Ottawa goes on a fish scientist hiring binge
Here's something that Canadian fish scientists haven't read in a while: "Help wanted."
This is the problem. There's so much that needs to be done, where do you start?- Michael Rennie, former DFO scientist
The Conservatives cut 310 positions at Fisheries and Oceans Canada. But now the Liberal government has announced it is reinvesting $20 million in the department — and hiring 135 people.
"I thought it was great news," Michael Rennie, a former government research scientist, tells As It Happens host Carol Off. "Really, it's a department that suffered horrific cuts since 2012, so the need for reinvestment was there."
Rennie is now a Canada Research Chair at Lakehead University who works with the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA).
The Conservatives ceased federal funding of the ELA, a world-renowned research facility in northern Ontario. It became the centre of a battle over funding of freshwater research.
- Related: No longer with the federal government, ELA biologist Michael Rennie is finally able to speak to media
It is now funded by the International Institute for Sustainable Development and the governments of Ontario and Manitoba.
Rennie says having the 135 new federal researchers and biologists on staff to do monitoring and stock assessments of Canada's fish and marine species will help rebuild the science capacity "taken apart" under the previous government.
But he acknowledges that there is still much more he and others would like to see invested in, beyond today's commitment by Ottawa.
"This is the problem," he says. "There's so much that needs to be done, where do you start?"
For more on this story, take a listen to our full interview with Michael Rennie.