Mr. Speaker, I think it is important to distinguish the two issues. Certainly, the issues in British Columbia have nothing to do with marine protected areas. They have to do with conservation for the purpose of saving Fraser chinook salmon.
Extensive consultations went on over many months with all relevant stakeholders and first nations communities with respect to Fraser chinook salmon and the fisheries regulations. However, that needs to be seen in a broader context. This government has brought forward a new Fisheries Act to restore the lost protections that were taken out under the previous government. We just committed $142 million for salmon habitat restoration, alongside our partner, the Government of British Columbia. We are actively working with stakeholders on a whole range of other issues, including the use of hatcheries and the idea of marked fisheries.
However, we also have to ensure that in the short term, enough of these salmon are getting back to the spawning grounds so they will be able not only to stabilize but to recover. I have said very clearly in the press that I will not be the minister who makes the easy political decision and knowingly allows these stocks to become extinct.
That was the basis on which the decision in British Columbia was made. It was the right decision from an environmental perspective, and it was the right decision from a biodiversity perspective.
On the Atlantic coast, there is an issue regarding the proposed east coast marine protected area. It relates to some of the concerns the lobster harvesters have. We have been very clear that lobster harvesting would not be impacted.
I went to have this conversation with the lobster harvesters last week myself. We engaged in the conversation, and I intend to continue that conversation. I have indicated to them that I will come back to further that conversation. We will take the time necessary to ensure that all perspectives are considered, and ideally all concerns can be addressed.