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Canada eyeing change in Fisheries Act

  |   April 25, 2012 at 2:19 AM
OTTAWA, April 25 (UPI) -- Canada's Conservative government said it wants to change the Fisheries Act to concentrate on protecting "vital" rivers and lakes.

Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield described the current law as a one-size-fits-all proposition, The (Toronto) Globe and Mail reported. The government is involved in a major effort to reduce what it describes as burdensome regulations caused by environmental laws.

"It makes good, common sense that the government should be able to minimize or eliminate restrictions on commonplace activities that pose little to no threat, at the same time, maintain appropriate, reasonable and responsible protection for Canada's fisheries," Ashfield said.

Elizabeth May of the Green Party suggested the Conservatives are really interested in eliminating regulations for mining and the exploitation of oil sands. Lara Tessaro, a lawyer with EcoJustice, a Vancouver-based group, said the freshwater ecosystem is part of a web.

"In the context of environmental protection, it is a really bizarre approach to have government officials handpick which lakes are not important," she said. "What fish need to survive is healthy and productive habitats, from spawning grounds to rearing grounds to habitats for their entire food chain."

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