Letter Requesting that Human Impacts on Oceans be Included in Assessing Ecologically Significant Habitats


Sierra Club Atlantic's Dr. Fred Winsor is participating in consultations to identify areas that are important in terms of their contribution to biodiveristy, uniqueness, and productivity off Newfoundland and Labrador (what the Department of Fisheries and Oceans referes to as "Ecologically and Biologically Significant Areas" or EBSAs). Fred wrote this letter to ask that the process of identifying ESBAs include the impact of humans on the ecosystems being studied, since some areas now depleted - such as fishing grounds near the Grey Islands off the Great Northern Peninsula - were formerly hotspots for the fishery - and could be once again with efforts at ocean food web recovery. The letter also gives a great historical overview of the European and Canadian fishery over the past five hundred years.

Attn: Nadine Templeman, DFO St. John's, Newfoundland


Dear Nadine Templeman: 


We write as a follow-up to the meeting on Ecologically and Biologically SignificantAreas (EBSAs) held in St. John's, Newfoundland, October 23-25 2012. It was encouraging to view and hear the findings regarding Canada's ocean habitats off northern Newfoundland and the coast of Labrador. We view this as an ongoing process as we all strive to better understand the complex dynamics of our oceans.

           ... Read more »

Grey seal slaughter not based on science

Media Release, October 24, 2012

OTTAWA -- Sierra Club Canada is appalled the Senate is recommending a massive grey seal slaughter on Canada’s east coast despite testimony from independent scientists that a slaughter could damage ocean ecosystems.

Bowing to the east coast fishing and sealing lobby, the Senate’s fisheries committee wants tens of thousands of grey seals killed, supposedly to enable a come back for the cod fishery, virtually extinguished after decades of government mismanagement and industry greed. But even the federal Department of Fisheries admitted, in a 2011 study, that there is no scientific evidence showing slaughters are effective in bringing back depleted fish stocks.

“This is nothing more than a subsidy for a dead industry,” said John Bennett, Executive Director of Sierra Club Canada.  “No grey seals were killed this year and only 200 pelts were sold in 2011. The markets are gone because people no longer support seal slaughters.”... Read more »

Federal government laying waste to the Canadian landscape

Canadian public should be alarmed by wholesale deregulation of environmental protection in Canada


October 18, 2012

OTTAWA - The government of Canada continued its assault on environmental protection today with omnibus Bill C-45.

“Today’s killing of the Navigable Waters Act, along with further gutting of what’s left of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and Fisheries Act, will inhibit the ability of Canadians to protect their natural environment for their children, grandchildren and future generations,” said John Bennett, Executive Director of Sierra Club Canada.

"Canadians want to protect the environment and have a strong economy. We don’t need to sacrifice the planet to achieve the latter - the two aren’t mutually exclusive,” said Mr. Bennett.... Read more »


October 11, 2012

Sydney, Nova Scotia– A coalition of groups is working to raise awareness of the “phony” public consultations being hosted by the Canada – Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board, (C-NLOPB), in Sydney today. The ‘consultations’ are part of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) update of ‘Old Harry’ and Western NL’s Gulf waters, ordered by Environment Minister Peter Kent last year. 


“Unfortunately, these alleged consultations are not transparent or democratic. What makes them even worse is that they appear to have little to do with the environment,” said Mary Gorman, of the Save Our Seas and Shores Coalition. “With tens of thousands of renewable jobs at stake in our tourism and fishing industries, the Gulf’s coastal communities deserve to be taken more seriously than this.”

 ... Read more »


Halifax, NS – Sierra Club Canada – Atlantic Canada Chapter and the Save Our Seas and Shores Coalition is calling on Newfoundland & Labradors’ offshore petroleum board (C-NLOPB) to fix their process to ensure there is a valid environmental assessment of whether offshore oil and gas development should proceed in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The federal Minister of Environment, Peter Kent, instructed the C-NLOPB to perform thorough, region-wide public consultations to assess the impact of oil and gas activities off Western Newfoundland on the Gulf ecosystem.

“Invitation-only meetings are being held and co-called ‘Open House’ sessions are organized with no valid way for local citizens to express their concerns and share their values and are providing little to no information on the ecosystem and culture,” according to Gretchen Fitzgerald, Director of Sierra Club Canada – Atlantic Canada Chapter.... Read more »

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