Development of fisheries production metrics for offsets in Great Lakes wetlands
Since 1868, the Canadian government has enforced legislation to protect fishes and their habitats. In 2012, amendments to the Fisheries Act shifted legislation from the protection of fish habitat to the protection of fisheries productivity. The Act requires that proposed development projects include plans to mitigate negative impacts to fisheries productivity. In the event that impacts cannot be fully mitigated, the net loss of fisheries productivity must be negated using offsets actions that would increase productivity elsewhere. Quantifying the impacts of development on fisheries productivity remains a challenge. It also represents an opportunity for government, industry, and academia to collaboratively develop tools that measure productivity to assess the impact, mitigation, and offsetting of development projects. This project will develop such tools using an offset project, the restoration of Big Island Wetland by Ontario Power Generation, as an example. These tools will allow OPG and other organizations to meet their legal obligation of protecting fisheries productivity while maintaining economic productivity.