• Environment and Climate Change Canada Reluctant to Enforce Regulations against Aquaculture Operators

    Logo_glow.pngConservation Council.jpg
    For Immediate Release - Sept. 26, 2017

    Environment and Climate Change Canada Reluctant to Enforce Regulations against Aquaculture Operators

    K’JIPUKTUK/HALIFAX - A retired Environment Canada employee and conservation and environmental law groups are calling for action from the federal government after Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) confirmed certain aquaculture activities result in a disposal at sea, likely violating the federal Disposal at Sea Regulations. Despite this confirmation the activities appear to be continuing without any enforcement action by ECCC.

    Aquaculture companies use a variety of drugs, disinfectants and pesticides in response to sea lice and disease on salmon, issues that come along with farming fish in the open ocean. Chemical residues and pesticides are released into the ocean after use despite limitations under the Disposal at Sea Regulations and the serious risk of harm these chemicals pose to the marine environment and wildlife.

    In February 2016, retired Environment Canada employee Bill Ernst launched a formal complaint about the practice to ECCC. In his complaint, Ernst identified specific companies but noted that an industry-wide investigation was needed.

    After more than a year of reviewing the complaint and undertaking investigations of activities taking place in New Brunswick, officials from ECCC confirmed to Mr. Ernst on April 25, 2017 that they had a reasonable belief that the companies he identified were violating the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 and that the department would take ‘appropriate’ enforcement action.

    Yet, despite repeated requests from Ernst on how ECCC will enforce the Disposal at Sea Regulations, no clear enforcement action has happened. The aquaculture industry’s widespread practice of discharging chemicals into the marine environment continues.

    Ernst, East Coast Environmental Law, West Coast Environmental Law Association, Conservation Council of New Brunswick, Ecology Action Centre, Living Oceans Society, and Friends of the Earth Canada are calling for an industry-wide investigation into the chemical dumping practice.

    “I continue to be concerned that by the Government’s inaction. Minister McKenna is abdicating her responsibility to protect the marine environment and, in doing so, is giving the impression that the Government of Canada is willing to promote the aquaculture industry at the expense of other industries and environmental sustainability,” says Ernst.

    Adds Lisa Mitchell, Executive Director with East Coast Environmental Law: “Aquaculture may be a valuable economic driver in the Atlantic Canadian economy, as are many other coastal industries, but to ensure these industries remain viable, the laws that protect the environment upon which they depend must be applied fairly and effectively. Private citizens should not bear the burden of enforcing those laws.”

    “We commend Mr. Ernst for his efforts to ensure that the laws to protect our environment and coastal fisheries are being enforced,” says Matthew Abbott, Fundy Baykeeper with the Conservation Council of New Brunswick. “It is disappointing that ECCC has not taken the opportunity provided by Mr. Ernst’s complaint to comprehensively investigate pesticide and other chemical use on aquaculture sites in Canadian waters. An industry-wide investigation is needed.”

    The ECCC report regarding Mr. Ernst’s complaint can be viewed here.
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    For more information contact:

    Bill Ernst

    Environment Canada retiree

    Wrernst1@gmail.com, 902-865-5771


    Matthew Abbott, Fundy Baykeeper

    Conservation Council of New Brunswick

    matt.abbott@conservationcouncil.ca 506-458-8747


    Lisa Mitchell, Executive Director

    East Coast Environmental Law Association

    lisa@ecelaw.ca 902-670-1113

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  • Lack of Marine Protection in Bay of Fundy Troubling

    Fredericton -- One year after the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) called on the federal government to create 12 new marine protected areas by December 2012, the good news is that it is making progress in designating many of them as legal entities. However, CPAWS is concerned that the conservation measures the government is proposing once these areas are designated for protection may be too weak to be effective.

    Today, CPAWS is releasing a 20-page report, “Is Canada on track to create 12 new marine protected areas by December 2012?”assessing progress over the past 12 months and noting areas of concern.

    “We’re giving the federal government low marks on its progress in negotiations with other levels of government, industry and local communities to designate sites in the Bay of Fundy that we’ve highlighted as potential new marine protected areas, “ says  Roberta Clowater, Executive Director of CPAWS New Brunswick Chapter.

    Progress on 9 of 12 sites in past year

    Out of the 12 marine areas CPAWS has highlighted for action by December 2012, CPAWS has observed significant movement by the federal and other levels of government towards designating three as protected areas, some progress in creating another six, and limited or no progress on the remaining three.

