ENGOs Hope to Reverse the Destruction of Canada's Fisheries

Alberta Wilderness Association

October 12, 2006

Environmental non-government organizations and the Assembly of First Nations from sea to sea to sea gathered in Ottawa today for a historic meeting with senior Department of Fisheries and Oceans officials to discuss solutions to the crisis facing Canada's fish and fish habitats.

A good part of the meeting focused on the failure to enforce the strongest piece of Canadian environmental legislation, the federal Fisheries Act. Representatives of groups from across Canada expressed dismay at the continuing deterioration of fisheries and the associated regulatory regime.

Communities have been decimated, miles of ocean bottom habitat have been destroyed, and water quality has been compromised. It is a national crisis for Canada's oldest industry. An extensive range of issues was discussed including:

  • the narrowing of the scope of federal environmental assessment for major developments like in Alberta's oil sands;
  • massive habitat destruction through bottom trawling;
  • the delisting of mining tailings from environmental review.

Groups were heartened by the willingness of DFO to pursue further dialogue.

The groups are awaiting a meeting with the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to seek increased protection for Canada's beleaguered fish and fish habitats.


Cliff Wallis, Alberta Wilderness Association (403) 271-1408
Denys Bourque, Le Club d'ornithologie du Madawaska (506) 739-6471
Inka Milewski, Conservation Council of New Brunswick (506) 622-2460