POP: DFO Costs
Res #: POP 3-05A
Responses Received: No
Departments: Fisheries and Oceans Canada
WHEREAS, Fisheries and Oceans and Transport Canada Marine are both requiring that all rural municipalities acquire permits any time that they construct across a body of water; and
WHEREAS, municipalities are often then required to construct to very high standards with very high extra costs; and
WHEREAS, all of this is being done to protect fish and/or recreational boating at the expense of rural tax payers; and
WHEREAS, these benefits from the protected fish and recreational boating are for all people of Canada to enjoy;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that SARM lobby the Federal Government to absorb all of these extra costs for all the people of Canada.
Response from the Honourable Geoff Regan, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans:
Under the Fisheries Act, DFO is responsible for coastal and inland fisheries. In Saskatchewan, DFO's mandate is the protection of fish habitat and the Department works closely with the province to protect fish migration routes to ensure the sustainability of resident fish populations, which are a valuable resource to the province. For example, in 2000, anglers in Saskatchewan spent $255 million, of which $181 million was wholly related to recreational fishing. Of the approximately 250,000 anglers participating in this fishery, a large number are constituents of rural municipalities.
In order to maintain these fish populations, DFO asks that road crossings be
constructed to allow unimpeded fish passage to spawning and rearing areas thus enabling these populations to carry out their life processes. DFO's fish habitat biologists are always prepared to consider the least cost option to achieve this objective.
While environmental costs associated with road construction are typically borne by the proponent, assistance is frequently available. Federal assistance programs such as the Prairie Grain Roads Program and the Canada Saskatchewan infrastructure Program are available to offset road construction costs incurred by rural municipalities. Costs associated with meeting environmental requirements may be cost-shared under these programs.
All sectors of the economy that conduct work in and around fish habitat are expected to carry out their work in an environmentally responsible manner. In this regard, the agricultural industry has long been considered a responsible steward of our natural resources and DFO will continue to work with the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities to achieve mutually acceptable objectives.
Thank you for bringing this issue to my attention.