Government introduces new Fisheries Act

Environment Minister Dustin Duncan introduced legislation Wednesday that will improve the province’s ability to respond to threats posed by prohibited and aquatic invasive species, and provide additional protection for aquatic species at risk.

 

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The Fisheries Act (Saskatchewan), 2019, modernizes the language and clarifies the current intent of the Act. The new Act also provides consistency with other pieces of legislation, such as The Wildlife Act, 1998 and The Environmental Management and Protection Act, 2010.

 

“This modernized legislation is an important step in fulfilling our government’s promise to protect Saskatchewan waterbodies from prohibited and aquatic invasive species,” Duncan said. “We are confident that provisions in the new Act will better allow us to sustain, protect and preserve our province’s fishery resources and habitat for future generations to enjoy.”

 

The new Act addresses specific gaps and limitations identified under the existing legislation and provides solutions to address those challenges.

 

Key enhancements include:

• increasing the authority to respond quickly and efficiently to prohibited and aquatic invasive species threats;

• providing authority to enable the development of Saskatchewan Environmental Code chapters;

• providing the Minister with the authority to appoint members to the Saskatchewan Fisheries Advisory Committee; and

• adding provisions to protect provincial aquatic species at risk that are not currently protected under federal legislation.

 

The new Act allows administrative penalties to be applied for offences that don’t directly impact fishery resources, but still warrant a form of financial consequence, such as failing to abide by permitting conditions.

 

During development of the new Act, the ministry engaged with First Nations and Métis communities, the Saskatchewan Fisheries Advisory Committee and stakeholders.

 

The Fisheries (Saskatchewan) Act,1994, had not been subjected to a full review since its inception. The new legislation is expected to be in place by spring 2020.

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