Two Federal Bills Promising Protection

The Federal Government recently tabled a series of new bills focused on Canada’s oceans, lakes and rivers. The new Bills are intended to restore or create new protection measures for fish, their habitat, and our fresh and salt water ecosystems that constitute 70 per cent of Canada’s territory. Here to bring us up to speed on what all these new initiatives mean for the environment is Lawrence Gunther, our regular environmental contributor, and host of the Blue Fish Radio Show heard every Friday at 8: p.m. on AMI Audio.

(Transcript of Lawrence Gunther’s bi-weekly 12-minute segment on Live from Studio 5 broadcast over AMI TV and Audio across Canada)

Q. Welcome back Lawrence, what are the three Bills and what do they have in common?

A. All three bill’s emphasize science. The inherent value of fish and fish habitats have finally been restored, leading towards a sustainable way of managing this vital part of our environment.

Q. What is the purpose of Bill C-55?

A. It gives the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans the ability to enact restrictions on activities with respect to each new Marine Protection Area.

Q. What about Bill C-69?

A. Bill C-69 amends the Navigation Protection Act so the Minister of Transport can approve any new developments that impact navigable waters.
A. All major projects on all navigable waterways will be required to undergo a review.
A. Navigable waters include those used for commercial, recreational and Indigenous uses, and waters of broader social, cultural and environmental value.

Q. What does Bill c-68 mean to the Fisheries Act?

A. Promises to strengthen protections to preserve the independence of inshore fisheries.
A. It means individual fishermen are required to fish their licences personally and reap the rewards
A. Decisions will take into consideration social and economic impacts when managing fisheries.
A. Restoring prohibitions on harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat.
A. A commitment to “science-based decision making,” and an “ecosystem” and “precautionary” approach to fisheries management
A. Fully integrates First Nations into fisheries.
A. Twenty years after a Supreme Court of Canada ruling that Indigenous people are entitled to earn a moderate livelihood from the fishery.

Q. I understand whales and dolphins are also covered under this Bill?

A. Ban capturing whales, dolphins and porpoises in Canada for the purpose of keeping them in captivity
A. Exemptions for cetaceans that are injured and need to be rehabilitated