WWF Canada Blog:
Fresh Water

News, views and analysis from our team as we work to create solutions to conservation challenges facing our planet.


Fish can’t speak out, but you can! Save the Fisheries Act- it’s not too late!

While the news this week that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has no formal plans to consult the public or stakeholders on still-pending changes to the Fisheries Act included in Bill C-38 back in June is not surprising, it is troubling.

© Noah Cole, WWF-Canada

On June 27, 2012, in the wake of Bill C-38, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Keith Ashfield announced a “nationwide public engagement and consultations process to be held throughout the summer and fall to develop the policy and regulatory framework that will support changes to the Fisheries Act adopted by the House of Commons earlier this month.” Background documents supporting this announcement state: “Through Summer and Fall 2012, the Department will engage Canadians, through a series of roundtables and meetings, and online, to get their feedback on various elements of the Government of Canada’s fisheries protection approach.”

These announcements signal that there may still be an opportunity for people and organizations like WWF to influence the governments’ new approach to fisheries management, and to appeal to the Minister and the Department through a formal process to maintain the important protections for fish habitat – not just fisheries – that have not yet been removed from the Fisheries Act(but remain on the chopping block). But it seems now that the department is backing away from this commitment to consult or is being quite selective and surgical, far from transparent with respect to who they consult and how.

The changes to the Fisheries Act and new regulations made under it, will have implications for the health of rivers and lakes across the Canada – not just for fish – but for all species, including us humans, who all depend on safe, healthy waters.

Please take a moment to call or email the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to share your concerns on this issue and to ask if the government plans to make good on their commitment to engage Canadians on protecting our fisheries and the waters that sustain them.


  • Greg Nearing

    Don’t change the laws that protect our fish & wildlife habatat. Invest in alternative energy that will protect the enviornment & the Canadian people.

  • Erin

    Water is the foundation of life on this planet. No amount of money or technology will ever change that. Protecting our waterways should be a top priority, not a disposable option for the sake of the economy.

  • Jules Hare

    We must stand together to make a change. The destruction of a natural ecosystem as sensitive as the water is deplorable. If we want to preserve the earth for our children and the generations to come after that, then we have to act now against bills like this!

  • Eve Thorne

    This is the first time I’ve heard about the government consulting with the public on fisheries. I think they put the cart before the horse by gutting the Fisheries Act and the Navigable Waterways Act – didn’t the public protest strongly enough against those actions? Is there anything left to protect? A good start would be to repeal the changes they made to our conservation measures.

  • Donna Martin

    Please stop the rush to exploit our resources for the benefit of off shore stake holders. Our waters and air are precious and must be preserved for future generations.

  • Claire

    to sacrifice the health of our oceans & fish for the short term gain of a few mega-rich petro-corporations is patently insane. WHY IS HARPER SO INTENT ON SELLING EVERYTHING IN CANADA TO THE LOWEST BIDDER???????

  • Melanie

    Please do not remove current protections for Canada’s fish, fish habitat, waterways, wildlife and environment! I am shocked and deeply disturbed by the reversal in conservation and protection efforts being pushed through this govt’s 2 ‘omnibus’ (ominous) budget bills. Please save the Canada the huge majority of Canadians love. Don’t sell out our natural bounty for oil and fighter jets!

  • Marie Lefort

    I heard the news this week that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has no formal plans to consult the public or stakeholders on still-pending changes to the Fisheries Act included in Bill C-38 back in June and I want to share my concerns on this issue and to ask if the government plans to stay true to their commitment to engage Canadians on protecting our fisheries and the waters that sustain them.
    All waters and their inhabitants are so important for the life of everyone on this planet! Please open your heart and let’s all work together to save these endangered areas and species for the good of all.

  • http://WWF barbara

    Help save our Oceans and fish. Once they’re gone, they’re gone!