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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 funding.

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

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

You were stating to the committee that there should be a recommendation that something be done in this area.

5:05 p.m.

Hatchery Manager, Board of Directors, Bluewater Anglers

John Van Rooyen

That the boats be stopped and we go in to transshipping. We have the technology. We have trucks. We have rail. We have lake boats. Transship the materials and keep the ocean boats in the ocean.

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

I'm not sure what that would entail. I'd say a fair bit of money, but you are talking about billions of dollars on the other end.

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Rodney Weston

Thank you very much, Mr. MacAulay; your time is up.

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

You're cutting me off again, Mr. Chair. Well, this is what it is.

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Rodney Weston

Mr. Donnelly.

5:05 p.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

So hard done by.

Thank you, Mr. Chair, and again thank you to our presenters and our witnesses.

Mr. Quinney, I have a couple of questions. I think—and you can correct this—you mentioned the U.S. funding split for invasives is roughly about two-thirds.

5:05 p.m.

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

Dr. Terry Quinney

For sea lamprey.

April 23rd, 2012 / 5:05 p.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Sea lamprey only.

Where I'm going is to try to find out what the role of the United States should be. In your opinion, should it be in fact a greater role than what it currently is? The reason I say that is that I'm assuming the threat of invasive species comes from the United States. Is that the majority, or is it a 50-50 split with U.S. and Canada? What's the split that exists?

5:05 p.m.

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

Dr. Terry Quinney

Sir, the reason I'm having difficulty with your question is that hopefully the intent of your question is to get at cause and effect. If we can identify the cause then maybe we can treat the effect more directly, or better, as opposed to placing blame here. We are all in this together, and as Mr. Van Rooyen has—

5:05 p.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

I'm not necessarily looking for blame. It's more responsibility in terms of perhaps funding, or perhaps a greater role in resources--that kind of a focus. Yes, you're right, and certainly prevention is key.

5:05 p.m.

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

Dr. Terry Quinney

My short answer is that when it comes to the Great Lakes and the Great Lakes basin and the St. Lawrence River, gravity is all-powerful; everything flows downhill, and that St. Lawrence River is part of that Great Lakes ecosystem. The fact of the matter is it's largely a legally shared responsibility between Canada and the United States. It was through a treaty that the two-thirds and one-third split between the U.S. and Canada was established with reference to sea lamprey.

Our organization knows that the Americans who live on the American side of the Great Lakes basin are fully engaged in this public discussion and debate with reference to invasives, particularly the threat of Asian carp. Our members are very concerned. You've heard from Mr. Van Rooyen's club as a member club; at the grassroots level those people who use the Great Lakes are very scared, quite frankly. That level of concern is very great on the U.S. side. I can assure you of that.

Can we all do more? I'd sure like to think so.

5:10 p.m.

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

Greg Farrant

I would like to point out—and I'm not suggesting by pointing this out that we need to go down the same path—that I don't think a year goes by when we do not see before Congress and the Senate in the U.S. an invasive species bill brought forward in that House that is sponsored by multiple sponsors on both sides of the House there. They take it very seriously. I've lost track of how many invasive species acts they've brought forward over the last few years to try to address this kind of a problem. The lamprey got here one way. Asian carp came another way. Gobies and zebra mussels came a third way.

So it's not always coming from south of the border or north of the border, which is why you can't necessarily say more of the fault lies here, or more of the responsibility lies here than with us, because they come from different directions and through different media. We're all affected, and we all have to address this. But given the fact that President Obama just contributed $50 million and established an office just to deal with the Asian carp alone, and spends over half a billion a year on invasive species, I think they take the issue very seriously.

5:10 p.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Farrant, you mentioned the chronic underfunding for the seven years you've been working for the federation. Can you give the committee an idea of the severity of the threat--for instance, seven years ago it was perhaps a serious threat and now it's a very serious threat? How would you provide some context?

5:10 p.m.

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

Greg Farrant

It depends on which species you're talking about. Seven years ago zebra mussels were pretty well established by then. Unfortunately, gobies were reasonably well established by then. Asian carp wasn't really on the horizon very much at that point in time because they had not yet necessarily butted up against the electronic barrier in the Chicago sanitary canal to any great extent to get people excited, but over the last few years people have been seeing more of this coming.

