Online edition of Shunpiking
Thursday, Jan 01, 2004
Seismic Vibes

Premier ignores fishermen's pleas for emergency meeting to stop seismic in the Southern Gulf

Gretchen Fitzgerald, marine co-ordinator, Ecology Action Centre

(HALIFAX, December 5, 2003) -- Nova Scotia Premier John Hamm has ignored calls from fishermen for an emergency meeting to discuss science showing that the seismic blasting in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence will damage the fishery. Premier Hamm is on the record stating he will stop the testing if such evidence exists.

Fred Kennedy of the Area 19 Snow Crab Fishermen's Association requested to meet with the Premier to present him with evidence that the testing will damage snow crab, herring, white hake, and cod stocks. Corridor Resources was granted a permit to go head with the controversial testing by the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board on November 27th.

"I believe the Premier needs to keep his word and heed the science," says Fred Kennedy of Area 19 Snow Crab Fishermen's Association, "Norm Miller of Corridor may need to answer to his investors about returns -- well my members are concerned about their returns, which depend on the health of the ecosystem in the Southern Gulf. This seismic blasting puts their future at risk."

There is abundant evidence that seismic blasting damages marine life. Studies have shown that fish larvae and plankton are killed within 2-7 meters of the air guns used by seismic vessels to emit ear-splitting 200 decibel blasts. Fish have been shown to move tens of kilometers away from the deafening noise emitted at regular, 11 second intervals, 24 hours a day while seismic is being carried out. Department of Fisheries and Oceans science and the findings of Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board Science Working Group show that the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence is a fragile ecosystem that will not withstand the impacts of oil and gas, including seismic activity.

"What we do know about seismic is bad," says Gretchen Fitzgerald of the Ecology Action Centre, "What we fear is worse. All of the scientific evidence points to the risky nature of seismic in the Gulf."

Fishermen's and environmentalists are merging today in Rockford Square, Charlottetown in a desperate attempt to get Premier Hamm, who is in PEI for a meeting of Canadian premiers, to listen to their concerns.

For more information, contact: Gretchen Fitzgerald at the Ecology Action Centre (902) 429-2202 or Fred Kennedy, (902) 224-7278 or (506) 387-4972