- Our Town
New Fisheries Act cuts red tape
Thank you for the opportunity to respond to Dr. Alejandro Frid’s November 29th article, which dealt in part with Fisheries Act changes. He raised issues vital to BC and the country
Firstly, the thrust of the Government’s habitat protection has been to consolidate work in three specified areas rather than to dilute effort across limitless categories of habitat. The changes to the Fisheries Act were made to remove needless, bureaucratic red tape that was, in fact, a barrier to the protection of our environment. Prior to the amendments, all activities – from the largest industrial development to the smallest project on private lands (such as drainage ditches and irrigation channels for agriculture fields) were subject to the same rules. Every project went through the same departmental review, which was both time-consuming and costly to taxpayers.
On June 29 2012, amendments to the Fisheries Act received Royal Assent. The changes will focus the Act on protecting the productivity of recreational, commercial and Aboriginal fisheries.
The Government is now focusing protection rules on real and significant threats to the fisheries and the habitat that supports them, while setting clear standards and guidelines for routine projects.
The new Fisheries Act will:
Focus on managing threats to the sustainability and ongoing productivity of Canada’s commercial, recreational and Aboriginal fisheries;
Provide enhanced compliance and protection tools;
Provide clarity, certainty and consistency of regulatory requirements
Enable enhanced partnerships to ensure agencies and organizations that are best placed to provide fisheries protection services to Canadians are enabled to do so.
I have taken fisheries matters as a priority in my work as Bowen’s MP and have steadily sought to reflect constituents’ concerns, through the formation of an active round table group that has met continually since 2009; through the bringing of the Fisheries Minister and her staff to our riding on several occasions; through my work on the Fisheries Committee; and through advocacy that contributed to various initiatives, such as the creation of the Fisheries Recreation Partnership Program and the tripling of support for the Pacific Salmon Foundation, both in Budget 2013.
Meanwhile the Department of Fisheries and Oceans will continue to conduct reviews of projects that pose a serious risk to fisheries and the habitats that support them. For projects of low risk, guidelines and standards have been established so that these will be able to proceed safely.
John Weston, M.P.
West Vancouver – Sunshine Coast – Sea to Sky Country