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Results: 1 - 15 of 15
View Robert Sopuck Profile
CPC (MB)
Mr. Speaker, the minister is being very disingenuous here. I sat in on the hearings of Bill C-68. Not a single opponent of what we did in 2012 could prove, in any way, shape or form, that those changes had any effect on fish populations or fish communities. Colleagues can look at the record.
Under our former Conservative government, in 2010, for example, the Pacific salmon run in the Fraser River was a record. In 2014, that run was even higher. Under the Liberal government's watch, Pacific salmon stocks are collapsing and the Chinook salmon stock is the poster boy for that.
Our committee produced a unanimous report on Atlantic salmon, with a number of recommendations. We saw the minister's response. Not a single part of that letter dealt with the 17 unanimous recommendations, such as smallmouth bass in Miramichi Lake, overfishing by Greenland and excessive predation by seals and striped bass. The response did not deal with any of that.
Why is this department so inept and uncaring for fisheries communities and fish stocks?
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-05-02 16:57 [p.27321]
Madam Speaker, I suspect that the member of the New Democratic Party has not really gone through the many different initiatives the government has undertaken with respect to our salmon. Also, a person does not have to be from British Columbia to be passionate about this particular issue.
The member made reference to the idea of taking a local approach. The Government of Canada agrees with that approach of looking toward our communities and working with other stakeholders.
Let me give a sense of some of the things that are happening.
In partnership with the provincial government, we created the British Columbia salmon restoration and innovation fund, to which the government will contribute $100 million over five years. This goes along with provincial funding of over $42 million. We are also proposing $5 million in funding to the Pacific salmon endowment fund.
We have also hired 29 new scientists in the Pacific region. Moreover, in 2019-20, we will be investing $107.4 million over five years, as well as $17.6 million per year ongoing to support the stock assessment and rebuilding provisions in the new Fisheries Act, which will cover priority Pacific salmon stocks.
We have also taken steps to support conservation and promote rebuilding through the salmonid enhancement program and the coastal restoration fund, with investments totalling $18 million. This will support 13 habitat restoration projects in B.C. alone.
We are investing $1.3 million toward implementing the Pacific salmon treaty. This funding will be used for completing existing stock assessments and catch monitoring. We have also made key investments to mark the international year of the salmon and have introduced our new wild salmon policy implementation plan, lasting from 2018 to 2022, which will ensure the recovery of the species.
To give the false impression that this government is comparable in any way to the Conservative Party does a disservice to our constituents and to Canadians. The government has been very proactive in recognizing how important our salmon industry is to our country.
We also recognize the things that take place during the salmon run. I have never witnessed it first-hand, but I have had the opportunity to see it through documentaries and I have heard individuals talk about it. Recognizing the importance of the salmon run goes beyond the member opposite and the New Democratic Party.
I believe the vast majority of Canadians want the government to take action on this, as it is an important file to all Canadians. That is exactly what the government has been doing. Our ministers and the parliamentary secretary have been working hand in hand with the civil service, the province and other stakeholders to address this very serious issue.
It is more than just talk as well. It is about tens of millions of dollars. It is about engaging various stakeholders in order to resolve this issue.
The government of Canada is listening and is working with community leaders and other stakeholders to ensure the protection of our salmon run, and I think that is a good thing.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-05-02 17:02 [p.27322]
Madam Speaker, the member is simply wrong. She does have a responsibility to communicate the reality of what is actually taking place. Now she is saying that the issue arose previously, or in other words with the Conservatives and what has taken place in the last 20 years, less the most recent three years.
I am talking about what this government, the Prime Minister, the minister and his parliamentary secretary have been doing in the last three years, in the time since the Prime Minister has been responsible for governing the nation and dealing with important issues, and the salmon run is important to this government. That is the reason we have invested tens of millions of dollars and that is why we are working co-operatively with the various stakeholders and others: to ensure that we are doing whatever we can.
This means investing time, energy and money in working with the community. I believe this will pay off, and that is what the member should be conveying to her constituents.
View Dominic LeBlanc Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Dominic LeBlanc Profile
2018-03-26 16:28 [p.18105]
Mr. Speaker, I have taken note of this obviously important court case in the province of British Columbia. It is difficult to comment on matters that are before the court and may come back to the court.
We look forward to working with indigenous peoples and the Government of British Columbia with respect to the issue of aquaculture.
