Canada's multimillion dollar proposal to cull grey seals will not bring back the ravaged stocks of Atlantic cod it is intended to help, scientists have said.
In October, the Canadian Senate approved a controversial plan to kill 70,000 grey seals in the Gulf of St Lawrence under a bounty system next year, ostensibly to revive the cod stocks that the seals were eating.
But a group of marine scientists at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, have said in a recent open letter: "There is no credible scientific evidence to suggest a cull of grey seals in Atlantic Canada would help depleted fish stocks recover.
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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.
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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 »
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.”
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