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

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

A convoy of seven pickup trucks, six of which were hauling boats, makes its way around the Chilliwack Law Courts on Dec. 1, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
First court date for Fraser River anglers ticketed during demonstration fishery

Convoy of trucks circled the courthouse in downtown Chilliwack Tuesday honking their support

A full moon sinks behind the mountains as the sun rises on the first day of December in Chilliwack on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
WEATHER: Chilliwack in for nearly a week of sunshine

Forecast calls for sun most of the week, temperatures reaching high of 10 C Friday

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

Mirandy Tracy, left, and Tara Kurtz are two Langley mothers who are organizing a "sick out" for Tuesday, Dec. 1 to protest COVID conditions in schools. They're calling for masks and smaller class sizes, among other things. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Politician, labour leader throw support behind student Sick Out day

Langley parents started the movement to keep kids home on Dec. 1 as a protest

A family emerged with a purchase at the Tannenbaum Tree Farm at 5398 252 St in Aldergrove on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
Christmas tree season is off to an early start

People are ‘bored’ with staying home due to COVID-19 and want to decorate early, farm owner believes

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A heavy police presence was on scene on Dec. 28, 2017 following the shooting death on Bates Road in Abbotsford of Alexander Blanarou, 24, of Surrey. (Abbotsford News file photo)
Three men charged with Abbotsford shooting death of Surrey man

Alexander Blanarou, 24, was killed in a rural area on Dec. 28, 2017

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

Most Read