On May 10, 2013, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper and Ottawa Riverkeeper submitted a joint comment on the proposed, “Application for Authorization under Paragraph 35(2)(b) of the Fisheries Act Regulations”.
We were very concerned last spring about the extensive rollbacks to the Fisheries Act that were inserted in omnibus budget bills in 2012 with no public notice or consultation. This new regulation confirms that many of our concerns were well-founded. If passed as drafted, this regulation will result in the end of enforceable fish habitat protections across Canada.
1. It is completely inappropriate to allow proponents to determine whether affected fish are part of a recreational, commercial, or aboriginal fishery.
2. The regulation does not provide for any public notice or consultation.
The proposed changes shift fish protection to a self-regulation model, wherein it is up to private industry to determine whether the fish their project affects are worth protecting - or not. These changes render the fish and habitat protection provisions of the Fisheries Act impossible to enforce. These changes will be devastating for aquatic life in Canada’s rivers, lakes, and oceans. These changes create a ‘paint-by-numbers’ framework to help industry destroy fish and fish habitat behind closed doors.
Read our full comment here.