View Dominic LeBlanc Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Dominic LeBlanc Profile
2017-12-05 14:58 [p.16027]
Mr. Speaker, as I have said a number of times in the House, and I have shared with my colleagues on this side of the House of Commons from British Columbia, and in numerous discussions with the provincial government, we understand the concern that people have, British Columbians have, with respect to wild Pacific salmon stocks. We also understand that our government has a responsibility to work with the province, to work with the industry, to ensure that all of the necessary reviews, audits, all of the necessary compliance measures are in place, including rigorous science. That is what we will continue to do, and we will work with indigenous communities in doing that as well.
View Dominic LeBlanc Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Dominic LeBlanc Profile
2017-11-23 14:55 [p.15511]
Mr. Speaker, my colleague knows that this government is working very hard to protect wild salmon stocks in this province. In fact, we are investing record amounts of money in marine and ocean science. We have a $1.5-billion oceans protection program. My colleagues from British Columbia have talked to us constantly about world-class organizations like the Pacific Salmon Foundation. We will continue to do everything we need to do to protect wild salmon stocks in British Columbia.
View Terry Duguid Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Terry Duguid Profile
2017-11-23 18:34 [p.15543]
Madam Speaker, I would like to state for the record that my colleague, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, has made the conservation of Pacific salmon a top priority for his department. The minister is taking a leadership role with both global and domestic actions to address the trend of declining stocks.
This government understands the economic and cultural importance of this resource. Pacific salmon contributes to the B.C. economy and creates jobs in our coastal and local communities. This is why we are reinvesting in science, and engaging with indigenous groups, recreational fishers, and other stakeholder groups to support initiatives that will promote the recovery of these stocks.
For instance, in budget 2016, this government allocated $197.1 million in ocean and freshwater science. This is helping us deploy additional scientists to work on Pacific salmon. We remain committed to the conservation of wild Pacific salmon and the broader salmonid enhancement program, which will receive $27 million in federal funding this year, as well as a new $75-million coastal restoration package as part of our $1.5-billion oceans protection plan. Another $1.4-billion investment, as a result of the department's recent comprehensive review, has been added to support more evidence-based decision-making, more scientists, more habitat restoration, and more community partnerships.
The Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard also has a mandate and a commitment to review the Fisheries Act to restore lost protections and incorporate modern safeguards. We are confident that any changes that will be brought forward to the Fisheries Act will benefit the habitat and conservation of all fish species, including Pacific salmon.
This government recognizes that strong and concerted action on the domestic front alone is not enough for the full stewardship of this important resource. We need to be active and forceful on the international front as well. I am pleased that Canada is currently in negotiations with the U.S. on the Pacific Salmon Treaty for five of the fishing chapters. These fishing chapters establish the requirements to conduct stock assessment, catch-monitoring, escapement-monitoring, and stock-monitoring activities. Signed and ratified in 1985, this treaty commits our two countries to work together on the conservation and sustainable management of Pacific salmon. The treaty is critical to the protection of Pacific salmon because of the salmon migration patterns. Salmon that spawn in Canadian rivers will often travel through U.S. waters over the course of their life cycle, prior to returning to their natal stream. A high degree of bilateral co-operation is essential to limit their interception by harvesters in U.S. waters and vice versa.
Finally, we will seek to ensure that Canadian cultural, social, and economic interests are safeguarded in the renewal of the treaty. Pacific salmon can only be protected if Canada works both domestically and internationally. To this end, this government remains fully engaged and committed.
View Terry Duguid Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Terry Duguid Profile
2017-11-23 18:39 [p.15543]
Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his passion on this issue. I will assure him that the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard has made the conservation of Pacific salmon a top priority and is working very hard to address the trend of declining stocks.
This government remains committed to the conservation of wild Pacific salmon by injecting new investments into federal funding this year to support more evidence-based decision-making. We are hiring more scientists, supporting more habitat restoration projects, and developing more community partnerships. I hope the hon. member would support that.
Finally, Pacific salmon can only be protected if Canada works both domestically and internationally. To this end, this government remains fully engaged and committed.
View Dominic LeBlanc Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Dominic LeBlanc Profile
2017-10-30 14:59 [p.14681]
Mr. Speaker, I had the chance to be in his province of British Columbia where I met with some first nations leaders this past weekend.
