Sierra Club of Canada News Release
Thursday, 06 November 2003

Fishermen Call For Seismic Moratorium

(Sydney, N.S.) Representatives of fishermen's groups from across the region are coming together today to demand that a moratorium be placed on seismic exploration in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Corridor Resources applied last week for a permit to do seismic exploration in the near shore off Cape Breton's southwest coast.

Greg Eglisson of the Gulf of St Lawrence Herring Federation today said "Department of Fisheries and Oceans has testified at the public review held by Teresa MacNeil that this area is more sensitive than Georges Bank which is currently under moratorium. Over two billion pounds of commercial fish and marine mammals migrate through these waters at this time of year. How can the Canada Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board even consider granting a permit to do seismic?"

" This proposal is reckless beyond belief," Ronnie Doucet, Vice President of Area 19 Snow Crab Fishermen's Association, said today. The National Energy Board, the Quebec equivalent of the CNSOPB has recently objected to proposed seismic testing in the Gulf because DFO has indicated that exploration could have significant effects on snow crab, northern shrimp and egg bearing female lobsters in particular. DFO also thinks that redfish reproduction and cod migration could be affected. "Risking so many jobs in the region when the risks are clear and the benefits to the region are so few makes no sense" Mr Doucet said.

Both the Fisheries Resources Conservation Council (FRCC) and the House of Commons Fishery Committee have recommended that this area be protected by a moratorium. Ian MacDonald, Gulf Fisheries Petroleum Advisory Board is outraged. "How can the CNSOPB be talking about fast tracking the approval process to several weeks when British Columbia just announced it would take at least six years to consider a similar proposal?"

"The CNSOPB is ignoring recommendations from other regulators and federal scientists as well as the fishing community in a shameless promotion of oil and gas at any cost" Bill MacDonald, a fisherman who has followed oil and gas issues from the beginning of the process, said today. "When even the National Energy Board, the national regulator, urges precaution and our CNSOPB acts as a shameless promoter, it is time to dismantle the CNSOPB and replace it with a process that is sensitive to the real concerns of fishermen, federal scientists and parliamentarians."

Bill MacDonald 787-3195 cel 631-2277
Ronnie Doucet 224-3238 cel 224-0192
Greg Eglisson 485-1729
Ian MacDonald 787-2531

SCC Contact:
Elizabeth May, Sierra Club of Canada, (613) 241-4611
Bruno Marcocchio, Sierra Club of Canada (902) 539-3303

SCC Sydney Tar Ponds page page

> National > Media > News Release