Wednesday, March 21, 2012

OTTAWA SET TO ABANDON INLAND WATERS ALL TOGETHER


In a previous life with the provincial government, one of my files was inland waters. 

The Province was trying to negotiate an agreement with the Federal Government to transfer the protection of inland waters. This bit of cooperative federalism turned out to be much more of a challenge than anticipated because the feds did not want to ante up the financial resources deemed necessary for enforcement and science.

With 186 licensed salmon rivers in Newfoundland and Labrador and  69 per cent of all Atlantic Salmon caught in Canada coming from these waters, the protection of the resource should have been a national priority. Stocks were only 30 per cent of what they were in the 1980's. Alas we did not have the clout of British Columbia.

"Leaks" originating out of Ottawa indicate that the Federal Government intends to end federal oversight over much of the country's fresh water. 

Frankly, in this province, this should not come as much of a burden because the provincial government has already stepped-up to fill the vacuum caused by decades of federal neglect.

In 2004, the province of Newfoundland and Labrador announced it's own Inland Fisheries Enforcement Program, within the Department of Natural Resources, despite the fact that the federal government was constitutionally tasked with with enforcement and conservation on salmon rivers in the province. A special team of 20 conservation officers began patrolling inland waters and investigate salmon fishing violations. Within months, the new enforcement initiative had succeeded in breaking up dozens of poaching rings that had gone undetected under federal neglect.  

Once can only assume that the limited enforcement capacity of the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans will be eliminated all together. 

Keep an eye on the Public Works website, I am half expecting the DFO castle on White Hills to be put up on tenders

Bruce Campion-Smith/Toronto Star
I wonder how strongly our current government will  push the federal government to live up to its responsibility to live up to many of it's constitutional obligations to this province. 

Cathy Dunderdale has proven that she is no Danny Williams when it comes to keeping Ottawa's feet to the fire.

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