We obviously understand and accept the legitimate concern that so many people have about these practices. That is why we have made unprecedented investments in science and the oceans protection plan, and why we are working with the Government of British Columbia. I have had a number of very positive discussions with Minister Popham about how we can work together. Her report will come out next month, and we will work with her government to make sure this is done properly.
View Dominic LeBlanc Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Dominic LeBlanc Profile
2017-09-19 14:56 [p.13236]
Mr. Speaker, I was in British Columbia two weeks ago. I had the privilege to discuss this important issue with my new counterpart in the provincial government of British Columbia. We share the concern of all British Columbians with respect to the escape that took place in the United States. We obviously are working with American authorities to understand exactly how that happened and understand what, if any, impact it will have in Canadian rivers.
I can say to all Canadians that my colleagues from British Columbia, and in fact all British Columbians, have made it clear to our government that they want us to do everything possible to ensure that aquaculture can be done safely. We are open to all options to ensure that this can be done.
View Dominic LeBlanc Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Dominic LeBlanc Profile
2017-06-06 14:51 [p.12121]
Mr. Speaker, we heard the concerns of British Columbians and all Canadians when we decided as a government to invest massively in the oceans protection plan. It is good to protect marine ecosystems. It improves search and rescue capacity on all of Canada's coasts, particularly in British Columbia.
I was proud to be there last week to announce four new lifeboat rescue stations on the coast of British Columbia. We will continue to protect fish habitat and work with the volunteer groups in that province and all across the country that do such outstanding work.
View Dominic LeBlanc Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Dominic LeBlanc Profile
2017-06-05 14:54 [p.12004]
Mr. Speaker, our government has invested massively in marine science, ocean protection, and habitat protection.
We are proceeding, I hope this fall, in collaboration with the members of the standing committee to restore loss protections that were taken out of the Fisheries Act. We recognize the important contribution that the salmonid enhancement program has made for a long time, in particular and including the work of volunteers across the province of British Columbia, including in the classrooms.
I was in Victoria last week to announce a significant investment in exactly this kind of initiative, and we will work with these groups to ensure that this important work continues.
View Serge Cormier Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Serge Cormier Profile
2016-12-02 11:52 [p.7581]
Mr. Speaker, I share my colleague's concerns. Regarding his first question on whales, as everyone knows, our department is committed to ensuring the health and safety of aquatic environments. That is what we do in all of our activities related to aquaculture. Although it is extremely rare, it is an unfortunate thing when these marine mammals have adverse interactions with aquaculture operations and other marine industrial operations. Our department will continue looking into all marine mammal interactions and adjusting the permits accordingly in order to protect these species. I can assure the House that we take these concerns very seriously.
View Serge Cormier Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Serge Cormier Profile
2016-11-01 18:00 [p.6446]
Mr. Speaker, I want to start by recognizing the good work the member for Port Moody—Coquitlam is doing, his continued dedication to the issues concerning aquaculture on the west coast of Canada, and his good work on the fisheries and oceans and Canadian Coast Guard committee.
I would like to assure him and all Canadian stakeholders that our government takes these issues very seriously as we continue to support the responsible development of a sustainable aquaculture industry in Canada. I also want to thank all my B.C. colleagues who took the time to speak with me and inform me about the aquaculture industry in their province.
The government is absolutely determined to conserve wild Pacific salmon and ensure that our wild salmon populations remain healthy for generations to come.
To show our commitment, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard went to British Columbia in August to announce that our government would continue to follow up on the recommendations of the Cohen Commission, which include tangible measures to conserve and protect wild Pacific salmon, measures backed by new investments in ocean sciences announced in budget 2016.
These new investments include research and monitoring in support of sustainable aquaculture and the improved health of fish stocks. We are hiring new scientists, biologists, oceanographers, and technicians to increase the monitoring of salmon populations, better predict where salmon mortality occurs, and increase our investment in fish health. This scientific data is used to inform aquaculture fisheries management and regulatory decision-making.
We have also held extensive consultations with first nations, environmental NGOs, and industry stakeholders on the choice of site for finfish aquaculture in British Columbia.
We are working on having assessments done of the risks associated with the transfer of pathogens between farmed salmon and wild salmon, taking into account the potential repercussions on the aquatic environment, when determining the optimal location and issuing the licence.
Bill C-228 seeks to relocate all the aquaculture finfish in Canadian waters off the Pacific coast to closed containment cultivation facilities.
