Energy regulator reviews easing Arctic drilling rules Publish Date: 22-JUL-2014 10:16 AM Canada’s national energy regulator is reviewing whether to ease longstanding safety rules surrounding deep water oil exploration in the Arctic. The National Energy Board announced the mid-summer review, potentially drifting from a long-standing Arctic policy still in effect in the United States that requires companies to drill emergency relief wells to contain spewing oil in case of a blowout.
Executive Director of ELA offers update on facility Publish Date: 16-JUL-2014 02:47 PM With research underway and a new board of directors in place, things are looking up at the Experimental Lakes Area."We're really happy with the board we have put together," says Matt McCandless, who is the CEO. "The ELA has always been known for water research excellence, and we have board members who bring that. But now that the Experimental lakes Area is run by the IISD, there is a business dimension we need to consider.
Dreaded Asian Carp the target of new Ontario lab Publish Date: 07-JUL-2014 08:53 AM Canada has a new tool to battle the spread of an insatiable invasive species: an Asian carp research lab that’s the first of its kind in the country. Researchers say the Burlington, Ont.-based lab at the Canada Centre for Inland Waters (CCIW) will be an integral part of the battle against a fish that threatens to decimate food sources for native species in North America. The facility was formally unveiled Monday.
Feds Quintuple allowed Catch on Endangered Salmon Species Publish Date: 27-JUN-2014 02:30 PM Fisheries and Oceans Canada is allowing commercial fishermen to catch five times as many endangered coho salmon in anticipation of this year's massive sockeye run on the Fraser River. Conservationists are outraged with the federal decision, which they say will further threaten the coho species in the rush to allow fishermen a greater catch during the annual sockeye return.
Report warns world's fragile oceans pushed to point of collapse Publish Date: 23-JUN-2014 02:23 PM The Global Ocean Commission has put forward a report on the declining health of the planet’s high seas, the 64 per cent of the ocean surface that isn’t under the control and protection of a national government. The commission is a combination of public and private sector figures, including former heads of state and ministers as well as business people, supported by scientific and economic advisors working on ways to reverse the degradation of the ocean and address the failures of high seas governance. Their report sets out five main problems, from dramatic over-fishing to rising pollution, and a set of recommendations for reversing the decline.
Ottawa withholding data on B.C. salmon farms: report Publish Date: 16-JUN-2014 10:55 AM The federal government is hampering scientific research on fish diseases by refusing to release all of the data gathered from salmon farms on the West Coast, a new report by the University of Victoria has concluded.
Oil, gas exploration may harm Gulf, scientists warn Publish Date: 09-JUN-2014 02:57 PM A new report argues that, with federal science cuts and policy changes, Canadians don’t have enough scientific knowledge of the Gulf of St. Lawrence to allow for safe oil and gas exploration there. A lack of research and newly-relaxed environmental assessment regulations leave too much unknown, wrote the co-authors of the St. Lawrence Coalition report, all of whom are scientists working for environmental organizations. For example, the decline of the beluga population in the area “should trigger the alarm” that more work is needed to understand contaminants currently in Gulf waters, as well as the effects of climate change, says the report. Nine conservation groups from Eastern Canada signed the report.
David Suzuki: The challenge of sustaining our oceans Publish Date: 03-JUN-2014 08:22 AM June 8 is World Oceans Day. It's a fitting time to contemplate humanity's evolving relationship with the source of all life. For much of human history, we've affected marine ecosystems primarily by what we've taken out of the seas. The challenge as we encounter warming temperatures and increasing industrial activity will be to manage what we put into them. As a top predator, humans from the tropics to the poles have harvested all forms of marine life, from the smallest shrimp to the largest whales, from the ocean's surface to its floor. The staggering volume of fish removed from our waters has had a ripple effect through all ocean ecosystems. Yet the ocean continues to provide food for billions of people, and improved fishing practices in many places, including Canada, are leading to healthier marine-life populations. We're slowly getting better at managing what we catch to keep it within the ocean's capacity to replenish. But while we may be advancing in this battle, we're losing the war with climate change and pollution.
Harper government holds up UN guidelines protecting small-scale fisheries Publish Date: 02-JUN-2014 08:04 AM What is it about the Harper government's special kink about fisheries -- and the media's failure to hold it to account for its unrelenting assault on it and everything related to it (including environment, foreign affairs and the abuse of Parliament) -- which, more than anything, reveals the government's nasty streak?
Consider this episode of fisheries-related Harperism on the international stage. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization has drafted guidelines, after five years of member-state consultations, to promote small-scale fisheries worldwide, with the emphasis on sustainability and food security in impoverished countries. Of nearly 100 countries involved, guess which is the only one not signing -- and thereby holding up the procedure under UN rules of unanimity, which could well scuttle it?
Scientists press Canada to approve fishing guidelines despite occupation wording Publish Date: 29-MAY-2014 02:41 PM HALIFAX — Canadian scientists are urging the federal government to approve guidelines aimed at protecting small-scale fisheries around the world, but which are being held up by Ottawa over concerns the process has become too politicized. About 70 academics, fisheries experts and ecologists from across the country signed a letter to the prime minister and the ministers of foreign affairs and fisheries, urging them to sanction the document from a committee with the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization. Ratana Chuenpagdee, a Memorial University professor in St. John’s, N.L., who consulted on the guidelines, said they sent the letter Monday after Canada abruptly registered its opposition to certain wording and became the only dissenting voice out of 97 other member states.
