Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Salmon Enhancement and Habitat Advisory Board

Closing the Loop SEHAB/RHQ Meeting
Pinnacle at the Pier, North Vancouver

March 9, 2014


 Attending DFO

Bonnie Antcliffe Director, Ecosytem Management Branch
Kaarina McGivney Manager, SEP

Attending SEHAB

LeandreVignault - HaidaGwaii
Jim Shinkewski - PSF
Wayne Salewski - Central Interior N.
Ian Bruce - Lower Vancouver Island
ZoAnn Morten - PSKF
Grieg Houlden - Smithers, N/Western BC
Jan Lemon - Northern Interior North Coast
Brian Smith - Vancouver
Paul Cipywynk - North Side Fraser River, Burnaby to Mission
Eric Carlisle - BC Steelhead Society
Dianne Sanford - Sunshine Coast
Jim Armstrong - South Side Fraser River
Lee Hesketh - Central Interior: Boston Bar to 100 Mile House


SEHAB Vice-Chair Jim Shinkewski greeted everyone, and thanked Bonnie and Kaarina for taking the time to meet with SEHAB on the weekend. This provided a great opportunity for all SEHAB members present at the October meeting to participate.

 Key Issues:

  • Self-declared QEPs, Professional Conduct, Notification System, Auditing
  • Hazardous Materials – limit corridors
  • How Projects are Assessed/Authorized
  • Budget - Lack of funding, staff support
  • Enforcement problems, point of contact (nobody to call). Federal and provincial, compliance
  • Steelhead aquaculture licensing

Self-declared QEPs, Professional Conduct, Notification System, Auditing

SEHAB: With changes to the Fisheries Act there is a shift toward more professional reliance.
There doesn’t appear to be any criteria or oversight of qualified environmental professionals (QEPs)
Changes to habitat legislation are resulting in no, or fewer, authorizations

DFO: Still have to avoid habitat impacts. Use the self-assessment system on the DFO website. Don’t know if we will develop accreditation for QEPs. Still very busy understanding the new legislation and new regulations but you still have to avoid serious harm.

SEHAB: See this as a big problem in the long run.

DFO: Burden of proof has shifted. HADD is now serious harm. Now completely hands off for low-risk projects.

SEHAB: Harm is happening.Developers will hire the “professional” that gives them the answer they want. A lot of people who are not qualified to practice are doing so.

ACTION Bonnie: We will do more thinking on this and I will raise this issue in Ottawa.

ACTION Bonnie: Ask Brad to come to June SEHAB meeting 

Hazardous Materials – limit corridors

SEHAB: Major concern is impact of corridors and the environment and watersheds.There are 7 various pipeline proposals for northern BC. Where will DFO be in this process?Local community has been urging minsters over the years to neck all pipelines into one corridor, and have had zero success in getting that to happen, thought they acknowledge it’s a good idea.Have not seen one DFO or provincial employee on Northern Gateway in 3 ½ years
Rail issue: we don’t want to pit pipe vs rail vs truck.
Nobody is coordinating geographic response plans.
Issue of Gerrard trout, sturgeon

DFO: Transport Canada tanker safety panel report. Govt has yet to respond to report. Area-based plans are all in this report. Coast Guard issue. We are watching this carefully and looking at how to position ourselves.We inventorying sensitive aquatic habitat.Cabinet will make Enbridge decision If approved DFO will look at stream crossings, mitigation etc.

How Projects are Assessed/Authorized

SEHAB: Example of NEB Given Habitat/Fish authority. What’s the notification process? How is NEB going to deal with fisheries issues, habitat?

DFO: MOU with NEB. NEB does front-end work, then it comes to DFO. Our staff would check mitigation. This is still fairly new. Notion is they look at crossings, mitigation, if need authorization come to DFO. DFO must still do authorizations. NEB will have to develop expertise.

SEHAB: There is a common perception among the public that NEB now has authority to affect habitat.

DFO: We still control final authorizations.

