The Science Framework for Implementing the Fisheries Protection Provisions of Canada’s Fisheries Act

Screen Shot 2015-07-04 at 7.18.17 PMJake Rice, Michael J. Bradford, Keith D. Clarke, Marten A. Koops, Robert G. Randall, and Roger Wysocki ABSTRACT: In 2012, Canada’s Fisheries Act was amended. New fisheries protection provisions provide for the sustainability and ongoing productivity of commercial, recreational, and Aboriginal fisheries. These provisions replace previous provisions that focused on fish habitats, and concerns have been expressed that the amended Act has lowered aquatic habitat protection. The science framework developed for implementation of the new provisions is based on the relationships between fisheries productivity and the response of habitats or populations to pressures, with pressures linked to specific classes of activities through pathways of effects models. The framework includes guidance on quantifying productivity, scales and types of impacts, establishing equivalence in offsetting, and managing risk. Risk of failing to achieve the intent of the fisheries protection provisions is only managed when impacts of activities have a net neutral or positive effect on fisheries productivity. This standard applies whether the evaluation of an activity is by self- or assisted assessment or a more comprehensive project evaluation.

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