Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Conservation and Protection Branch - DFO

I reviewed Randy Nelson’s book Poachers, Polluters and Politics in 2014. It is about the activities of the Conservation and Protection branch of DFO. You should read it. He spent his career there and was the director for many years. It is a difficult profession that takes fortitude to put up with the problems and dangers in enforcement of salmon, habitat, fisheries, and related investigations. It takes a wife who buys into such a career.

Pick up the book from Harbour Publishing or For my review, see:

There is more to say, more than just this article and I will return to the subject again. I have reviewed a half inch worth of C&P documents submitted to the Cohen Commission on the crash of Fraser sockeye in 2009. The documents are on the Cohen record, among the half million pages DFO sent along for review. So they are all public documents that you can read.

Find the Cohen website here: Do keep the reference as this is now an archived website and cannot be found by Googling: Cohen Commission.

The branch has many duties: waste water treatment plants, aquaculture enforcement, ground fish, sport, commercial and First Nations fisheries, small craft acquisitions, Pacific Integrated Commercial Fishing Initiative, Coast Guard marine fishery enforcement officer program, fisheries management, habitat inspection and enforcement, operational budget and policy responsibilities, vehicles, air patrols, First Nation Treaty obligations, species at risk investigations, mid-shore vessels, offshore vessels, conservation requirements stemming from the Old Man River Decision, radio and security needs, Williams Report responsibilities for Fraser sockeye enforcement, and etc.

Its summary document for Cohen made more than 30 recommendations. It stated: “Fisheries Officers are the main enforcement presence in coastal waters. The RCMP has a small marine unite, the Coast Guard has eliminated their small enforcement presence, and the province has very little access to marine waters, while other Federal agencies don’t have dedicated marine capacity.”

In Issue Paper 10: “C&P staff respond to as many occurrences and violations in Pacific Region as the rest of the country combined, with 1/3 the staff!” And: “Pacific has more First Nations [200], more recreational fishers [300K in saltwater], more aquaculture, more habitat work and more complex commercial fisheries than the rest of Canada.” And,” if the Salmon Enhancement Program were removed from its budget, $14.6 M more would be required just to keep funding in line with the other 4 regions.”

The rest of the responsibilities include, “the largest river bar fishery in the world, the most First Nations, the most without treaties, the largest number of Integrated Fishing Management Plans, the most species at risk [SARA],  the most habitat impacts through logging and mining, the most placer mining, the most occurrences/violations of any region.” The Pacific Cost also has one third more vessel traffic than the entire east coast.

As the Pacific area is the largest, one would expect that the most resources were spent in BC. Not so. By region, the numbers of Fishery Officers per citizen are: Newfoundland: 1 to 4,600 citizens; Maritimes: 1:6,000; Gulf: 1:8,000; and Pacific: 1:24,000. In other words BC has the least funding per citizen. Compared with other areas, Newfoundland, for example, has roughly five times as many Fishery Officers as BC. Stated the other way, BC has only 20% of the Fishery Officers that it should have.

More next time.

No comments:

Post a Comment