Policy Sectors

FFHP Policies and Regulations

FFHP Policies and Regulations

This section of the portal will contain summaries of the various topics that the DFO has and is currently engaging on. There needs to be the ability for participants to comment on the topics as well as redirecting users to corresponding surveys where appropriate.

Within this section of the portal, there should be the following subsections:

  • Draft Position Statements
  • Interim Codes of Practice
  • Policies, Frameworks, and Instruments Currently Being Developed

Draft Position Statements

Draft Position Statement on the Death of Fish

In 2022, the DFO released a Draft Position Statement on the Death of Fish (Interim Position Statement) to provide clarity on how it proposes to use a “Science Informed Risk-Based Approach” when determining the likelihood and the extend of the potential death of fish due to proposed, ongoing, or existing works and activities.

The criteria that the DFO may consider under the Science Informed Risk-Based Approach are:

  • The fish species or fish assemblage that are likely to be affected
  • The cause, frequency, magnitude, geographic extent and duration of death of fish event(s)
  • The size and state of the fish population (e.g., healthy/stable, cautious/threatened, critical/endangered) that is likely to be affected, its trends (e.g. stable, increasing, declining) and its connectivity to other populations
  • Other pressures put on the fish population (e.g., on-going loss of fish habitat, fishing activity etc.)
  • Whether there are measures and standards to avoid or mitigate the death of fish (including listed aquatic species at risk) and an assessment of the anticipated death of fish after these measures and standards are implemented

The Science-Informed Risk-Based Approach has three guiding principles:

1. Precautionary Approach

This approach will be used by exercising caution when scientific information is absent, uncertain, unreliable or inadequate.

2. Ecosystem Approach

This approach integrates the management of land, water and living resources, promoting conservation and sustainable use in an equitable way. It will be used to better conserve and protect fish.

3. Adaptive Management Approach

The adaptive management approach, as an extension of the ecosystems approach, will be used to manage any uncertainties with complex ecosystems. This approach will monitor the impacts of works and activities over-time, as well as determining the effectiveness of management strategies.

Importantly, the DFO states that it will encourage individuals to engage with Indigenous peoples in the early stages of the planning phases of their proposed work or activities that are likely to result in the death of fish, and in the management and monitoring phases. Similarly, the DFO states that it will carry out meaningful consultations when the duty to consult is triggered.

NWAC has provided the DFO with the following specific feedback for the Draft Position Statement on the Death of Fish and recommendations based on the concerns, knowledge, and views shared with us:

The DFO should adopt a distinctions-based approach when consulting with Indigenous communities and considering Indigenous knowledge when making approval decisions for Fisheries Act authorizations, which would:

  • Recognize the different relationships that Indigenous peoples have with the DFO based on history, geography, and physical proximity to First Nations reserves, Métis settlements, and Inuit land claim areas
  • Rebuild trust and foster relationships founded on respect and reciprocity with communities in the East by providing cultural sensitivity training to DFO officers and encouraging them to participate in community-based education about fish and fish habitats

Consultations with Indigenous communities must be reciprocal and Indigenous Knowledge shared with the DFO needs to be valued and respected, this can be achieved by:

  • Replacing the DFO’s “Scientific Risk Informed Approach” with a “Two-Eyed Seeing Approach” when making approval decisions for Fisheries Act authorizations
  • Honoring the intent of Indigenous Knowledge shared with the DFO by amending Section 61.2 (2) of the Fisheries Act which allows the Minister to disclose confidential Indigenous Knowledge
  • Paying Indigenous Elders and Knowledge-Keepers at the same rate as scientific and western experts

NWAC is still seeking input on the feedback for the Draft Position Statement on the Death of Fish. Please share your thoughts, knowledge, views, and concerns with us here.

Do you have ideas on how to improve, add, or change the DFO’s Science-Informed Risk-Based Approach? Participate in this short survey to give us your feedback: Science-Informed Risk Based Approach

Draft Position Statement on the Management of Existing Facilities and Structures

In 2022, the DFO released a Draft Position Statement on the Management of Existing Facilities and Structures to address the impacts that existing facilities and structures have on fish and fish habitat. This statement would apply to all projects, activities, and works that have ongoing operations, modification, maintenance, or decommissioning. Importantly, this statement would apply to any facilities or structure that was constructed before the FFHP was included in the Fisheries Act.

The DFO has proposed to use a “Science Informed Risk-Based Approach” to determine the likelihood and the extend of the potential death of fish due ongoing operations, modification, maintenance, or decommissioning of existing facilities and structures.

The Science Informed Risk-Based Approach for the management of existing facilities and structures would consider the following criteria:

  • The fish species or fish assemblage that are likely to be affected
  • The cause, frequency, magnitude, geographic extent and duration of death of fish event(s)
  • The size and state of the fish population (e.g., healthy/stable, cautious/threatened, critical/endangered) that is likely to be affected, its trends (e.g. stable, increasing, declining) and its connectivity to other populations
  • Other pressures put on the fish population (e.g., on-going loss of fish habitat, fishing activity etc.)
  • Whether there are measures and standards to avoid or mitigate the death of fish (including listed aquatic species at risk) and an assessment of the anticipated death of fish after these measures and standards are implemented

The Science-Informed Risk-Based Approach has three guiding principles:

1. Precautionary Approach

This approach will be used by exercising caution when scientific information is absent, uncertain, unreliable or inadequate.

2. Ecosystem Approach

This approach integrates the management of land, water and living resources, promoting conservation and sustainable use in an equitable way. It will be used to better conserve and protect fish.

3. Adaptive Management Approach

The adaptive management approach, as an extension of the ecosystems approach, will be used to manage any uncertainties with complex ecosystems. This approach will monitor the impacts of works and activities over-time, as well as determining the effectiveness of management strategies.

Importantly, the DFO states that it will encourage individuals to engage with Indigenous peoples in the early stages of the planning phases of their proposed work or activities that are likely to result in the death of fish, and in the management and monitoring phases. Similarly, the DFO states that it will carry out meaningful consultations when the duty to consult is triggered.

NWAC is still seeking input on the feedback for the Draft Position Statement on the Management of Existing Facilities and Structures. Please share your thoughts, knowledge, views, and concerns with us here.

Do you have ideas on how to improve, add, or change the DFO’s Science-Informed Risk-Based Approach? Participate in this short survey to give us your feedback.

FFHP Interim Codes of Practice

Content to come in late March/Early April.


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