Sunday, May 20, 2012

Fisheries Act: Proposed changes and environmental implications

The Canadian government has presented a new budget that includes sweeping amendments to the Fisheries Act. This is an issue that directly affects the quality of life of all Canadians, and greatly impacts the Great Lakes region. 

Habitat protections for fisheries help protect watersheds for people, and the Canadian government is seeking to substantially weaken those protections.

Amendments to streamline the Fisheries Act to promote industrial development and economic investment would replace the existing single, established, and largely effective national standard to protect fish and fish habitat with a patchwork of unknown provincial policies.

In its haste to make changes, the government did not consult experts at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, scientists, experienced environmental lawyers, or hunting and angling groups. It’s not clear that they consulted First Nations. Many prominent environmental groups across Canada have spoken up to oppose the changes, as well as more than 600 scientists.

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