Mr. Speaker, protection of our rivers across the country, especially in Newfoundland and Labrador, is one of many important issues facing our country today. River guardians are the conservation officers who are contracted out by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to assist full time DFO officers in the protection of our rivers.
When are we going to learn from our mistakes? Are we prepared to make the same mistakes we made with our cod stocks and other species? When are we going to stop cutting back in the areas that directly affect our most precious resources? River guardians protect our rivers from poachers who have no desire to abide by the law and in turn destroy our fish stocks.
This year river guardians will be further reduced by one week. DFO should not be cutting back in this area. These cutbacks are unacceptable and should not be tolerated. More guardians are needed on the rivers for longer periods to ensure that our rivers are protected from poachers. This will result in better management of our fish resource.