    Progress towards designating marine protected areas has been most significant for three sites off the coast of British Columbia – in the Southern Strait of Georgia, in Hecate Strait and surrounding the Scott Islands.  In each of these locations, the federal government has made significant advances in consultations and negotiations to establish formal marine protected areas within the past year, and is moving on to the next stages required to finalize them.

    In six more locations, off Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Nunavut and Quebec, some progress towards designating new marine protected areas has been made, although more significant steps are required to move them towards completion rapidly.

    No progress on protecting 3 important marine ecosystems, including Bay of Fundy

    The areas where no notable progress at all has been made towards protection are in the Bay of Fundy, the South Coast Fjords off Newfoundland, and the “Big Eddy” off the west coast of Vancouver Island.

     “We are very concerned with the lack of protection in the Bay of Fundy, which stands in stark contrast to the incredible ecological richness of the Bay, and its international importance for humpback, fin and endangered North Atlantic right whales, migratory shorebirds and seabirds.  We would like to see Parks Canada come forward with a proposed National Marine Conservation Area that includes strong conservation measures to conserve these values into the future,” says Ms. Clowater.

     CPAWS has assessed progress towards protecting these sites on two sets of criteria: one for steps taken in the process to formally establish them as protected areas, the other for creating meaningful conservation measures to protect the long-term health of these marine ecosystems. The latter measures, based on leading science, include establishment of “no take zones” for fishing and rules against other forms of industrial development such as oil and gas drilling.

    In all of the 12 areas CPAWS has identified, rare and important forms of sea life deserve protection, ranging from leatherback turtles, to dolphins, right whales and other types of whales, birds including puffins and Cassins auklets, and fish including cod and Atlantic wolffish.

    Canada still has huge catch-up job

    “We will be watching progress carefully over the next six months to see how much closer Canada gets to meaningful protection for these 12 marine areas by the end of 2012,” says Sabine Jessen, CPAWS national oceans program manager.

    “This will be an important sign of how well we’ve laid the groundwork for more marine conservation in the years ahead. Canada still has a huge catch-up job to reach our international commitment of establishing networks of marine protected areas in all of our oceans,” adds Jessen.

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    For media interviews, contact:

    Roberta Clowater, 506-452-9902; rclowater@cpaws.org

    To view CPAWS’ full progress report, executive summary and more about each of the 12 marine areas, visit www.cpaws.org/daretobedeep

    CPAWS is Canada’s voice for wilderness. Since 1963, we’ve played a lead role in protecting over 500,000 km2of public land and water. With 13 chapters across Canada, over 50 staff and 50,000 supporters, we work with governments, industry, Indigenous people and local communities to conserve our country’s irreplaceable nature. Our vision is that Canada will protect at least half of our public land and water. 

  • Media Advisory: Fundy Baykeeper honoured tonight by Atlantic Salmon Federation


    Media Advisory: Fundy Baykeeper honoured tonight by Atlantic Salmon Federation


    Wednesday, May 17, 2017 — Fredericton

    Attention news editors: The Fundy Baykeeper, a program of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, receives the Atlantic Salmon Federation’s top national honour, the T.B. “Happy” Fraser Award, during a gala ceremony at the Algonquin Hotel in St. Andrews tonight. Matt Abbott, the Fundy Baykeeper since 2011, accepts the award.

    The Fundy Baykeeper, the flagship program of the Conservation Council’s Marine Conservation Program, was selected for its longstanding commitment to the ecosystems of the Bay of Fundy, where wild Atlantic Salmon are on life support, and its decades-long work to protect New Brunswick’s coastal environments from pollution.

    “Our coastlines in New Brunswick are true treasures,” says Abbott. “From the sprawling tides of the Bay of Fundy, to the warm ocean waters at Parlee Beach, our work to protect these spaces is all about consistency, dedication, and the commitment of our team to achieve results over time.”

    Matt Abbott is available for media interviews upon request.

    To arrange an interview, contact:

    Jon MacNeill
    Communications Director
    506-458-8747 (w) | 506-238-3539 (m)
    jon.macneill@conservationcouncil.ca
  • New energy projects on the horizon

    From what I'm hearing most folks don't know what's been happening regarding a second nuclear reactor for New Brunswick and a large proposed underwater power line under the Bay of Fundy from Saint John to Boston.  Although there's lots of talk about good clean green energy it seems likely the plan is to carry electricity from tidal turbines strung across the head of the Bay of Fundy and possibly a second nuclear reactor in New Brunswick.  There seems to be a lot going on here under the bed covers unknown to most of the public and most in the environmental community.  People need to know what's happening and now.  Could you post the attached items up where they will attract people's attention and people will view them.

    Reference: Second Nuclear Reactor Could Happen, Telegraph Journal, January 27, 2017

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