MP Johns calls on government to extend killer whale habitat protection consultation

Media Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 12, 2018

MP Johns calls on government to extend killer whale habitat protection consultation

TOFINO — MP Gord johns (Courtenay-Alberni) has asked the Minster of Fisheries and Oceans to extend his department's external review of proposed protected habitat designations for endangered resident killer whales.

"Those who are dependent on the commercial, sport or indigenous fisheries are simply not able to effectively respond to the government's external review in the middle of the fishing season," Johns said.

The review provides a 30-day opportunity for public comment on proposed designations that could result in eventual closures of salmon fisheries although the Department of Fisheries and Oceans says there are no plans to do so in 2018. The deadline for comments expired yesterday.

"Conducting a consultative processes that impact fisheries in the midst of the fishing season is being viewed with suspicion and mistrust that the government either places a low value on input from the stakeholders or has already decided the outcome and is checking boxes on a list of consultation requirements," Johns said in a letter to federal Fisheries Minister, Dominic Leblanc.

Two habitats (Swiftsure and La Pérouse Banks) on the west coast of Vancouver Island have been identified as potentially critical to the recovery of the whales but before drafting an amendment to its strategy, the department must allow thirty days for public feedback. The protection of habitats for this purpose could cause fishing closures and have harsh consequences for local economies.

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For more information:
Christine Ackermann, gord.johns.a1@parl.gc.ca, 613-240-0454