In 2013, the Conservatives made sweeping changes to the Fisheries Act, allowing for the dumping of harmful substances into waterways. This massive change threatens all Canadian freshwater fish species. The decision came despite widespread criticism and opposition from Canadian scientists.
Experts say that the Fisheries Act used to be one of the strongest laws this country had to preserve and protect Canadian marine ecosystems. Indeed, it is one of the country’s oldest environmental laws, as the early founders of Canada realized the importance of clean and lively waterways, an importance that carries through to this day.
The Conservatives’ gutting of the Fisheries Act will lead to predictable negative effects, such as depleting water quality and declining fish populations, all in the interest of corporations that have showed no concern for the environment or the families who enjoy and take pride in the Canadian wilderness.
Further, proposed new responsibilities under the Fisheries Act are not being implemented. A recent article in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences found that the Fisheries Act is failing to protect species not listed under the revised Species at Risk Act, despite that being a mandate of the revised Act.
The changes made in 2013 have created a situation in which the Act now fails to protect more than 80 per cent of freshwater fish than it previously did. Without proper funding and without the support of the federal government, Canadian scientists struggle to fully implement the Fisheries Act and protect Canadian marine wildlife.
We are calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna to restore the Fisheries Act to its old self, and reverse the threatening decision made two years ago that will have devastating effects on Canadian fish habitats.
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Protect our environment. Protect our economy. Protect our fish.