Evidence of meeting #76 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 process.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Susanna Fuller  Senior Marine Conservation Coordinator, Ecology Action Centre
Robert Lewis-Manning  President, Chamber of Shipping

9:40 a.m.

Liberal

Pat Finnigan Liberal Miramichi—Grand Lake, NB

Regarding enforcing, Bill C-55 would empower the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard to designate any person or class of persons as enforcement officers for the purposes of administration and enforcement of the Ocean Act and regulations. Could you talk about how you see that? I know with the indigenous communities we have the guardians. Hopefully, we would be employing people from the communities, and that could be a way to work with them. Could you elaborate on how this could be done? I assume there would be training involved with that. Can you elaborate on that?

9:40 a.m.

Senior Marine Conservation Coordinator, Ecology Action Centre

Susanna Fuller

I haven't thought a great deal about this, but I do think learning from the indigenous guardians program and building that will be important. As we move towards having marine protected areas in coastal areas, making sure that fishermen and the fishing associations that have the vessels are deeply engaged in the monitoring, reporting, and enforcement will be very important. We all know that fishermen have done enforcement over time on each other, sometimes not in the best ways, but I really do think that's where this bottom-up approach will allow us to get buy-in, but then also will allow fishermen to see the benefits over time. I think that one of the things that is in flux right now in Canada is under the national catch monitoring policy, which is being developed.

In terms of training technicians, not just on fishing, but also in monitoring a marine protected area, I think that can be useful if done properly. I think there's a lot of scope for doing things a bit differently, like learning from indigenous guardianship programs and helping fishing associations with capacity to monitor and collect data on their own. There are some very good examples. The LFA 27 management board does a great job on collecting bycatch in the lobster fishery. The Guysborough Country Inshore Fishermen's Association has a very good science program. I think the more that we can increase the capacity of these coastal communities and fishing associations to collect data, the more empowered they will be and we will no longer be in the “science against fishermen” world, but we will be doing it together.

9:40 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

Thank you, Mr. Finnigan.

Mr. Miller, the floor is yours for five minutes, please.

9:40 a.m.

Conservative

Larry Miller Conservative Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Thank you to both of you for being here.

Mr. Lewis-Manning, the questions I have are on your recommendations. We had the minister here—I believe it was two weeks ago—and we were asking about potential MPAs and what have you. The minister had every opportunity to fill the committee in a little bit, but the next day, he announced an MPA that I'm sure you're quite familiar with. You mentioned in your comments that there should be provisions in there for the minister to publish details of an MPA in advance. Obviously, what the minister did a couple of weeks ago is probably a good example of what you were referring to. Could you comment a little bit more on what you would have liked to have seen in advance?

9:45 a.m.

President, Chamber of Shipping

Robert Lewis-Manning

I knew about that MPA, so that was not a surprise. I think my concern is that all of government is working in the same direction. If an interim MPA were to be established, yet Transport Canada, for example, wasn't aware of it because they're working on other pieces of their programming, there could be a concern, right? You need the checks and balance, such that this minister is well-informed and doesn't make that mistake. I think that's why some advance notice is important.

9:45 a.m.

Conservative

Larry Miller Conservative Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

That leads into my second question. You commented that you thought the minister should consult with other ministers, whether it be transport or whatever. Are there other ministers, other than the Minister of Transport, that you think should be involved whenever these kinds of decisions are being contemplated?

9:45 a.m.

President, Chamber of Shipping

Robert Lewis-Manning

Yes. I think Environment and Climate Change Canada needs to be part of that. Absolutely, International Trade and probably some of the agencies that support those departments, as well. They need a good understanding of what else is potentially going on because a five-year period is a long period for other initiatives. They could be very positive initiatives, so you don't want to put the government or the stakeholders, that are making investments, in a place where they're making poor choices or uninformed choices.

9:45 a.m.

Conservative

Larry Miller Conservative Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

You also commented—and I was writing this down as you were speaking, so I may not have it in the right order—that the process need not be lengthy. I think you were referring to the process where other ministers were kept involved or informed. Have I got that right?

9:45 a.m.

President, Chamber of Shipping

Robert Lewis-Manning

Yes. I would say that prior to the establishment of an interim MPA, there does need to be a brief period of consultation, in order to figure out what classes of activities are going to be allowed or prohibited within that interim MPA. I think that's a vital piece for any MPA.

9:45 a.m.

Conservative

Larry Miller Conservative Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

You also talked about having a definition of lawful activity. I think you said that it should include new activities that could happen. Could you expand a little bit on what you were talking about?

9:45 a.m.

President, Chamber of Shipping

Robert Lewis-Manning

At the moment, it's not an issue but let's say we expand our MPAs beyond the 10%. That's a safe assumption. At some point we will see more marine protected areas in places where there's a significant amount of human activity, so my perspective of MPAs might be different from Dr. Fuller's, for example. I'm not putting those words in her mouth, but I can see that day coming. As you draw boxes on our coasts, understanding how they interact with each other is really important. What we're learning as a sector, through the MPA network planning, is that none of this is stagnant.

