Evidence of meeting #144 for Fisheries and Oceans in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was ais.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Philippe Morel  Assistant Deputy Minister, Aquatic Ecosystems Sector, Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Clerk of the Committee  Mr. Michel Marcotte
Hélène Marquis  Executive Director, Fisheries Protection Program and Major Projects, Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Simon Nadeau  Senior Advisor, Ecosystem Science, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

4:40 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

You're probably right.

Are you finding that you have enough personnel, and are employees distributed equitably across the nation? Is there something that would be more advantageous there?

4:40 p.m.

Senior Advisor, Ecosystem Science, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Simon Nadeau

We have very competent personnel. As I said, some are in these aquatic invasive species programs, and some are in other areas of the DFO science program that will actually inform and give us a better understanding of the environments in which these species are. All of this research and knowledge actually help us.

That's the best answer I can provide.

4:40 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

One thing sort of helps or informs another.

4:40 p.m.

Senior Advisor, Ecosystem Science, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

4:40 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

I was an MPP at a time in Ontario when the zebra mussel problem was out of control. The impact on water intakes, other species and the food source of other species was quite profound. I heard that lamprey eels have been controlled. Are zebra mussels also under control?

4:45 p.m.

Senior Advisor, Ecosystem Science, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Simon Nadeau

Zebra mussels are broadly distributed in eastern Canada, so there's not much that we can do about them. I think that we provided advice before the treatment of Lake Winnipeg a few years ago. Unfortunately, that was not successful. This is where prevention is really the best approach.

4:45 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

With regard to preventing the establishment of invasive species, Professor Hugh MacIssac outlined a two-pronged approach of managing targeted invasive species as well as the pathways. I think that we've talked about that to a degree.

What proactive measures should DFO take to prevent the threat of invasive species, and how would you rate the effectiveness of DFO's invasive species response operations?

4:45 p.m.

Executive Director, Fisheries Protection Program and Major Projects, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Hélène Marquis

In terms of the pathways, the best approach, I guess—because it's co-management across Canada: DFO and other partners, like the provinces and territories—is to partner with others and to join forces—it's such a big threat—in this knowledge, not only in DFO with the science research, but also in many provinces.

So, if we're targeting high-risk pathways and vectors, it is more efficient and cost-effective than focusing on specific species because they would often be coming using the same vehicle, I would say, in Canada.

What we're doing is looking at the regional needs and the specificity, and working with the partners in that region on what would be most efficient to put out there some advice and just some awareness of what to do and what to report to make sure that we're preventing the entry into Canada of those species.

Ballast water is one of those pathways that we discussed earlier, and we share responsibility for boat fouling, depending on the size and the function of the vessel. That's an example of shared responsibilities for controlling pathways in Canada.

There are various research projects that have been done by our colleagues in science specifically to support Transport Canada's work with regard to ballast water.

Those are some illustrations of how we can work on pathways rather than on specific species.

4:45 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Okay.

You mentioned—

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Ken McDonald

Sorry, Ms. Mathyssen. Your time has gone over.

Now we'll go to the government side.

Mr. Finnigan, you have seven minutes or less, please.

May 8th, 2019 / 4:45 p.m.

Liberal

Pat Finnigan Liberal Miramichi—Grand Lake, NB

I just have one question, Mr. Chair, and then I'll pass it back to Mr. Morrissey.

Mr. Nadeau, you said earlier that part of your assessment of whether to treat Miramichi Lake with rotenone would depend on whether it can re-establish again. As this species was introduced by humans, and if we kill all the other ones that are there, the chance of it re-establishing would have to be another human carry-over from another lake. Could you explain further? Rotenone usually does a good job of killing all....

4:45 p.m.

Senior Advisor, Ecosystem Science, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Simon Nadeau

Yes, if we use rotenone, it will kill all the fish. There are 19 species of fish in that lake. If we wanted to bring them back, they would have to be rescued in the meantime. The effect of rotenone will last for a certain time, so the fish have to be maintained somewhere during that time.

Because smallmouth bass are in a number of lakes around that watershed, there's a risk they could be reintroduced after.

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

Pat Finnigan Liberal Miramichi—Grand Lake, NB

There's no smallmouth bass in the Miramichi watershed today, other than in that lake, right?

4:45 p.m.

Senior Advisor, Ecosystem Science, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Simon Nadeau

No, no, they're in many lakes in the general area.

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

Pat Finnigan Liberal Miramichi—Grand Lake, NB

But not in the Miramichi watershed.

4:45 p.m.

Senior Advisor, Ecosystem Science, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Simon Nadeau

If I remember correctly, they're actually below the lake, in the river. There's a barrier that prevents these fish—

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

Pat Finnigan Liberal Miramichi—Grand Lake, NB

That's true of the Miramichi Lake presently, but are there other areas, tributaries to the Miramichi, where there are smallmouth bass today?

4:45 p.m.

Senior Advisor, Ecosystem Science, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Simon Nadeau

If they're in the lake, they could go to the tributaries.

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

Pat Finnigan Liberal Miramichi—Grand Lake, NB

The lake, I know, but I mean right now.

4:50 p.m.

Senior Advisor, Ecosystem Science, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Simon Nadeau

Outside of that specific watershed, what I could find out is that they are in many lakes, over 200.

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

Pat Finnigan Liberal Miramichi—Grand Lake, NB

They're mostly in the Saint John River tributaries.

4:50 p.m.

Senior Advisor, Ecosystem Science, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Simon Nadeau

The Saint John River, yes.

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

Pat Finnigan Liberal Miramichi—Grand Lake, NB

Okay, but—

4:50 p.m.

Senior Advisor, Ecosystem Science, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Simon Nadeau

These things have been introduced by people moving them around.

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

Pat Finnigan Liberal Miramichi—Grand Lake, NB

Yes.