OTTAWA— “Today the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans has rejected the government’s claim that warm water temperatures were primarily responsible for the 2004 Fraser River sockeye disaster, laying the blame squarely on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans,” said John Cummins, M.P. (Delta-Richmond East).
The report was tabled in Parliament this morning. It included a supplementary report, Ensuring the Future of Fraser River Sockeye: An action Plan for the 2005 Season, by Cummins.
Cummins made the following statement in the House of Commons:
Mr. Speaker, today the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans tabled its report on the 2004 Fraser River sockeye disaster.
“The Committee rejected the minister's contention that high water temperatures alone in the Fraser River accounted for the missing fish. The Committee suggests that illegal fishing, mismanagement of the aboriginal fisheries and a lack of commitment to enforcement were the key causes of the disaster.
In a separate supplementary report, I recommend a plan that will prevent a repeat of the 2004 disaster by first, prohibiting the use of destructive set nets in the Fraser Canyon; second, by ending the illegal sale of food, social and ceremonial fish; and third, by creating a new fisheries enforcement branch free of political interference, an enforcement branch with a police agency designation and more than double the current number of fisheries officers on the lower Fraser.
The Department of Fisheries failed miserably to protect Fraser sockeye in 2004. These recommendations will protect the Fraser fishery from another disaster.”
(double click the link to listen)
Contact: John Cummins, M.P.
(613) 992-2957, (cell) (604) 970-0937, (604) 940-8040