Freshwater fish Freshwater Conservation planning Indigenous partnerships

Implementation of the Fisheries Act - Cumulative Effects

Bates, R. et al.


Abstract

Joint letter to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard noting a lack of meaningful improvements on issues with the Fisheries Act.

"We are writing to express our serious concerns with your department’s approach to implementing the amended Fisheries Act and addressing cumulative effects. Many of our organizations have previously written to you about these concerns and we therefore request a meeting with you to discuss this issue.

In 2019 Parliament established a specific mandate to address cumulative effects associated with regulations and decision-making under the Act. Unfortunately, DFO is failing to follow the new legal requirement to consider cumulative effects when making policies and regulations, resulting in the ongoing degradation of fish habitat in Canada.

We are aware of the long-standing challenges in undertaking cumulative effects assessments in an environmental assessment framework, but that is not what this correspondence is about. Instead, we are referring to the specific accumulating effects of projects that are directly mismanaged by DFO. Currently, your department only uses the authorizations process for under 200 projects per year (for which offsets are required to address harm). Meanwhile, your department allows thousands of other projects that result in the death of fish or HADD to proceed unchecked despite being explicitly prohibited by the Act. No offsets are provided, and these “death by a thousand cuts” losses continue to accumulate.

There are decades of empirical observation and analysis confirming significant habitat loss resulting from the routine application of Fisheries Act regulations and related policies as well as decision-making frameworks. But despite substantial amendments to the Act in 2019, no meaningful improvements are being made to address these issues."

Recommended citation

Bates, R. et al. (2023). Implementation of the Fisheries Act - Cumulative Effects. WCS Canada. https://library.wcs.org/DesktopModules/Bring2mind/DMX/API/Entries/Download?EntryId=45814&PortalId=96

Justina Ray

Justina Ray

President & Senior Scientist

Constance O'Connor

Constance O'Connor

Director, Ontario Northern Boreal Program

Why we need to quickly close the gap between words and actions in Canada’s new Impact Assessment Act

Why we need to quickly close the gap between words and actions in Canada’s new Impact Assessment Act

The new bill remains a compromise that is unlikely to meet the government’s ambitious goals.
Justina Ray, Cheryl Chetkiewicz

Caribou a key test of federal resolve to protect species at risk

Caribou a key test of federal resolve to protect species at risk

Following right on the heels of Halloween, the federal government has released a very scary report on how caribou are faring across Canada.
Justina Ray