OTTAWA, June 20, 2019 - The Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) is celebrating the passage of several updates to the Fisheries Act which improve the conservation of our oceans, lakes and rivers.
“Fish and fisheries are an important part of the economy and culture of Canada. Together, commercial and recreational fisheries are a $14 billion per year industry in this county,” said Rick Bates, CEO of the Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF). “However, aquatic ecosystems are imperilled by a range of threats, including habitat loss and fragmentation, alteration of water flows, barriers to fish passage, harmful aquaculture practices and climate change.”
CWF has been advocating for changes to the Act for many years and is pleased to see the improvements made that will help conserve our vital fisheries and aquatic ecosystems. The top changes to the Fisheries Act include:
- Reinstatement of the long-standing prohibition against the harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat
- Requiring rebuilding plans for fish stocks that have significantly declined
- Strengthened offsetting, including a new framework for habitat banking
- Greater transparency around decisions to authorize projects or activities that harm fish habitat.
Development of new regulations under the Act will provide further opportunities to improve the protection of fish habitat, Bates said. This is critical. The future of our fisheries depends on it.
CWF would like to see further strengthening of the permitting and offsetting provisions, including consultation and pilot studies to develop a third-party habitat banking tool in Canada. Other countries and regions are using third-party habitat banking as a modern way to encourage and support innovation in environmental conservation.
CWF also looks forward to working with the government and partners to protect and restore fish passage and address the cumulative effects of small projects that destroy fish habitat.
“It’s time to do more for wildlife, and a stronger and more effective Fisheries Act will help to conserve our oceans, lakes, and rivers and the species they support.”
About the Canadian Wildlife Federation:
The Canadian Wildlife Federation is dedicated to fostering awareness and appreciation of our natural world. By spreading knowledge of human impacts on the environment, conducting research, taking action to conserve habitat and wildlife, recommending legislative and policy changes, and co-operating with like-minded partners, CWF encourages a future in which Canadians can live in harmony with nature. Visit CanadianWildlifeFederation.ca for more information.
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