Sea lamprey have been around forever. As Dr. Quinney alluded to, it's been 50 years or whatever since we've been dealing with that one. There's where there's a real issue, after 50 years and we're just barely holding our own, if not slipping back a little, by not meeting targets in each of these lakes. What are we learning here when you've had 50 years of experience with a particular species? That's why we're saying it's critically important when you have a chance, and with the Asian carp you've got a chance now. They are not in the Great Lakes yet. You have a chance through a whole bunch of means to prevent them ever getting in the Great Lakes. It's rare that you get an opportunity.

The zebra mussel and the gobies that came in from other locations, whether it was the Far East or they came in through sediment in the ballast water of ships and were discharged into our waters, or they came on the hulls or whatever, those are a little more insidious to try to control. But the government has moved forward, both the previous and the current government have moved forward on the ballast water regulations to try to address that, and kudos to both governments in that respect.

I'm not a scientist, and I'm not pretending to be, but we have an opportunity here where everybody is saying here's a species and you have a way of stopping this thing from ever getting into our Great Lakes and having a huge impact socially and economically. Why not take advantage of that warning for once and be able to stop something you can actually see physically sitting on the other side of the barrier?

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Rodney Weston

Thank you very much.

Mr. Allen.

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Allen Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

Thank you to our guests for being here.

I'll pick up on the question about the $1.4 million for a national program. You must have some kind of idea when you come up with that $1.4 million. Is it based on some of the successes or metrics you've seen for success in Ontario, based on the money you've spent? How did you derive that $1.4 million in the efficiencies of your existing programs?

5:15 p.m.

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

Dr. Terry Quinney

Thank you for the question.

We'd be pleased to provide the committee with a copy of the entire submission to DFO. It's several pages long and has a very detailed budget. We don't take lightly our requests for taxpayers' dollars. I can assure you that all the details you wish to see are in that submission.

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Allen Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

If you could send that to the clerk, that would be appreciated.

5:15 p.m.

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

Dr. Terry Quinney

We'd be pleased to.

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Allen Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Thank you very much.

Also, one of the discussions we got into last time was on the northern snakehead. Of course it's starting to be seen more in the U.S. now as well. It probably originated from baitfish in some cases.

I watched a show called Python Hunters the other night. It was interesting. They had a program in Florida where they were encouraging people to turn in their pets, every type of reptile one could ever imagine, so that people wouldn't dump them into the Everglades and other places, which is why some of the stuff has actually come up. They were talking about some species of turtles that were being sold along the road. As long as the person said they were going to be used for educational purposes, they could sell them to the person. That's how they skirted around the law.

I understand that in a lot of places in the U.S. you can buy live baitfish. Do you know of any regulations in the U.S. that prevent that from happening? As you indicated, in Ontario there are regulations on what kind of live baitfish can be used. Are we going to continue to see that? Are the regulations in the U.S. progressing so that they can stop these kinds of live baitfish from becoming the next species, as you said?

5:15 p.m.

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

Dr. Terry Quinney

It's an excellent question, because it illustrates inconsistencies in how the problem is handled between jurisdictions. It also illustrates how important leadership can be, whether that's in a federal agency, for example, to show an individual state the benefits of what other states might be doing. They might want to buy into, so to speak, a different management regime that would reduce the harm and levels of risk.

One of the very important things the Department of Fisheries and Oceans does in this country, associated with invasive species prevention, is its technical risk assessments. Basically, this is the harms test. Part two is the socio-economic impact as a result of those risk assessments. These are critical components. They're conducting critical components that are contributing to successful prevention, control, and management. That's just the type of thing we need to see more widespread.

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Allen Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

That is happening now in Canada. Do we have that in place in all the provinces, as they do in Ontario for live baitfish?

5:15 p.m.

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

Dr. Terry Quinney

I'm sorry, we can't answer that question. I don't know.

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Allen Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

I notice in your presentation that you talked about a real concern about small lakes especially, where if one of these invasive species, carp or whatever, gets into it, it could be phenomenal. We're seeing a lot of that in the rivers in the U.S., of course. Have you seen any studies or anything done with respect to the impact of these on small lakes in the system as they keep moving up through the U.S.?