Letter to Harper - Changes to the Fisheries Act - From Craig Orr

March 26, 2012


The Pacific Marine Conservation Caucus (PMCC) echoes the concerns of a large number of Canadians who strongly oppose the removal, or weakening, of habitat provisions in the Fisheries Act. Numerous negative opinions have been publicly voiced recently in regards to this issue (see appendix below).

Taking habitat protection out of the Fisheries Act would be a betrayal to the interests of Canadians, both because so many depend on fish but also because we all depend on clean water that the Fisheries Act helps protect. Recent polls have shown that a majority of Canadians place an extremely high value on wild salmon, and furthermore, believe that more—not less—must be done to protect salmon and salmon habitat. Sacrificing fish habitat in an attempt to expedite development for some large industries is short-sighted and dismisses the values of many Canadians.

The PMCC concurs with the concerns of the 625 scientists who recently urged you to abandon any initiative that would jeopardize many important fish stocks and the lakes, estuaries and rivers that support them. We agree that the weakening of habitat protections in section 35 of the Fisheries Act will negatively impact water quality and fisheries across the country, and could undermine Canada’s international credibility on environmental protection.

The PMCC also agrees with the scientists and Canadians who urge you to make changes based only on the best science and only after appropriate consultations with affected citizens.

In summary, weakening the habitat protection provisions of the Fisheries Act would be a most unwise action, which would jeopardize a national treasure, and seriously compromise trust in government.


Craig Orr, Ph.D, PMCC Chair

On behalf of the Pacific Marine Conservation Caucus

CraigOrrLetter-Harper.pdf163.56 KB