Evidence of meeting #40 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 regulations.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Sarah Bailey  Research Scientist, Central and Arctic Region, Great Lakes Laboratory for Fisheries and Aquatics Sciences, Burlington, Department of Fisheries and Oceans
  • Nick Mandrak  Research Scientist, Central and Arctic Region, Great Lakes Laboratory for Fisheries and Aquatics Sciences, Burlington, Department of Fisheries and Oceans
  • Becky Cudmore  Senior Science Advisor, Central and Arctic Region, Great Lakes Laboratory for Fisheries and Aquatics Sciences, Burlington, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

May 30th, 2012 / 4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Ryan Leef Yukon, YT

Thank you very much.

I should just ask, maybe collectively, if any one of you is familiar with the WAPPRIITA legislation.

Look at that; we have a group. You're the first group so far to nod your head and say yes.

Let's go back a little.

Mr. MacAulay was talking a little bit about international and interprovincial transport and trade in invasive species or harmful species. I'm interested that the snakehead, for example, can be bought and sold and traded in British Columbia. If you can't answer it or don't feel comfortable offering an opinion, say so, because it might fall more into the enforcement purview, but wouldn't WAPPRIITA speak directly to that kind of activity—interprovincial transport and trade in a species that could be harmful?

4:30 p.m.

Senior Science Advisor, Central and Arctic Region, Great Lakes Laboratory for Fisheries and Aquatics Sciences, Burlington, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Becky Cudmore

I appreciate that question very much, because I ask myself that same question. Organisms in trade is an area of specialty for me, and I do work closely with enforcement agencies, both the province and the Border Services Agency.

Dr. Mandrak and I had been connecting what we would call a characterization of the organisms in the trade pathway, and we were invited along to the airport to look at live fishes coming in. During a slow moment around 2 a.m., I was reading legislation—

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Ryan Leef Yukon, YT

Yes, it must have been a slow moment.

4:30 p.m.

Senior Science Advisor, Central and Arctic Region, Great Lakes Laboratory for Fisheries and Aquatics Sciences, Burlington, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Becky Cudmore

—and I came to WAPPRIITA and asked myself why we aren't using this to ban species harmful to the environment. So I did bring that up to DFO, and the legal opinion is that we can't use that because there's no mechanism, the way the legislation was built, to add species to the list. So then it became important for DFO to step up to the plate and develop draft regulations in order to have a list to prohibit import, and that's where we are right now, drafting these regulations.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Ryan Leef Yukon, YT

Okay, and that's to annex a particular group?

I'm sorry, I don't have the regulation or the act itself right in front of me, but if I remember right now there is a definition of species that would be considered harmful. It's pretty general, which would beg the question why we don't just add an annex with some defined species.

So the legal opinion right now is that even with the generality of that, you can't say.... I'm thinking out loud here. I guess in some locations a species could be harmful, but the exact same species in other locations is not, and that generality would be nice to play with in WAPPRIITA.

It's just not carte blanche, where the legislation would kick in regarding an invasive or problematic species. I guess if you put it in an appendix, without starting to add geographic locations to the species as well, which complicates your regulations...you would think the enforcement staff would be able to act based on scientific information about the geographic region in which the species is introduced, and the harmful impacts, and you could present a case with the general definition of that regulation. That's not the case, is it?

4:30 p.m.

Senior Science Advisor, Central and Arctic Region, Great Lakes Laboratory for Fisheries and Aquatics Sciences, Burlington, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Becky Cudmore

But then we recognize our gap and are hoping to close that gap with these new regulations from DFO, to which we can list things, and also recognize that species in one part of the country may not be harmful while they are in another. So we're working on it.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Ryan Leef Yukon, YT

From my past experience, it was the provincial and territorial conservation officers, enforcement agencies, that were able to enforce that regulation along with DFO. Is that going to be a continued track as well?

4:30 p.m.

Senior Science Advisor, Central and Arctic Region, Great Lakes Laboratory for Fisheries and Aquatics Sciences, Burlington, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Becky Cudmore

With the regulation, yes, there would definitely be partnerships between the federal government and the provincial and territorial governments, and that's where the discussions are going on right now. The provinces certainly can ban—and many of them have banned—possession and sale of certain aquatic invasive species. What they can't ban is import, which is a federal responsibility. So this helps close that gap as well. There's some closing of gaps as well as continuing the enforcement relationships between the federal and provincial agencies.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Ryan Leef Yukon, YT

And does that act cover interprovincial and international trade?

4:35 p.m.

Senior Science Advisor, Central and Arctic Region, Great Lakes Laboratory for Fisheries and Aquatics Sciences, Burlington, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Becky Cudmore

Well, it would cover movement interprovincially.

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Ryan Leef Yukon, YT

Movement, right, and that covers wild animals and plants.

4:35 p.m.

Senior Science Advisor, Central and Arctic Region, Great Lakes Laboratory for Fisheries and Aquatics Sciences, Burlington, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Becky Cudmore

That's the intent—aquatic species.

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Ryan Leef Yukon, YT

And because it can be applied across all of Canada—going back to a couple of questions Mr. Toone was asking—it would make sense that provincial bodies, given that they might have a specific acceptance variable to some species and not to others...that their biologists, their scientific community, their enforcement community, and their education programming and branding around that.... It would seem to make sense that they participate, contribute, and fund that sort of thing as well.

Would that be fair to say?

4:35 p.m.

Senior Science Advisor, Central and Arctic Region, Great Lakes Laboratory for Fisheries and Aquatics Sciences, Burlington, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Becky Cudmore

Yes, definitely.

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Rodney Weston

Thank you, Mr. Leef.