Poaching more likely in wake of cuts, say wildlife advocates
Newfoundland and Labrador's latest budget will mean fewer conservation officers patrolling woods and streams, advocates warn, noting that poachers will have an easier time after the jobs are cut.
NAPE president Carol Furlong said she feared that cuts to wildlife staff will also mean the elimination of a program brought in to protect salmon stocks.
"A lot of these people were brought in as part of a program when the former Premier Danny Williams was in office," Furlong told CBC News.
"He brought them in for the inland fishery and that was to ensure the survival of the salmon stocks and we are very concerned that that could be in jeopardy."
Furlong said with fewer employees on the ground, there will be fewer patrols and less protection of wildlife resources.
Meanwhile, the director for the Atlantic Salmon Federation in Corner Brook said the cuts to the wildlife division are unacceptable.
"Based on the research that I have done in terms of these cuts and being involved in this industry for a while, I mean, these cuts are going to have a significant, negative impact on the resources," Ivany told CBC News.
Ivany said the applicable cuts are being rolled out in both the Department of Justice and the Department of Environment and Conservation.
Ivany said the combination of layoffs and the elimination of vacant jobs will be devastating.
"Within the wildlife management division is the inland fish research division and they have lost all their staff except for the director and one technician," he said.
"There were 29 inland fish and wildlife enforcement officers positions about to be filled, and those positions are gone completely now, in addition to other layoffs that will occur."
Ivany said one reason to reverse the cut is tourism, as wildlife resources and the outdoors attract many visitors — and millions of dollars each year.