Closed containment cultivation technology is still not technically viable. The only feasible possibility technically speaking would be land-based recirculating aquaculture systems, which are limited and not necessarily financially viable.
The bill addresses cultivated Atlantic salmon, but many other species would also be affected, including coho salmon, certified organic chinook salmon, rainbow trout, and black cod.
I would like to remind my colleagues that the aquaculture industry in British Columbia is already under federal regulation as a result of the 2009 decision by the British Columbia Supreme Court. The regulatory changes that were brought in at that time enable me to say with confidence that aquaculture in British Columbia is managed under a comprehensive and robust regulatory regime.
Measures are in place through regulations and conditions of licence to apply evidence-based thresholds and standards to manage environmental impacts. Moreover, the industry is required to report to Fisheries and Oceans Canada on all of its activities. Additionally, a new regulation requiring even more reporting on aquaculture activities was brought into force in 2015.
These regulations and reporting requirements provide a great deal of information about the management and implementation of aquaculture fisheries in British Columbia.
What does all the data, collected over the course of five years, tell us? Does it indicate that the problems with finfish aquaculture in British Columbia warrant the restructuring of the entire industry? In my view, the evidence tells a completely different story. In fact, the evidence shows an industry that has steadily reduced its environmental impact, mitigated the impacts it has had, and minimized its interactions with wild populations and their habitats.
Let us now take a closer look at these elements. Operators in British Columbia must produce reports on a wide range of technical regulatory requirements from the state of the environment inside and around open-net farms to the number of sea lice on the fish. Operators must report details of any escapes and all illnesses that affect their farmed fish.
Starting in 2017, the drugs and pesticides used by aquaculture operators in Canada, including British Columbia, must be made public. All aquaculture operators are now required to report the steps they take to mitigate the impact of their activities, and the results will also be made public.
Our country and our government rely on the best scientific advice to inform our regulatory system. We use data to make our decisions. We have no evidence that the environment is sacrificed in order to pursue the economic development of British Columbia's aquaculture industry.
With respect to the state of the environment under and around marine finfish aquaculture facilities, the regulatory requirements ensure that these sites are left empty if they exceed the established threshold and they cannot be cultivated again until levels return to normal.
Because of the potential impacts an escape of farmed salmon could have, aquaculture operators in British Columbia are required to report any escapes to Fisheries and Oceans Canada within 24 hours. Escape events are very rare. Interestingly, the largest escape happened when a storm damaged an experimental at-sea closed containment facility.
With respect to the health of farmed fish, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has a list of diseases that have the potential to seriously impact aquatic animal health or the Canadian economy. Anyone who knows of or suspects these diseases is required to notify the agency.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada periodically inspects the health of fish in British Columbia salmon farms. Three incidents involving infectious diseases were reported to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency over the past six years alone.
The presence of sea lice is another highly controversial fish health indicator, particularly in British Columbia. Even if the fish are raised in cages in a parasite-free marine environment, farmed fish can catch sea lice from contact with wild species.
To reduce the spread of these parasites, there is a regulatory limit of three lice per fish during the seaward salmon migration. Fisheries and Oceans Canada audits of the last migration showed that, on average, 96% of salmon farms were below that limit.
As a whole, Canada's aquaculture industry has an exemplary record. The Canadian environmental sustainability indicator shows that the compliance rate of aquaculture operations with Fisheries Act regulations was over 99% each year.
Based on the data, we believe that the regulatory regime is strong enough to ensure stable, well-paid employment for thousands of people living in rural and isolated coastal communities, as well as first nations, to promote an innovative, world-renowned aquaculture industry, and to protect wild populations and the aquatic environment.
Therefore, I stand in the House in full support of British Columbia's aquaculture industry as well as the aquaculture industry across the country, in support of our robust regulatory regime, in support of good jobs, and in support of the healthy and nutritious farmed seafood products that feed Canadians as well as people around the world. We recognize the potential of closed containment aquaculture, and as the industry evolves and grows, our government will continue to pursue innovation in salmon aquaculture.
I respectfully oppose this bill because I sincerely believe that we have a solid regulatory regime for aquaculture.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2016-11-01 18:29 [p.6451]
Mr. Speaker, I will start off by complimenting the member for taking the initiative to ensure that we have the debate we are having here this afternoon. I can tell the member that the government's caucus, particularly my colleagues from British Columbia, take this issue very seriously.
