This letter was addressed to the following federal cabinet ministers:
- Greg Rickford, Minister of Natural Resources
- Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
- Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment
As fisheries representatives active in all parts of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, we are writing to inform you that we will oppose any petroleum development in the Gulf of St. Lawrence without prior consultation and a thorough understanding of the impacts to our seafood industry.
Given that exploratory drilling has been downgraded to a simple “screening exercise,” which does not necessitate consultation with existing users, we demand that the Old Harry prospect be put to a full review panel as is warranted by public concern under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA).
As industry representatives we would also like to remind the federal government that the Gulf of St. Lawrence is a common body of water and that spills occurring in one area cannot be contained by provincial delineations.
While the seabed and the water column may be jurisdictionally different, we would expect that the Environmental Assessment Act, the Oceans Act, the Fisheries Act, and the Species at Risk Act should prevail.
In all these acts, it is acknowledged that water moves, that stocks are shared and that there exists ministerial authority.
Since you are the respective federal ministers for the National Energy Board, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the Fisheries Act, we would expect that you uphold your responsibilities and evaluate the impacts of each phase of the oil and gas development on commercial fisheries in the entirety of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
In the absence of objective scientific evidence stating that oil and gas activities in the Gulf of St. Lawrence pose no real risks to our eco-system and to our renewable resources, all hydrocarbon exploration activities, including seismic testing, should be suspended.
All our respective organizations:
Nova Scotia Fish Packers Association
Nova Scotia Herring Federation
Gulf Nova Scotia Coalition
Maritime Fishermen’s Union
Eastern Fishermen’s Federation
PEI Fishermen’s Association
PEI Seafood Processors Association
PEI Aquaculture Alliance
Jean Lanteigne (FRAPP)
Fédération Régional Acadienne des Pêcheurs
Maritime Lobster Processor’s Association
Magdalen Island Inshore Fishermen’s Association
Alliance des Pêcheurs Professionnels du Québec
Association des Capitaines Propriétaire de la
Crabiers de la Gaspésie
Regroupement des Pêcheurs Professionnels du
Nord de la Gaspésie
Association des Pêcheurs de la Basse Côte Nord
Fédération des Pêcheurs Semi-Outuriers
Nutewistoq M’igmawei Mawiomi Secretariat
RPPUM – Iles de la Madeleine