Advocating for fish habitat protection

New Democrats oppose any attempt to remove habitat protection from the mandate of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

In 2010, the wholesale value of the catch of all British Columbia fisheries was nearly $1.5 billion.

There is no doubt that fisheries are important to our economy and our communities.

That’s why a leaked document released by a former DFO employee, Otto Langer, is making some very big waves in this province.

According to Langer, the Conservative government may dilute the habitat protection provisions of the Fisheries Act.

They would do that by deleting habitat protection from Section 35(1) of the Fisheries Act.

As they’ve done with other contentious changes, like the Navigable Waters Act, they could make the change by using the Budget Omnibus bill, which often runs to hundreds of pages.

New Democrats oppose any attempt to remove habitat protection from the mandate of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. We will not have strong, healthy fish stocks without the habitat that supports them.

And we don’t want to return to a time when big industry could alter the landscape without any care for the fisheries that are dependent on health habitat.

More than 600 scientists have signed on to a letter urging the government not to abandon fish habitat protection. Of particular concern to them is the proposed decision to only protect fish of “cultural, economic or ecological value.”

They rightly point out that every variety of fish has ecological value.

In February, the Royal Society of Canada Expert Panel released a report titled “Sustaining Canadian Marine Biodiversity.” It showed that Canada lagged in meeting national and international commitments to protect marine biodiversity.

Removing fish habitat protection from the department’s mandate will not improve our record.

The report went on to say that this government fails to use the precautionary principle with regards to fisheries, it is not taking concrete action to reduce the effects of climate change and has no recovery plans for overfished stocks.

More disturbingly, the removal of fish habitat protection seems to be part of a broader plan to dismantle environmental protections across the board.

The government has already announced budget cuts for the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and for Environment Canada.

The Conservatives are calling for a single regulatory review process for major resource extraction projects.

Right now, large projects often trigger both a federal and provincial process because they cover areas of differing government responsibility.

Many people fear that a single review system will not be as rigorous and the protections the review system provides will be lost.

New Democrats will continue to advocate for protection of our fisheries, oceans and the lakes and streams that feed them.

Just Posted

The Crofton trailer park home where the bodies of two people were found. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Mom still waiting for answers after daughter and her fiance found dead in Crofton

Pair discovered dead in their Crofton home in May identified as Rachel Gardner and Paul Jenkins

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

CVRD to increase enforcement after audits reveal that curb-side recycling contamination in the district is well above acceptable limits. (File photo)
CVRD reports contamination in recyclables well above acceptable levels

Increased enforcement planned starting this summer

A conceptual rendering of the commercial plaza at 1130 Rocky Creek Road. (Town of Ladysmith/June 15 Council Agenda)
Rocky Creek commercial plaza passes public hearing

The proposed plaza at 1130 Rocky Creek Road would bring commercial activity to Ladysmith’s north end

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Most Read