to fish that are part of a commercial, recreational or Aboriginal fishery, or to fish that support such a fishery."

At current, this clause provides opportunity for subjectivity in determining which fish species are included as part of 'commercial, recreational or Aboriginal' fisheries, or in support thereof. In acknowledging the inter-connectivity of marine ecosystems, it is ecologically irresponsible to protect only commercially viable fish species from unnecessary harm. This discrepancy neglects long-term economic prospects as well. Stock depletion and ecosystem damage via destructive extraction methods and by-catch are wasteful and non-essential practices, which could, perhaps, be prevented by including all marine animals under this provision. The evident unwillingness to provide protection for endangered marine fish species in the face of economic interests in Canada (as identified by researchers at Dalhousie University and Simon Fraser University, respectively, below) is concerning, and we can do better as a nation. 

http://www.dal.ca/content/dam/dalhousie/pdf/faculty/science/marine-affairs-program/Bailey%20et%20al.%20Crossroad.pdf

https://tmel.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/shultz-et-al-2013-mar-pol.pdf

Let's put a stop to unnecessary harm and stock depletion by revising section 35 (1) to include all marine animals, eliminating excessive by-catch and protecting ecosystems from extraneous damage. Let's build sustainable fisheries in Canada that we can be proud of, and respect the rights of future generations to experience Canadian waters as we have.  

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