Monday, May 14, 2012
Canadian Fisheries Act Needs to be Strengthened Not Gutted
The Fisheries Act is one of Canada's oldest environmental laws and provides the basis for many of the crucial protections afforded to fish and their habitats. Despite its importance as a legal principle, the law remains weak because it allows managers discretion in its implementation and many logging, mining, and hydroelectric projects have been allowed to violate the fisheries act over the years on the discretion of bureaucrats. Now in an attempt to crush opposition to the Enbridge Pipeline and other resource extraction projects, the Conservative Government has moved to weaken habitat protections afforded by the fisheries act even further. Fisheries are a multimillion dollar industry in Canada and the Federal Government should be strengthening habitat protections, not undermining them to ensure the most rapid extraction of natural resources possible. Ecojustice, a Canadian Environmental Law group put out an excellent brief on the Fisheries Act, the reforms that are needed to ensure that legal protections for fish habitat are effective, and the changes recently implemented by the federal government that weaken protection for fish habtiat.