On May 5, 2021, Watershed Watch Salmon Society executive director Aaron Hill presented to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans (FOPO), alongside Jesse Zeman from BC Wildlife Federation, Jason Hwang from Pacific Salmon Foundation, Darren Haskell from Tl’azt’en Nation, and BC Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Fin Donnelly.
FOPO is made up of MPs from all the main political parties. They interview government officials, outside experts and stakeholders on important issues facing Canada’s fisheries and oceans, and report back to Parliament with their findings and recommendations. As a committee, they don’t have the power to make management decisions or change laws, but they do have a bit of sway sometimes.
Watch Aaron Hill’s presentation.
Great to see some qualified people discussing salmon issues with politicians. I know a couple of the people mentioned above and they are great in their fields. I agree with nearly everything presented. What is missing and nearly always missing is a voice for enforcement. If proper enforcement had been happening we wouldn’t have to try restore so much habitat or have such depleted stocks. DFO habitat experts were also eliminated in the past by a DFO senior manager who went on to run the region after destroying the department’s ability to protect habitat. Past DFO resource managers have allowed overfishing of the stocks due to political and internal pressure from industry. Again, enforcement is never discussed when it’s needed. Every single inquiry I’m aware of in the past 45 years has talked about the need for increased enforcement. A few dollars are sometimes allocated until the heat dissipates before the cuts are reimplemented.
Great ideas and keep up the good work but remember to include some advice to protect and enforce the fish and habitat laws or your conservation and restoration efforts are futile. Contact me any time if you’re interested.
Hi Randy, excellent point. In my effort to squeeze all my points into a short 5-minute blurb I inadvertently left out mentioning enforcement. I agree 100% that enforcement needs to be on the list of things to be funding from these budget commitments on fishery and habitat management. Thanks so much all that you did on that front during your career and for keeping after it still. I would love to pick you brain some time.
In case some may not know, Nelson was Regional Director of Conservation and Enforcement, the tough part of DFO, against fisheries transgressions. You should read his book, Poachers, Polluters and Politics, Harbour Publishing.
I did a review on his book, and you may read it here: http://onfishingdcreid.blogspot.com/2014/10/poachers-polluters-and-politics-by.html.
Interesting Randy. Of course, as you know full well, enforcement is mentioned in all those reports because DFO C&P has mobilized extremely effective lobbies for more funding/staffing during all of those inquiries, whether or not any of the metrics suggested enforcement was an issue. My problem w/ the entrenched DFO way of announcing funding and then allowing Sectors to squabble over its allocation is that for those 45-years it has led to unbalanced program delivery which hamstrings the cooperative implementation of DFOs mandates.
As a very simple example would be enforcement capacity in your old BC Interior Region where the enforcement capacity is so significantly higher than DFOs habitat Sector, who has never been resourced enough to keep its head above the basic regulatory ‘water”, let alone support reactive enforcement or the dream of proactive monitoring, auditing and strategic enforcement. Enforcement without the necessary regulatory supports and defensible monitoring audits to focus what will always be a limited resource, ends up in a lot of effort for little result.
I’m not saying enforcement shouldn’t be a key part of a holistic approach but, I am saying enforcement simply for enforcement sake is not tax payers dollars week spent compared to proper strategic planning and implementation in lockstep with Fish Mgmt and Habitat.
Food for thought, anyways?