More Effort Needed to Reduce PEI Fish Kills


More needs to be done to prevent P.E.I. fish kills: director

Jim Day jim.day@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on September 15, 2017

More focus needs to be placed on areas of P.E.I. that are at higher risk of fish kills, says an environmental director.

Kate MacQuarrie, the provincial director of Forests, Fish and Wildlife, would like an increased collective effort made to identify and prioritize more susceptible areas.

“And again, involving watershed groups, industry, landowners and government in the solutions is absolutely critical,’’ she stresses.

“Certainly the recipe for fish kills, as we know, is intense weather events and the land use prior to those events.’’

MacQuarrie made the comments to media after giving a detailed presentation on fish kills Friday to the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Fisheries.

There have been 58 reported fish kills across the province since about 1960, she notes.

Since 1990, the trend “has been flat’’ with an average of one fish kill event per year.

The number of fish killed in any given event, says MacQuarrie, varies from as little as a handful to thousands.

“It’s certainly an issue that I think collectively we need to address,’ she said.

“Prevention is what we need to deal with here.’’

She cited enhanced buffer zones, grassed waterways and soil engineering structures as some positive initiatives taken to reduce the risk of fish kills on P.E.I.

Green Party leader Peter Bevan-Baker told fellow standing committee members the province must deal with the root causes of fish kills.

“We really have to re-envision how we do agriculture,’’ he says.

Communities, Land and Environment Minister Robert Mitchell, who also took part in Friday’s presentation says farmers want to be good stewards of the land.

He adds legislation alone will not solve the problem.

“No individual can do this on their own,’’ he told reporters following the presentation.

“I think all sectors need to be working together - and that’s industry, the producer and government – to come up and identify things that we can do better and assist those that are growing the crops to get there.’’