DFO Pledges to Maintain BC Fish Habitat

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is making changes to streamline the Fisheries Act and also reorganizing its BC operations that protect fish habitat.

Delegates at the UBCM convention heard today from Brad Fanos, Regional Manager for the DFO's Fisheries Protection Program, who explained that although fisheries officers are being removed from the field in a number of BC locations, fish habitat will still be vigorously protected.

Fanos said the emphasis will be on determining whether development projects that may affect habitat are low risk, or high risk. He says a triage approach to vet development applications will allow DFO to quickly assess lower risk projects, while approaching higher risk ones with a more vigorous approach and field assessments.

Jason Hwang of the program also explained that changes to the Fisheries Act will serve to better combine protection activities for both fish and their habitat. He added the changes also give the Minister of Fisheries latitude to make a final determination on a given project based on additional factors beyond the actual findings of any project review. He pointed out that was something not previously entrenched in the Fisheries Act before.

Delegates expressed concern about the impacts of the changes and sought clarification about how existing agreements and arrangements with DFO would be handled under the new regulatory environment. UBCM will continue to monitor implementation in the coming weeks and months and welcomes feedback from the membership as this file evolves.

Meta Navigation