April 25, 2012
Nepean —Pierre Poilievre, Member of Parliament for Nepean-Carleton, was joined by the Honorable Keith Ashfield, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, at Chapman Mills Conservation Area to announce that the government will introduce new measures to protect the productivity of recreational, commercial and Aboriginal fisheries.
Under the Fisheries Act, no distinction is drawn between the vital waterways, lakes and rivers that support Canada’s fisheries and small bodies of water that may not even be home to fish. For example, under the current system, drainage ditches, man-made reservoirs and irrigation channels are subject to the same rules and guidelines as rivers, lakes, and oceans that support fish and local fisheries.
This has presented problems in the past, even for Poilievre’s constituents. “A few years ago, one of my constituents, Nick Richardson, was trying to clear some material from a ditch in his farm, but was prevented from doing so due to wetland regulations,” said Poilievre. “These unnecessary regulations caused the landowner’s field and two local roads to flood before he was finally permitted to clear the materials.”
The changes today will mean focusing protection rules on real and significant threats to these fisheries and the habitat that supports them while setting clear standards and guidelines for other routine projects. Additionally, it will strengthen partnerships with provinces and conservation groups as well as creating better tools to ensure compliance and enforce the rules where necessary.
“We have been clear that the current rules governing the protection of fish habitat are indiscriminate and unfocused and do not reflect the priorities of Canadians,” continued Minister Ashfield. “We are committed to making sure our rules protect the fisheries that Canadians value and the habitat that supports them. We can do this while giving Canadians the freedom to maintain their properties and minimizing restrictions on activities that have little to no impact on Canada’s fisheries.”
“The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) agrees that Canada’s fish habitat protection policies need to be improved,” said Dr. Terry Quinney, Provincial Manager of Fish and Wildlife Services. “We are convinced that with the participation of stakeholders like the OFAH and others across the country, that better protection and enhancement of our fisheries, habitat and aquatic ecosystems can be achieved. We look forward to working with the Minister and Government of Canada on these important issues”
Photo – Left-to-Right:
Dr. Terry Quinney, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, Provincial Manager of Fish and Wildlife Services; Jim Brennan, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Director of Government Affairs; Pierre Poilievre, Member of Parliament for Nepean-Carleton; Honourable Keith Ashfield, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway; Andrea Barnett, Ducks Unlimited Canada, National Policy Analyst