Now's Our Chance to 
Protect Fish and Their Habitat

Help wild fish thrive

ACT NOW

Healthy fish and the rivers and lakes that sustain them are critical to our economy, Indigenous cultures and Canada's outdoor lifestyle. But without healthy habitat, fish can't survive.

The Fisheries Act — Canada's oldest piece of environmental legislation — doesn't do nearly enough to protect oceans, water and fish habitat. Nor does it address modern realities like climate change and fish farming.

Right now, the Canadian government is acting on its promise to create a new, modern Fisheries Act.

We've got a once-in-a-generation chance to make sure the government gets the Fisheries Act right and protects wild fish, their habitats and the communities that depend on them. Let's get it right!

When summer arrived, tourists to the recreational fishing hotspot found dead fish in oil patches on Lake Minisinakwa, fed by the river where the devastating CN oil spill happened. 

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On March 7, 2015 violent flames and clouds of black smoke shot up from a fire that ignited when a CN train derailed and spilled more than a million litres of crude oil into the Makami River, just three kilometres from the town of Gogama in northern Ontario.

CN installed booms to try to contain crude floating on the river's surface but the oil seeped into the sediment. When summer arrived, tourists to the recreational fishing hotspot were finding dead fish in oil patches on Lake Minisinakwa, fed by the river.

"The fishing used to be incredible when the lake was pristine. But now, our tourist industry is suffering," said Gogama volunteer fire chief,  Mike Benson. "No one travels any distance to catch fish you may not be able to eat."

Two years on, nothing is growing near the disaster zone. The oil is still visible in a pond south of the river and you can find oil in the river by poking a stick into the sediment.

No Justice for Makami River

Tell your MP they’ll get it right when the Fisheries Act:

ACT NOW

Protects and restores habitat for all fish

Adopts sustainablity principles & science-based decision making

Increases monitoring and enforcement

In June 2016, the government announced a sweeping review of federal environmental laws including Canada's environmental assessment (EA) law, the Fisheries Act, Navigation Protection Act and the National Energy Board.

This is a unique, once-in-a-generation opportunity for you to help improve the laws that protect our land, air and water and ensure they help Canada address climate change and meet its Paris Agreement commitments.

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Environmental Law Reform. Let’s Get it Right!

"Today, when a heavy train goes by and shakes the ground, oil comes up and you can see sheen on the shoreline. I don't know where to go from here. The laws don't allow us to do anything about it. I'm slowly losing hope," says Mike.

Currently, the Fisheries Act can’t charge companies for destroying fish habitat. As a result, over a five-year period, the Department of Fisheries has not charged a single company for destroying fish habitat despite more than 1800 complaints filed nationwide.

The government's promise of a new Fisheries Act offers some hope. If done right, the new law will go much further to protect fish and fish habitat when the worst happens again.

Includes a legal obligation to rebuild fish stocks

Addresses the cumulative impact of environmental stress on fish

Advances community participation & co-governance with Indigenous peoples

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