EDITORIAL: Economy over environment

The alarm has been raised that the federal government is about to turn the clock back on fisheries protection by about 35 years.

The alarm has been raised that the federal government is about to turn the clock back on fisheries protection by about 35 years.

Documents released by retired fisheries biologist Otto Langer, and introduced in the House of Commons by New Westminster-Coquitlam MP Fin Donnelly last week, indicate the government plans to strip habitat protection for fish in Section 35 of the Fisheries Act, effectively making creek and stream protection a thing of the past.

Documents produced by Langer indicate the government plans to remove a ban against activity that results in the “harmful alteration, disruption or disruption or destruction of fish habitat” and replacing it with a ban on activity that has an “adverse effect on a fish of economic, cultural or ecological value.”

On the surface, it looks like the changes would protect fish, but it’s not clear how, when fish rely on a healthy environment, ecosystem or habitat to thrive. If it can’t be proven that a species of fish has special value, can the habitat – creek, river or stream – be legally destroyed?

Many have heard stories of property owners who were prevented from subdividing because there’s a ditch in the way that sometimes has fish in it.

And there are times when it’s hard to understand the “economic” or “environmental” value of a creek or stream but lack of knowledge or understanding about how our watersheds work is the reason most of them were paved over, culverted or diverted in the 1960s and 1970s, leaving us low fish returns today.

Ignoring for a moment the secretive way the government appears to be moving on this matter, the idea that fish, and the rest of the planet, can be altered unless an economic argument can be made to save it, is short-sighted at best.

At worst, it ignores the web of life that even the youngest pre-schooler understands.

– Black Press

Just Posted

Port Alberni ‘a safe place to be’ despite crime rate, says RCMP

Criminal offences up in Port Alberni for the first quarter of 2019

Portal Players production touches on residential schools

Sisters chronicles a convent-run residential school in Canada

San Group ups plans for mill, remanufacturing plant in Port Alberni

Company moves new mill site after public input

Crooner classics past and present in spotlight, courtesy of Ken Lavigne

Island tenor prepares for upcoming concert tour of Let Me Be Frank!

VIDEO: Alberni Valley celebrates Easter weekend

Port Alberni children enjoy Easter egg hunts and spring activities

WATCH: South Vancouver Island shooting an ‘isolated and targeted’ incident, say police

One person in custody, another fled following shooting and crash on West Shore

Woe, Canada: Bruins down Maple Leafs 5-1 in Game 7

No Canadian teams left in Stanley Cup playoffs

Defence accuses officer of ‘incompetence’ in trial for B.C. man accused in daughters’ murder

Double murder trial for the Victoria father accused of killing his two young daughters continues

B.C. men challenge constitutionality of Canada’s secret no-fly list

Parvkar Singh Dulai says he received a “denial of boarding” notification under the no-fly program last May 17

Murder on B.C. property didn’t need to be disclosed before sale, court rules

Buyer had tried to break contract after learning a man with ties to crime had been murdered there

B.C.’s largest Vaisakhi festival target of threatening Facebook post: Surrey RCMP

Police say they are investigating the posts on Facebook, after local MLA forwarded screenshots

Pug life: B.C. town boasts waggish list of dog names

Freedom-of-information request lists most ‘pupular’ dog names registered in White Rock

VIDEO: Duncan-Nanaimo’s Funkanometry bow out of ‘World of Dance’ with ‘After Hours’ routine

Judges praised them as entertainers, and urged them to work a bit more on their dancing

Most Read