As an Environmental Consultant, a HADD was a situation to be avoided at all costs if you were involved with a development project in fish habitat. The acronym stood for “… the harmful alteration, disruption or destruction” of fish habitat and represented robust provisions within the Fisheries Act for the protection of fish habitat from threats such as excessively turbid water.
HADDs were legislated under Section 35 of the Fisheries Act prior to 2012 when the federal Conservative government limited this section of the Act to include “… serious harm to fish that are part of or support a commercial recreational or Aboriginal fishery” only.
This change essentially gave a green light to development that did not impact fish species targeted by commercial or Aboriginal interests, and craftily excluded industrial development activities such as blasting near water, diversion of water, industrial run-off, and increased temperature of water by repealing another section of the Act (Section 32: A prohibition against of the destruction of fish by means other than fishing).
Many organizations and individuals are concerned with how these changes are negatively impacting aquatic ecosystems across Canada. The federal government is asking for public input to guide further amendments to the Act – a worthwhile endeavour no matter your level of knowledge or involvement with fisheries issues in this country in the past.