UBCM Meets with DFO on Fisheries Act

On March 22, UBCM met with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to discuss the amendments to the Fisheries Act and changes within DFO.

The Act was amended in June 2012 through Bill C-38 and introduces a number of changes including: a new focus on protecting recreational, commercial and Aboriginal fisheries; and identifying and managing threats to fisheries, including habitat destruction and aquatic invasive species.

At the meeting, DFO provided information on:
  • DFO's new approach to fisheries protection
  • The sections of the Act that are already in force, and those that will come into effect at a later date
  • The new prohibition (section 35 [1]) which merges the previous section 32 on killing of fish, with section 35 on harm to fish habitat
  • The new framework for decision making including the purpose (section 6.1) and factors to inform decisions (section 6)
  • Definitions that were modified in the new Act
  • Changes to the section on fish passage and flow
  • New provisions on enhancing compliance and protection
  • Regulatory tools to streamline the review process and increase efficiency
  • New time limits for DFO to issue authorizations
  • Regulations on aquatic invasive species
  • New provisions for partnerships with third parties

UBCM has requested additional opportunities for consultation with BC local governments as DFO moves forward with implementation. Also, UBCM's Community Economic Development Committee will discuss the issue further at the April Executive meeting for a decision on next steps.

More information on the presentation can be found on the DFO website. For questions or comments on the presentation and meeting, please contact Marylyn Chiang.  Comments and questions by BC local governments will be compiled by UBCM and submitted to DFO for a response.

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