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THE QUEBEC REGION BULLETIN
JUNE - JULY 2010/VOLUME 13/NUMBER 3
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in the field
PROTECTING FISH HABITAT
A biologist from Fisheries and Oceans Canada visiting a site A biologist from Fisheries and Oceans Canada visiting a site

DFO  G. Dufour

Fisheries and Oceans Canada works to preserve and protect fish habitat in order to maintain recreational, commercial and subsistence fishing levels in fresh and salt water. As part of its activities in connection with the Fisheries Act, the Department is increasing awareness and designing tools like best practices guides to help stakeholders carry out their projects without impacting fish habitat.

These tools do not always succeed in sufficiently protecting fish habitat, especially in the case of large-scale projects such as road or dam construction. When fish habitat loss is unavoidable or justified, Fisheries and Oceans Canada can grant an authorization that contains several measures to avoid or lessen the impact on fish habitat.  

To ensure that the tools and conditions set out in these authorizations provide adequate protection for fish habitat, the Department has implemented a monitoring and follow-up program. Since 2008, biologists have been hard at work in the field, visiting construction sites and locations where work has been carried out to verify compliance with DFO-required measures, and their effectiveness. They also explain to stakeholders why they must comply with Department requirements. The biologists are also called on to visit certain areas about which people have made complaints.

During these visits, the biologists take action in accordance with the situation observed and the risk to the fish habitat. These actions range from educating stakeholders about the importance of respecting the Fisheries Act, to supporting them with advice as they put corrective measures into place or undertake voluntary restoration measures. The biologists work together with enforcement officers to find a solution that will protect fish habitat. However, if no solution is found, the enforcement officers will ultimately issue a ticket for the infraction.

Since 2008, the biologists have visited 167 sites. The results are documented to provide a frame of reference and so they can be analysed at the regional and national scale, and to ensure ongoing improvement of the federal approach used for fish habitat conservation and protection.

These activities will continue to be being carried out this year, and special efforts are being made to draw up follow-up protocol in partnership with the industry and other relevant government bodies.

Are you planning a project that involves work in or near water?

Find out about any possible repercussions your project may have on fish and fish habitat. Information for project submission

Helpful tools to assist you with your project. Quebec Operational Statements


Line Choinière and Suzie Roy
Oceans, Habitat and Species at Risk