I have had an opportunity to have discussions on this issue, which I believe goes outside the province of British Columbia, but I recognize the sensitivity to B.C. in particular. My colleagues, who are quite opinionated on the issue, want to make sure that the government gets it right, and that is something this government is committed to doing.
It is not quite as simple as some might try to make it appear. The issue of fisheries is something that a landlocked province can still care about, as well as our oceans and the industry here in Canada. At the end of the day, we want to make sure that the wild salmon is protected and that we do whatever we can do as a national government.
The parliamentary secretary to the minister made a couple of statements, one of which I will repeat in the House, because it is in budget 2016. The Government of Canada has invested $197 million over the next five years to improve fisheries and aquaculture science and to inform the development of regulations, which will contribute to further improvements to the environmental performance of this sector. This is really important for us to recognize, because the Conservative member made reference to it in his speech.
When we talk about our fisheries industry, whether it is wild or farmed, we have to make sure that not only is it good for Canada's economy but it is also good for our environment. As a government, not only are we talking about that, but we are also walking the talk on it. This is why we have seen a substantial investment in the area of science.
We have heard members in the House talk about the importance of regulation, and we do have some of the most stringent, robust regulation in the world, I would argue, dealing with this specific issue. It is absolutely critical that we do have that regulation. It is ongoing and monitored, because there is always room to improve. As the Prime Minister likes to say often, there is always the opportunity to do better, and this is a government that is committed to doing just that. In listening to the debate this evening, I believe that there are ideas that have flowed through thus far that will allow for more thought on this very important issue.
There is a lot of information on the Internet in regard to this issue. One of the websites I went to was the Watershed Watch Salmon Society. It comments on some basic facts of the salmon farming industry in British Columbia.
For example, one farm can hold 500,000 to 750,000 fish in an area the size of four football fields. The biomass of farmed salmon at one farm site can equal 2,400 tonnes, which equals 480 Indian bull elephants. B.C. has approximately 137 salmon farm tenures with about 85 farm activities at any one time. This information is coming right from the website, which also indicates that 84 tenures are on eastern Vancouver Island and the mainland coast, 48 on western Vancouver Island, and six are on the central coast. I bring this up because I think it is important that we recognize just how strong the industry really is.
Many years ago when I was first elected in the province of Manitoba, the whole concept of aquafarming was pretty much foreign. We did not really hear too much about that in the public arena because it was just starting. Over the last 10 or 15 years we have seen significant growth in the area. Some countries have really pushed the envelope within the industry.
I can appreciate the need for us to look at the industry here in Canada and realize that it has fantastic potential with respect to growth. The industry has quadrupled in size over the years. It is an industry that not only the Government of Canada or the Province of British Columbia is following, but many of my strong-willed Atlantic colleagues would tell us that there is a healthy, vibrant industry in Atlantic Canada as well and they want to see that industry continue to grow. My colleagues, no matter what region of the country they represent, recognize that we need to foster and encourage that growth but we also need to be sensitive to the environment. We want to make sure that the wild fishery is not negatively impacted.
The essence of Bill C-228, put forward by the member for Port Moody—Coquitlam, would be to impose requirements on the industry for the use of a technology that has not yet been proven to be commercially viable, and we need to be concerned about that. If we are concerned about the jobs and how the industry impacts many communities, particularly communities on the Pacific coast of British Columbia, we should not be overly quick to impose something on that industry that could virtually shut it down in a short period of time.
The responsible thing to do is what the federal government has committed to do and that is to invest the financial resources in the industry to allow the proper science to take place so that the industry as a whole can be protected.
Our indigenous communities have played a positive role in the development of this industry. They are not only providing the workforce in many ways but they are also spearheading growth within that industry. This growth is coming in good part from strong leadership within the indigenous community. We need to be sensitive to that.
Innovation and technology are two areas in which this government has been exceptionally proactive with respect to budgetary commitments. Maybe at some point in time we will see that difference, which will make what is being proposed in the legislation that much more commercially viable.
From what we have detected and from what the fisheries standing committee has provided and the expert witnesses have put on the record, today's science clearly indicates that as long as we continue to develop strong rules and regulations, ensure that they are followed and respected, and continue to have an industry that is developing and understands its important role, then we should continue to allow that industry to grow and prosper.
I would emphasize that we are not putting the industry's needs ahead of the environment. When we look at the industry we see it is a complement to the overall community, whether it be society as a whole or the economy. The responsible thing will be done.
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