QUÉBEC, June 2, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - The Auditor General of Québec, Ms. Guylaine Leclerc, makes public the Report of the Sustainable Development Commissioner (spring 2016). Chapter 2 makes known the results from work carried out at the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP).
While economic benefits reach nearly $900 million and harvesting activities, including hunting and fishing, create many jobs in the regions, the MFFP has not exercised the required leadership for the development of wildlife-related activities. Licence sales as a proportion of Québec's population have been declining since 2007.
The MFFP has limited knowledge about several species, which compromises its ability to conserve those species and optimize their related development. Knowledge acquisition projects are chosen on an ad hoc basis, and the resulting recommendations often take a long time to be implemented.
The measures taken by the Department to protect species at risk and against invasive exotic species are insufficient. There are no recovery plans for several species at risk. When plans are produced, many of the actions included in them are not implemented. The MFFP has protected very few habitats for those species. Furthermore, it does not have an action plan to effectively fight against invasive exotic species.
The MFFP does not adequately protect wildlife habitats. Few of the conditions associated with its authorizations for the modification of protected habitats are monitored. In addition, a sum of $2.5 million paid by developers to compensate for lost habitats has not yet been used; this represents nearly 40% of the sums collected since 2003.
The MFFP pays little attention to controlled wildlife territories, namely ZECs, outfitting operations and wildlife reserves, for which it has delegated the management of wildlife harvesting activities. It does not itself fulfill several of its responsibilities in those areas. Moreover, it provides little support to ZECs to prevent conflicts arising from the unlawful appropriation of moose hunting grounds or illegal camping.
Wildlife protection officers do not spend enough time in the field. The number of hours spent in the field and the number of infractions issued have decreased by over 15% since 2012, and slightly more than 50% of working hours are devoted to office tasks.
The Highlights are available at www.vgq.qc.ca. The full report is available only in French.
Lucie Roy, Director
SOURCE Vérificateur Général du Québec
For further information: Lucie Roy, Director, Cabinet, communications et affaires stratégiques, Auditor General of Québec, Tel.: 418 691-5915