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Author Topic: Legal Staff In DFO Laid Off And New Questionable Habitat Restoration Program  (Read 1782 times)

chris gadsden

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 It is a note to inform the Vancouver Sun and CBC 5th Estate on issues discussed with them in the past week. Since this issue is of great interest to many Canadians I have copied it to several  other addresses. cheers Otto

On 6/27/2013 6:08 PM, Otto Langer wrote:
> Larry and Lynette
>
>   Further to our discussions about DFO, habitat and the recent information on 'DFO' lawyers being laid off,  DFO also recently announced a $10 million recreational fishery restoration program ie for 2013 to 2015 (announcement below and in attachment). It's monies are to be available  to ENGO type groups ie  not to First Nations food or commercial fish habitat. If you are not an angler, you need not apply!
>
>   First of all this small amount of money on the national scene is a drop in the bucket i.e.just $4M for all of Canada for the coming year. The habitat conservation and restoration program in 1998 to 2003 had about $11M per year - just for BC!. Also that 1998 program put $30M into a long term restoration fund that the BC Salmon Foundation now runs as arranged by Rick Hansen. DFO feels it is politically correct to restore what has been lost but do little to prevent the loss of what we now have. Its a lose - lose formula! This government must honestly determine why restoration is so sexy and why habitat protection is made to be so negative!
>
> This new program is an attempt by DFO and the Minister to try and recover from the damage done in their  relationship with ENGO (and conservation) groups by gutting the Fisheries Act and the cutting of most habitat staff and offices in Canada. One can only see it as a crude attempt by the government to try and gain a bit of positive PR and encourage its most vocal critics to forget what the Conservatives did to destroy habitat  and environmental protection in Canada. Unfortunately some ENGOs will fall for this trick and  trip over each other to get a buck in that  money is hard to come by..
>
> There is great irony in this new restoration program. Key concerns are:
>
> 1). The program will only take us to the next federal election! We have learned over the years that even 5 year programs are not long enough to give continuity to worthwhile programs of restoration or anything else affecting the natural world. It take government a year to get organized to run such programs and its only two years long!
>
> 2). Secondly, is it not ironic that the Harper government  and DFO now preach that lost or harmfully altered habitat is to be restored by ENGOS. Where will the DFO staff come from to run the program and supervise such work after most experienced  habitat staff have been laid off? Also why would you restore habitat when you just gutted the habitat provisions of the Fisheries Act to now say that harm to or loss of most habitat of most species of fish in Canada is now permitted in Canada? Does it make any sense to restore habitat when your new Act says its not going to protect much of that habitat from anything but permanent destruction?
>
> 3). This low profile program is an admission by DFO and their political leaders that habitat of all types is important and should not be lost as is now allowed by the new Fisheries Act passed by the Harper government in 2012. Indeed if it was was harmfully altered in the past, it is now to be restored. Why would we restore something that you now cannot now protect? Restoration is much  more costly and usually much less successful than the simple proactive act of protecting the habitat properly in the first place.
>
> 4). The program talks of partnerships with Provinces and industry. What signed agreements does DFO have with the provinces and industry to deliver on this? Is this just not like the federal training program that we see advertised each day on TV promising $15,000 to each worker for training but that is subject to 2/3 of that money coming  from the provinces or industry that have never bought into the program. When you advertise a program in isolation of true partnerships, it then is nothing but a cruel hoax.
>
> 5). DFO will respond and say they now do protect habitat from permanent destruction for commercial, recreational or aboriginal fisheries (CARF). However this program appears to be more than just restoring habitat that was permanently destroyed which is the new test as specified in the new Fisheries Act., However if it was permanently destroyed,how can it be restored? Should DFO policy, programs and logic not address this bundle of contradictions?
>
> 6). The program will only restore habitat of recreational fish. What are recreational fish? The Fisheries Act covers marine mammals, vertebrate fish and countless species of invertebrate fish including clams, shrimp, lobster, etc. Many of those invertebrate fish are indeed recreational species. DFO shows 39 recreational vertebrate fish species in their recreational poster. Canada has well over 500 marine vertebrate fish species and about 180 freshwater vertebrate fish species for a total of probably at least 700 species. Invertebrate species that are a key part of the fishery (directly and indirectly) will greatly expand this to thousands of species.
>
> This program will dissect out the habitat to restore for probably much less than 5% of those fish species. The program may buy a few votes but will do little to restore fish habitat that Canada's new Fisheries Act cannot protect from further harm or degradation! In fact, although the new Fisheries Act is a year old, DFO has still not been able to implement it and has no definition for what is the permanent destruction of fish habitat - the only habitat protection tool they now have as related to CAR fisheries.
>
> How do you approach an ecosystem and dissect out and just restore the habitat of fish that you can put on the end  of a fishing rod? The DFO's political, legal and bureaucratic ignorance of ecosystems and the need to protect and maintain  a collage of species in diverse habitats for the overall fisheries, aquatic and associated terrestrial  health has reached a new low under DFO  Minster Ashfield.
>
>   We now have no legislation to proactively protect habitat from harmful alteration yet DFO now finds $10M to restore habitat that has been harmfully altered in the past! Does the Ministers office and the DFO bureaucratic hand not know what the political hand has done?  Why now restore something that you cannot now legally protect? This is another example that again shows that DFO does not know what it is doing and has no leadership to determine what the government did to the Fisheries Act in Bill C 38 in 2012 and how to advance a policy and program to deliver on what are really false promises from the Ministers office ie better and more focused protection for the fish of Canada. The bigger unanswered question remains - why did the Harper government gut the habitat provisions of the Fisheries Act and now in an era of cost cutting, promote the restoration of that habitat?
>
> In the good old days, when reality was a factor, DFO used to advertise, "No Habitat - No Fish" . Could Minister Ashfield please outline the new habitat vision - is it - "Hopefully More Fish From Less Habitat"?  Also while he is at it  could the Minister advise us on how he is to implement the Cohen Commission's recommendations related to habitat and enforcment?
> In that the the Minister's and the RDG's  offices  blocks my emails, I ask his(her) staff to pass this on to them.
>
>
>
> Otto E. Langer
> Fisheries Biologist and Aquatic Ecologist
> Past habitat protection biologist with DFO (1969 - 2002).
> Ted Barsby (BCWF) BC Conservationist of the Year 2009
> Roland Mitchner (CWF) Canadian Conservationist of the Year 2010.

islanddude

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The word "crude " is the reality of the gutted fisheries act and environment protection legislation. The goverment with its leader wants those petro-dollars and the pipe lines to deliver that toxic slurry. We have poisoned the area around the the tar sands so lets build a refinery so at least we ship less volitile products and make more money. Yea money, more money, dam the environment and people that live there and on the proposed pipe line routes.
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