Budget - Lack of funding, staff support

SEHAB: Community fears of another round of possible cuts. Issue of attrition through retirements. We don’t want to lose key positions. We can’t do work without the restoration unit. If we lose positions they may never come back. We don’t see the faces any more.
Examples from Jan – We had excellent habitat people and we’re down to one. There is no way he can monitor everything. Local people have total lack of confidence that anyone is watching what is going on. LNG plant slated for Lelu Island – there are fish there, though proponent is saying there aren’t. We need DFO people on the ground.
Lee – I’d rather lose an enforcement position than a habitat position.

DFO: Not much we can say about this. It’s a dynamic environment. We value the habitat restoration program.

SEHAB: CAs and their tenures are very important. Several areas now have revolving CAs. Relocating staff is an issue. The sooner that we can get permanent people the better because that would give more stability. We need people with experience, and it’s important to have CAs at this table, but with short-term CAs it’s very difficult to get good people here.

DFO: Staffing has been a real challenge due to broader processes in the department.We see the need to stabilize this as soon as we can. Employment rules may ease a bit going forward. We may want to come back to you for more advice on this later this year.

SEHAB: Is there any consideration of combining areas?

DFO: We may need to look at that.

Enforcement problems, point of contact (nobody to call). Federal & provincial. Compliance

SEHAB: Example from Dianne S - There’s been an absence of enforcement on the Sunshine Coast and all over BC. We haven’t had a biologist on SC for years now. Local stewards have been working with eelgrass for over ten years yet a lot of areas are impacted and disappear before they are even monitored. Our fisheries officers will be gone soon. All we will have left is a CA – and speculation of what will happen to him alone in a big office.Nobody answers phones. Who can we go to when there is a problem? The FOs who will soon be gone have good rapport with sports fishermen, commercial fishermen.The fast-response boat will be in Nanaimo, and that’s too far. When there are problems, we need immediate response.

DFO: FA changes may have had an impact on protection. We are in discussions with enforcement folks about what this means, and delivery going forward.

SEHAB question – are FOs working for EC?

DFO: not aware of that, will look into that.

SEHAB: Example from Ian – poor planning by developers, poor implementation of sediment control. We’ve had oil spills where nobody shows up for 4 days. It has to be front page news before we get any action from DFO or EC or the province. We don’t see any enforcement. We don’t see any charges.
SEHAB: Example from Greig – we used to have an office with 3 FOs, we now have none. We see backhoes in streams in spawning season, and nobody comes out.We’re doing everything we’re supposed to be doing, but we’re not seeing DFO enforcing habitat violations.
SEHAB: Example from ZoAnn – ORR updated in Streamkeeper Handbook. The two people we were working with on this in DFO are both gone now. It’s good to know who to phone, when, why.
SEHAB: We see jurisdictional scraps. Coming out, looking, and doing nothing is better than not showing up at all.If the laws are not enforced, they become meaningless.

DFO: ACTION Bonnie- next meeting we need to have someone from C&P to talk to.

SEHAB: Example from Paul – Silver Creek coal spill in Burnaby. Unfortunately there was no visible DFO response. It was a DFO >EC> Provincial merry-go-round. Public is confused, press is confused. When there’s a black hole, people assume the worst.Public not happy with the perpetrator self-assessing damage and cleanup. People feel govt should still have a presence.

Steelhead aquaculture licensing

SEHAB: Thanks to committee for excellent work. How to deal with two jurisdictions? Groups are unable to comply by Nov. 1. Groups have been hearing different things so it’s confusing. Province has not responded to meeting requests. Sense from stewardship groups that they are being bullied.Groups being asked to hold licenses do not get to make decisions, but are being asked to accept liability.  Theprovince has production planning, BMPs etc. So it makes sense for province to hold license for steelhead, but they’ve said no.
SEHAB: Worry about letter coming to groups that they are “out of compliance.” We miss the proactive collaborative approach.We need to get provincial govt. on board.Importance of relationship building.Meanwhile groups are fearful and asking for some time to keep fish healthy.Why so much pressure on little groups to be in compliance?
SEHAB: Would like to see a letter from DFO saying we are willing to work with groups to work with province.Almost all steelhead producing groups are in same position. All are related to systems in which steelhead may be extirpated. We would lose populations.

