Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Big Launch: The Case Against the DFO

Hello and thanks for reading.

This blog is focused mainly on the Big Question in the title box above-- which is, roughly, "Should the DFO be dissolved? Why or why not? If so, how?"

It might sound like question #2a from a university civics exam, but it's not an idle question, or at least not meant as one. It might be the most pressing policy question for marine conservation in Canada today.

I'm not a scientist, a policy expert, or a fisherman; but after interviewing many people with fisheries experience, my conclusion is that the DFO as it currently exists is a big problem for marine mammals and fish in Canadian waters, and salmon in particular.

The Earth is currently in a period many conservation biologists are calling the Sixth Extinction. Decimation of marine species is old news in Newfoundland; local extinction, or extirpation, is now on our doorstep here in British Columbia. At a time when global warming may be poised to affect the spawning and disease cycles of all aquatic animals, it's critical that we manage our fisheries and marine ecosystems with as much knowledge and precaution-- and as little short-term political bullying-- as possible.


Canadians need to start asking questions about fisheries management. And start doing things differently. Does the DFO allow or facilitate the destruction of wild fish stocks and their habitat? Would Canada's fish be better served by some other regulatory arrangement? And if so, what kind of arrangement-- and how can we practically put it in place before it's too late?

This won't be a blog in the traditional sense of a daily journal, but more like a virtual courtroom. The DFO is in the dock. How judgment will be rendered I'm not sure, but using the conservation biologist's weight-of-evidence approach I hope this blog will stir up some concrete proposals for policy change. And possibly a petition or two. Or maybe an assessment that the DFO and government policy are utterly beside the point and some other course of action is indicated.

Please share your thoughts. Respectful opinions, anecdotes, experiences, and references are welcome. Also I plan to share responsibility for minding this blog with two or three others. If you have a background in this area and would be willing to help, please let me know.


  1. What a cool idea for a blog, and a great way to get this conversation started more publicly! how about some more evidence in the case against the DFO; the documentary 'Saving Luna'. have you seen it?
    Keep up the good work!

  2. Thanks Sara. I haven't seen the 'Saving Luna' film-- did DFO play some role in that?
    Thanks for the reference.