Group wants probe of B.C. salmon farms Publish Date: 22-MAY-2014 01:44 PM Officials at an environment commission established under the North American free-trade agreement are calling for an investigation into whether Canada is enforcing pollution laws around salmon farms in British Columbia. In a statement released Thursday, the Secretariat of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation said there are grounds to investigate complaints “that Canada is failing to effectively enforce fish habitat protection and pollution prevention provisions … in relation to salmon aquaculture operations authorized by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in coastal B.C.” The CEC’s three-member governing council – which is made up of the highest-ranking environmental officials of Canada, Mexico and the U.S. – now has until Aug. 12 to vote on whether to accept the secretariat’s recommendation.
Canadian government launches attack on NAFTA’s environmental arm in midst of investigation into leaking tar sands tailings Publish Date: 22-MAY-2014 09:06 AM Toronto, ON – A new letter from the Canadian government reveals it is trying to undermine NAFTA’s Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) to stop an investigation into the lack of enforcement of the federal Fisheries Act pertaining to leaking toxic liquid waste from tar sands tailings lakes. “This letter is the latest in a dangerous pattern of the federal government systematically attacking anything that gets in the way of its reckless plans for tar sands expansion,” says Hannah McKinnon of Environmental Defence. “The government has muzzled scientists, gutted environmental laws, shut the public out of pipeline hearings, attacked environmental organizations, abandoned other international treaties, and now it is attacking the respected CEC for doing what it is mandated to do – look into the pollution of our water.”
Ministers say salmon not being restored in Fraser River Publish Date: 21-MAY-2014 01:34 PM Almost none of the 75 recommendations B.C. Supreme Court Justice Bruce Cohen made on how to restore sockeye stocks in the Fraser River have been acted on by Ottawa, two federal ministers indicate. Critics have long accused the government of failing to follow up on the $26-million Cohen Commission report in a meaningful way. But it wasn’t until Liberal MP Lawrence MacAulay recently asked detailed questions about which recommendations were adopted that the government verified the extent of its actions.
CFIA shuts down first new P.E.I. lobster processor in a decade Publish Date: 18-MAY-2014 03:08 PM HOWARDS COVE - A Howards Cove seafood processing plant has not had its registration renewed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). A CIFA spokesperson said Red Cove seafood processing was allowed to resume operations following an earlier suspension on April 14 under ongoing inspection by CFIA. On May 8, CFIA decided not to renew Red Cove’s registration. Red Cove Seafood Products Inc. in Howard’s Cove was given the first new lobster processing licence in more than a decade on April 30 this year.
The struggle to keep the Experimental Lakes Area Publish Date: 14-MAY-2014 10:55 AM The lakes allow scientists to study the impact of pollutants on entire ecosystems, and, since opening in 1968, have provided reams of invaluable data. But for the past two years the ELA has been making headlines for reasons other than research. “It was May 17, 2012, the day that changed so many of our lives,” says Diane Orihel, who at the time was a visiting University of Alberta graduate student who’d been working at the ELA on and off for a decade. She remembers seeing the facility’s scientists as they made their way to the meeting where Fisheries and Oceans Canada officials announced that the ELA’s federal funding would be cut. At first she was shocked. Then she acted. “I felt like I needed to be a voice for the muzzled scientists in the room,” she says. Familiar with the ELA’s research, politics and, unlike the full-time scientists who worked there, not an employee of the federal government, she was well positioned to speak her mind.
Canadian Science Goes Down the Drain Publish Date: 14-MAY-2014 10:48 AM The announcement caused outrage in the international science community, among journalists and the general public. The Harper government, bewildered that there would be such widespread support for an obscure low-budget field station, quickly changed its story: they would be seeking a new operator for the site. Only one such operator showed interest: the International Institute for Sustainable Development, a Winnipeg-based think tank. Negotiations between DFO and IISD began in the autumn of that year. March 31, 2014 was set as a target date for an agreement.
Health regulation update aims to reduce disease at fish farms Publish Date: 06-MAY-2014 09:19 AM The fisheries and aquaculture minister says an update of the province’s health regulations for fish farms will increase information for department staff as the industry develops. A call for proposals was issued this month that would see an extensive, yearlong review and update with the aim of controlling disease pathogens of fish and establishing steps to prevent or control disease outbreaks. “We’re trying to set a new standard for the industry and make sure we have the documentation to back it up,” said Keith Colwell.
Ottawa tourne le dos aux océans (French) Publish Date: 03-MAY-2014 01:40 PM Même si les océans sont indissociables du paysage canadien, plusieurs scientifiques estiment que le gouvernement Harper a tout simplement décidé de leur tourner le dos en supprimant des pans entiers de la recherche sur ces milieux fragilisés. « Pêches et Océans Canada n’a plus la moindre expertise en science environnementale dans le domaine de la contamination et de la protection des habitats marins contre la contamination », résume et déplore Émilien Pelletier, titulaire de la Chaire de recherche du Canada en écotoxicologie marine à l’Université du Québec à Rimouski. Ottawa a effectivement imposé des compressions majeures au ministère chargé de veiller à la santé des océans qui bordent les côtes canadiennes. En plus des dizaines de postes supprimés à travers le pays, le gouvernement a fermé cinq laboratoires de Pêches et Océans, dont celui de l’Institut Maurice-Lamontagne de Mont-Joli. Il se consacrait précisément à l’écotoxicologie.
World Wildlife Fund study used computer models to predict how oil spills would behave in Beaufort Sea. New research suggests a major oil spill in Canada's western Arctic would likely spread quickly and foul oceans around Alaska and possibly as far west as Russia. The research, funded by the World Wildlife Fund, comes as the National Energy Board prepares to consider blowout prevention plans in two separate proposals for offshore energy drilling.
Le gouvernement conservateur de Stephen Harper a dépensé 145 000$ au cours de l'hiver dernier pour sonder les Canadiens sur l'un des dossiers de l'heure au pays, soit les enjeux énergétiques. Mais l'exercice est qualifié de «pure propagande» par l'opposition officielle à Ottawa.