A DFO investigation has been launched into allegations of habitat destruction in the Heart of the Fraser River. (submitted)

DFO confirms that investigation of fish habitat destruction in the Fraser River is underway

Conservation and Protection reps ordered Herrling and Carey Island owners to take corrective action

Department of Fisheries and Oceans launched an investigation last month into allegations of habitat destruction on islands eyed for development in the Fraser River.

“On November 22, 2018, Conservation and Protection (enforcement branch of DFO) directed the Herrling and Carey Island property owners to take corrective measures,” said Leri Davies, strategic media advisor to Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

“Failure to comply with the corrective measures issued by DFO is a serious matter that may result in further investigation by fishery officers and possible prosecution.”

Several groups have been calling for protection of the world-class salmon and sturgeon spawning habitat that those islands provide, like the B.C. Outdoor Recreation Council and the Watershed Watch Salmon Society. Some were pleased to hear about the investigation launched by DFO.

“We’re anxious to see what they come up with,” said Lina Azeez, Connected Waters campaign manager for the Watershed Watch Salmon Society. “We’re definitely going to be paying attention to their findings.”

READ MORE: Protection needed for river islands

The large island complexes were rezoned in 2016 and clearcut in preparation for agriculture or development.

“The events that have unfolded along the Heart of the Fraser the past two years have been tragic,” said Mark Angelo, ORC Rivers Chair and a longtime river advocate. He says it’s only getting worse, and action is required.

The developers had also applied to build bridges over the river to Herrling and Carey Islands which would “further compound” the damage done by clearcutting to the water’s edge. ORC reps strongly recommended the bridges not be approved, as did B.C. Wildlife Federation and Watershed Watch Salmon Society.

READ MORE: Heart of the Fraser is in peril groups say

DFO is not taking the matter lightly.

“Fisheries and Oceans Canada recognizes the importance of salmon, eulachon and white sturgeon habitats in the Fraser River and the fisheries resources they support,” Davies added, saying DFO regards the incident “as very serious and will take every measure possible to ensure that non-compliance incidents like this are not repeated.”


@CHWKjourno
jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Second earthquake in two days strikes near Agassiz

A 2.6-magnitude recorded Saturday morning

Province bringing 421 new affordable childcare spaces to Fraser Valley

Supporting early childhood educators and creating spaces go hand in hand, minister says

Rude awakening: 1.6-magnitude earthquake rouses residents from their sleep

The quake was detected 3 km east-northeast of Agassiz

Chilliwack Visual Artists Assocation calling for artists to display

Works will be on display at O’Connor Group Art Gallery

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

UBC grad and sister killed in Iran plane crash had bright futures ahead, close friend says

Asadi-Lari siblings Mohammad Hussein and Zeynab were two of 57 Canadians aboard downed Flight PS752

Surrey tells Uber to cease operations in city, but company ‘respectfully’ declines

Ridesharing company told to stop operating within the city by 9 p.m. Jan. 24

Coronavirus concerns cause cancellation of Langley Lunar New Year celebration

Close to 1,000 were expected to attend the annual Live In Langley event on Saturday

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Most Read