Climate change is changing how things react, so we need to be nimble in how we approach all of this. What North Atlantic right whales did 10 years ago is not what they're doing today. The same goes for southern resident killer whales on the west coast. Things are changing, so the way we manage that coast has to change with it. It has to be nimble and it has to be engaging.

9:45 a.m.

Conservative

Larry Miller Conservative Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

To take this future potential lawful activity, could you comment on this? I want to tie this in with the moratorium on tankers off the west coast. While there's obviously a lot of ship traffic through that area now, there potentially could be in the future as well. Is that the kind of lawful activity that you're implying we shouldn't totally rule out?

9:50 a.m.

President, Chamber of Shipping

Robert Lewis-Manning

I think having management tools that are harmonized and similar is really important. Every time we introduce a new tool, it gets to be more and more complex. That does make it difficult for stakeholders, not just my sector but stakeholders in general, to operate in. As much as possible, I will always support harmonized tools in legislative frameworks to manage our coasts. That's from both a protection side and a human activity perspective.

9:50 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

Thank you, Mr. Miller.

Thank you everybody. That brings us to the end. We have a little bit of time to play with here. Does anybody have a very quick question?

Mr. McDonald, go ahead.

9:50 a.m.

Liberal

Ken McDonald Liberal Avalon, NL

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you to our guests.

Dr. Fuller, in earlier questioning it almost seemed like, because it receives money from DFO, your organization's reputation would be tarnished for the work you do.

In my home province, we have FFAW, which partners with the union that represents fishers. It partners with DFO on many programs. I don't think they're not going to speak their mind simply because they're partnering with DFO on something. We've recently had a partnership with WWF, and some reinstatement of habitat in my riding—millions of dollars—so I guess they shouldn't be doing that either.

If the department can partner with experts out in the field, they'll get a better result at the end of the day. I don't know if you can explain exactly what work your officials do for the money you receive from DFO. I'd like to give you an opportunity to explain that.

9:50 a.m.

Senior Marine Conservation Coordinator, Ecology Action Centre

Susanna Fuller

Sure. I really can't be bought. I think that should be clear. I don't do this work for the money. I do it because I care and it's important.

I absolutely believe that more collaboration and delivery on the ground with diverse stakeholders is the way we're going to achieve change in this country. The FFAW states their mind, just as I do, and as many other fishing associations do.

We have money from DFO to work with municipalities on the coast that are losing infrastructure because of sea-level rise. We're doing critical public education on that. We can deliver much cheaper and, quite frankly, better programming. We have a level of trust in coastal communities that might not [Technical difficulty—Editor].

I would say on our species-at-risk work—and I was supposed to be at the SARAC meetings with Robert, but I had to be in Labrador for a couple of days—we are working very closely with fishermen on how to better monitor species at risk and how to build tools that work for them, so that we don't have to list marine fish on the Species at Risk Act, which would shut down pretty much all of Atlantic Canada, and so that we can help them when they're trying to work on how to disentangle right whales and how to avoid areas. I think that's very critical work in achieving not just the mandate of the government but the mandate for Canadians on marine biodiversity.

9:50 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

Thank you, Dr. Fuller.

I have to leave it that.

Mr. Doherty, go ahead very quickly, please.

9:50 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Chair, it will be more of a comment than a question to Mr. Lewis-Manning.

Our comment earlier was this: Ms. Fuller's testimony is that she's been involved in the process from the beginning. Nobody doubts or is casting aspersions as to what her or her organization's intent is. We're only saying that the stakeholders, the local fishers...I believe Mr. Lewis-Manning's testimony was that your organization never received any funding from the Department of Fisheries.

9:50 a.m.

President, Chamber of Shipping

November 9th, 2017 / 9:50 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

The comment was we are having stakeholder after stakeholder, the local fishers, the first nations, appearing before our committee and giving testimony about the importance of getting it right. Then an organization comes before us that receives funding from the department. The public may say perhaps this testimony has been purchased.

Again, it wasn't to belittle Ms. Fuller in any way. She's very capable. We've had a number of conversations over the last year. She is at a lot meetings we have. I was at the Ocean Conference in New York. Ms. Fuller was there. She provided great testimony.

Again, at some of the other meetings, I didn't see any of the fishers who make their living off the shores of Canada's coasts. I didn't see the shipping companies that make their living off Canada's waterways. I didn't see the tourism operators who make their living off Canada's coasts and shipping lines. Maybe Ms. Fuller was representing them as well. I have no idea.

At times it does not seem there is a level playing field. That was solely what we are trying to mention.

Thank you.

9:55 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

Was that a question or did you just want to leave it there?

9:55 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Lewis-Manning answered my question, that his company has not received funding.

9:55 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

Mr. Donnelly.

9:55 a.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair, for allowing one final question.

It's to Mr. Lewis-Manning.

Bill C-55 gives the minister increased powers, as you noted. The federal government seems intent on achieving its international commitments of 10% ocean protection. You mentioned that you could foresee the day of perhaps going beyond that 10%.

In general, do you see the importance of protecting our ocean ecosystems while still accommodating marine transportation?

9:55 a.m.

President, Chamber of Shipping

Robert Lewis-Manning

The simple answer is yes.

The devil is in the details on how we do it well. We need to figure that out.