Recent cuts to Environment Canada's operating budget have left the department a shadow of its former self and unable to enforce what little environmental laws are left. The Harper Government has burned enough environmental legislation to keep the Minister warm for an entire winter in her home in chilly Gjoa Haven. Nero fiddles while Rome burns.
In our view, these regulations allow the ministers to authorize a broad range of pollution with few limits or checks and balances. It is natural to fear that the federal government is preparing to abdicate its responsibilities to protect fish from pollution.
Scientists are calling it "libricide." Seven of the nine world-famous Department of Fisheries and Oceans [DFO] libraries were closed by autumn 2013, ostensibly to digitize the materials and reduce costs. But sources told the independent Tyee in December that a fraction of the 600,000-volume collection had been digitized. Irreplaceable documents like the 50 volumes produced by the H.M.S. Challenger expedition of the late 1800s that discovered thousands of new sea creatures, are now moldering in landfills.
Fishermen posing on piles of dead marine animals has Fisheries and Oceans Canada investigating the possibility of poaching
Last week, The Cohen Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River released its Final Report. Although a wide variety of issues are covered, the 75 recommendations can be summarized into five key points.
The Canadian Senate, our Senate, has just released its report on the "management" of grey seal populations on Canada's East Coast and recommends spending millions in taxpayer dollars on an "experiment" that is so incredibly flawed that, whatever the result, it will be entirely unreliable.
There was plenty of evidence presented to the Senate Committee that a cull of grey seals would be scientifically risky, unethical, and expensive. Yet, on Tuesday, the senate recommended one anyway. In addition to scientists and sealers -- most Canadians are also opposed to a seal cull. First, It is unlikely that a cull in Eastern Canada would have a substantial positive effect on cod populations. Second, that the majority of grey seal diets consists of fatty forage fish such as herring, sand lance, and other small fish, and therefore they would not expect much, if any, benefit of culling seals on cod.
The Harper government is waging war on Canada's fresh water. Industry will now have unprecedented influence over water protection policy and the Harper cabinet will make decisions about which watersheds deserve protection based on political, not scientific, grounds. What a travesty Harper has decided to sacrifice our freshwater heritage in order to please his industry friends.
Despite the knowledge that many species depend on salmon, humans have never managed fisheries with wildlife in mind. A salmon can enter a fishing net or the mouth of a grizzly bear, but can we manage for the interests of both?
Recently, leaked information has shown that the Canadian government is considering drastic changes to section 35(1) of the Fisheries Act, removing provisions that prevent any industrial activities which "result in the harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat." So, why should you care?