Evidence of meeting #33 for Fisheries and Oceans in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was lakes.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Greg Farrant  Manager, Government Affairs and Policy, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters
  • John Van Rooyen  Hatchery Manager, Board of Directors, Bluewater Anglers
  • Terry Quinney  Provincial Manager, Fish and Wildlife Services, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters
  • Kristen Courtney  Committee Researcher

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Rodney Weston

Thank you very much.

Thank you, Mr. Gravelle.

Mr. Leef.

April 23rd, 2012 / 4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Ryan Leef Yukon, YT

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Just to build on that comment, does the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters get involved in education strategies that focus on the reduction of the market for that? It would seem to me that obviously transportation of live Asian carp into our country, or interprovincially, has a lot to do with there being a viable market for it. How do we go about creating an education strategy to reduce the demand for it? Is there a focus at all right now on education?

4:50 p.m.

Provincial Manager, Fish and Wildlife Services, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

Dr. Terry Quinney

It's one question, and we're fully supportive of the intent of what you're suggesting. Quite frankly, there's only so much we can do in a given day, but that's an excellent suggestion and we'd be happy to work with whoever might want to try to pursue that.

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Ryan Leef Yukon, YT

We did hear some talk about the enforcement aspect of it. One step is to bring in regulations. It's a whole other step to have enforcement. Yet again, it's another step to have meaningful enforcement of it.

One of the comments made in past testimony when we talked about return on investment—earlier you provided an example—was that there's such an excellent return on investment in that market that it's worthwhile for people to risk getting caught, having the law imposed upon them, and losing a load and still being able to make money doing it.

I hear your suggestion. This is maybe more of a comment than a question. Support from the U.S. in enforcing the Lacey Act and stepping up enforcement initiatives and education around the market might be helpful in that regard.

Do you know what the appetite outside the province of Ontario is for the respective provincial bodies to deal with regulations around the importation of live carp? Because obviously it's the fisheries act of Ontario that has the regulation preventing it from coming in.... Or is it a different provincial body of legislation that prevents the movement of Asian carp?

4:55 p.m.

Manager, Government Affairs and Policy, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

Greg Farrant

It's the Ontario Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act that prohibits it in Ontario. I can't speak to where other provinces lie with this. That's a good question. We'll certainly speak with our affiliates across the country, who we work with on a daily basis, to find out what they think the appetite in their provinces would be.

Obviously, given the fact that we sit on the crux of the Great Lakes, Ontario is one of those that is most concerned about this particular species. Perhaps it's less so in Saskatchewan than it would be in Ontario, but certainly our colleagues in Quebec, the Maritimes, and other provinces that have adjacent important water bodies should be concerned. This is why we think there is a lead role for the federal government to institute or to suggest the introduction of a national standard that would apply everywhere.

Frankly, I'd have a hard time believing that any provincial government would find it difficult to agree that the prevention of the introduction of invasive species, given the disasters they create.... Hugh MacIsaac, who is the head of the invasive species centre at the University of Windsor, I remember in testimony years ago.... I remember briefing a former prime minister's office many years ago on this, and they sat there looking at me dumbfounded when I said that just about 18 of the 160 to 180 invasive species in this country are responsible for $11 billion to $36 billion in damage annually. That's just a small number of that....

I think it's worth it for other jurisdictions in this country to consider coming on board with the kind of restrictive legislation that would prevent the introduction of any type of invasive, whether it be terrestrial or aquatic, into our systems here in Canada.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Ryan Leef Yukon, YT

Thanks.

You mentioned that total number. About 180 total invasive species—160, if I remember it right from looking back—are currently in the Great Lakes.

4:55 p.m.

A voice

Yes.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Ryan Leef Yukon, YT

I have two questions there.

Is absolutely every one of them negative? Are there any positives at all to any of them?

Also, if you know or could comment, when we're looking at a national strategy or federal regulations on this, are there other provinces or regions of our country that benefit from a certain portion of aquatic invasive species? Wouldn't that create some challenges for us in regard to having a national strategy if they were to say, well, this is good for the Great Lakes, but quite frankly we enjoy this aquatic invasive species here, and a national strategy would hurt us?

4:55 p.m.

Provincial Manager, Fish and Wildlife Services, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

Dr. Terry Quinney

That's an excellent question, and here's how I'm going to answer it: let's keep our eye on the harm ball here. If there's not harm, then okay.

In fact, one man's poison may not be another man's. Smallmouth bass in different parts of Canada are a good example of this. In some parts of Canada where smallmouth bass are indigenous, are native, people love to have them in their lakes. They love to catch them. They love to eat them. In other parts of the country, northern Ontario for example, where smallmouth bass are not native, the bass have detrimentally affected some of our cold-water trout fisheries.

So I say let's use the harms test. If there's not harm, then let's keep our eye on the ball. There is a spectrum here, whether we're talking aquatics or terrestrial. Not all non-indigenous species are harmful to ecosystems, people, or society, but some are catastrophically harmful.

5 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Rodney Weston

Thank you very much.

Mr. MacAulay.

5 p.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Cardigan, PE

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Farrant, I'd just like you to expand a bit on the education aspect. It's obvious that if you can convince people--you know, ParticipAction and everything else.... For $1.4 million, what can you put together? You're talking about the nation.

5 p.m.

Manager, Government Affairs and Policy, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

Greg Farrant

That's correct.

We have already developed in Ontario a program that we deliver on the ground now, but our biologists, our invasive species staff, have for many years had in hand a program we could tailor to other provinces. The offer we made, going back to 2003, was that we would help develop one that was specifically tuned to each province or territory across the country that dealt with the invasives that caused them the difficulty. Of the $1.4 million, each province would get proportionally enough funding to hire one person to deliver that program on the ground through our provincial and territorial wildlife federations, who are from coast to coast to coast.

5 p.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Cardigan, PE

You're dealing with billions of dollars of loss across the country, so in my view, that educational program you're talking about would be very important to put together.

5 p.m.

Manager, Government Affairs and Policy, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

Greg Farrant

Well, it is, and that's why this very same committee twice recommended in their reports that funding for that particular program go forward, recognizing the fact that public education and awareness make up one of the leading steps you can take to prevent the introduction and/or spread, or to do monitoring and/or assessment, of invasive species in this country, regardless of what that species may be.

5 p.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Cardigan, PE

Absolutely. If you can convince people that dumping the bucket or whatever.... I mean, a lot of people just do not realize what harm they do.