DFO: Elaborate on collaboration, working with province.

SEHAB: We still haven’t received ATIP FOI material.Nobody will hold this license, why is this still such a hot potato?

DFO: How do we move forward?Steelhead are a provincial mandate. Province feels they are not directly responsible for enhancement – this is all Freshwater Fishing Society now. DFO does not provide expertise re steelhead. Our staff has sent out info packages because there is an activity that isn’t currently licensed but should be.

SEHAB: Community wasn’t involved in the conversation. DFO does hold steelhead licenses at major facilities.

DFO: Aquaculture concerns. If there is not a plan to license, then we have to move toward stopping the activity, but there will be nothing detrimental to present fish.  We’re not going to solve this today. We understand what you’re saying.

DFO: Yes, we’re holding licenses at major federal facilities, but at federal hatcheries our staff is actually doing the work.

SEHAB: But we follow your rules in our hatcheries. Trying to see where the line is drawn.
SEHAB: Stall the letter, convince the provincial govt to get on board. Fear that if letter shutting down steelhead arrives, stewards will go to media, and it will get messy.


Bonnie: Thank you for a very helpful discussion. I hear where you’re coming from.
Kaarina: I am retiring. It’s been a pleasure finishing my career in SEP, and I have enjoyed getting out into communities.

SEHAB: We’ve greatly valued working with you.

Action Items RHQ/SEHAB March 9, 2014





Issue of self-declared QEPs, lack of qualification, oversight. Notification system.

We will do more thinking on this and I will raise this issue in Ottawa



Issue of self-declared QEPs, lack of qualification, oversight. Notification system.

Ask Brad to come to next SEHAB meeting



Enforcement, compliance issues. Nobody to call. Nobody to respond

Get someone from C&P to come to next RHQ meeting



Action Items RHQ/SEHAB Oct, 21 2013





Arrange for SEP staff to meet with SEHAB on the Adams River (Squilax) next Oct 18,19, 20 and 21

SEHAB to book meeting there/Bonnie to facilitate staff and perhaps Minister meeting in conjunction



SEHAB RHQ meeting regularly scheduled for 0900 Monday morning immediately following the SEHAB weekend meeting. Minutes always contain next meeting dates for reference

Schedule staff and room for

March 11 and June 10



Information on next round of “Recreational Fisheries” granting opportunity

Adam – for assistance:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Provide information to the public/SEHAB on Cohen, WSP and FA changes

Disseminate information as it becomes available



Provide a definitive definition of Habitat under the new FA

Send out asap



Supply SEHAB with information on CA’s and RRU personnel. 

DFO to check into



Sehab minutes to be kept short and succinct – posted on more than SEHAB website.  Secretariat Guidelines Criteria for SFAB, does SEHAB follow?

DFO to provide secretariat guidelines criteria



Approach Ken Ashley, Marvin Rosenenau

And others to advocate for better “professional reliance” under RAR

Contact people and query into quality control?

SEHAB to discuss


Action  item – after speaking to Sue Pollard, Brian will speak to Diana Trager

Set up meeting

Brian to contact Sue Pollard and Diana Trager




Action to discuss with Diana Trager the Nov 1 deadline and reactions if not implemented

Kaarina to discuss and report back



Obtain copy of DFO guidelines provided to Province  on seaweed wrack harvest

Contact responsible party within DFO



Description of liabilities involved with signing an aquaculture license. Why is DFO (and the Province with freshwater enhancement) not prepared to sign off on the licenses? How was the decision to make enhancement an aquaculture activity

Provide the information, have meetings, determine best course of action with all at the table

DFO aquaculture