The Blue Whale Campaign
Would you like to name a blue whale? Join the Blue Whale Campaign's most recent venture, the Name a Whale Challenge! If you're interested in making a general donation to the Blue Whale Campaign, click here and be sure to specify in the comment section you want your money going to our work. Thank you!
The Gulf of St Lawrence is the jewel of Atlantic Canada. It borders all five Eastern Canadian provinces, supports vast fisheries and holds an awesome diversity of life.
This jewel has been mistreated in the past. Historic overfishing has made this region home to numerous endangered species and because of this, the Gulf is a vulnerable, even fragile paradise. For the sake of the provinces, people and aquatic life that depend on it, the Gulf must be protected from dangers both old and new.
Inhabiting these waters is the blue whale, a critically endangered species. There were once thousands in the northwest Atlantic Ocean, but now it's believed there are fewer than 250...and recovery becomes less likely with each passing year.
As an endangered species, the blue whale is entitled to have its critical habitat protected by the federal government, but first the locations of this habitat must be identified. An action plan detailing the blue whale's habitat is supposed to be published by the end of 2014. However, representatives with the Canadian government have cast doubt on this deadline. It's far from a sure thing.
The blue whale population was first devastated by hunting, but now oil and gas operations threaten to hammer the final nail into its coffin. Oil and gas exploration in the Gulf is already underway, with seismic testing complete at sites like the Old Harry prospect off Newfoundland's southern shore. Exploratory drilling will soon follow. Also in the neighbourhood - the Energy East oil pipeline plans to carry Alberta's crude oil to New Brunswick, where it will be exported via the Bay of Fundy and the Gulf.
A catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf could spell the end of the blue whale, either by destroying its food stocks or poisoning individuals when they visit the surface for food or air. Even without such a disaster, oil and gas exploration would drastically increase seismic testing, a hazard capable of deafening whales; they can cause bleeding of the sensory organs and even death at close range.
The final dangers come with increased heavy ship traffic. Collisions between whales and large transport ships - oil tankers for example - remain the highest cause of whale mortality in Canadian waters. Many collisions go unreported as heavy vessels can rip through a whale without taking notice.
The Sierra Club of Canada and its affiliate Save Our Seas and Shore are concerned the recovery of the blue whale and other endangered species will be overlooked as oil and gas development moves forward in the Gulf of St Lawrence. For this reason we are launching our public awareness campaign to bring Gulf species into the discussion.
Zack Metcalfe will lead the public awareness campaign. As an author, journalist and passionate environmentalist, he's well suited to write on behalf of endangered species. Whales and the open ocean hold a special fascination for Metcalfe; it was his initiative that lead to the blue whale playing a central role in our campaign.
"The blue whale is the largest animal ever to have existed," said Metcalfe. "You can judge the health of an ecosystem by the health of its largest animals, so if the blue whale vanishes, that doesn't bode well for the oceans. There are countless environmental, economic and ethical reasons for prohibiting oil and gas operations in the Gulf, but for me, no reason is more personal than this gentle giant."
A graduate of Dalhousie University's Master of Resource and Environmental Management program, Colin Jeffrey has had an interest in environmental issues from a young age. For the past two years Colin has worked to protect the Gulf as a volunteer with Save Our Seas and Shores - PEI Chapter.
"The more you know about our incredible Gulf of St Lawrence, the harder you will work to protect it," said Mr Jeffrey.
Eastern Canadian provinces are moving quickly to exploit fossil fuel deposits in the Gulf of St Lawrence. The Atlantic provinces’ offshore petroleum boards have the conflicting mandate of promoting fossil fuel development and assessing its environmental impacts. Few groups are treating the Gulf as a single ecosystem and fewer still are thinking beyond the short term economic benefits.
Endangered species like the blue whale need a voice in these decisions. Donate to our campaign and we will be that voice.
The Blue Whale Campaign’s most recent venture is the Name a Whale Challenge, where members of the public are invited to suggest a name for an Atlantic Canadian blue whale. Proceeds will be divided between the Blue Whale Campaign and the Mingan Island Cetacean Study, a pioneering blue whale research organization in the Gulf of St Lawrence. To learn more about the Northwest Atlantic Blue Whale, visit our blue whale page here.
June 10, 2014
Gulf 101 - Oil in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Facts, Myths, and Future Outlook is the first comprehensive look at the ecology, oceanography, economy, and implications of oil and gas for the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Four years in the making, the report details the uniqueness of the Gulf ecosystem, gaps in our current knowledge about the Gulf, flaws in the regulations and legal agreements regarding oil deposits in the Gulf, our inability to respond to and clean up an oil spill in the Gulf, and lack of social license for oil and gas in the Gulf.
The report was accompanied by a region-wide call for a moratorium on oil and gas in the Gulf, which received massive media attention.
Please go here to TAKE ACTION and protect the Gulf!
November 11, 2013
The Gulf of St. Lawrence is a vital Canadian ecosystem. Unfortunately the fate of the Gulf, which is bounded by five of Canada’s ten provinces, now lies with the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board, which could approve drilling as soon as next year.
Oil and gas threatens marine life in the Gulf – endangered species like the blue whale and leatherback turtles – as well as thousands of other species! The vibrant Gulf ecosystem also supports tens of thousands of jobs in the fishing and tourism industries.
The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board is still considering approving drilling in spite of strong opposition from indigenous communities and citizens whose livelihoods and quality of life rely on a healthy, oil-free gulf.To make the case for how special the Gulf is, we are collecting stories and videos of people who have experience the Gulf and want to see it protected!
Please go here to check out our project website and submit your video or story:
Don’t know what to say ? Here are some questions that might get your creative juices flowing: Why do I love the Gulf of St. Lawrence? What is my favourite place in the Gulf? What is my favourite memory? What is my biggest fear if oil and gas is allowed to go ahead?
Contact Gretchen at 902-444-3113 or email@example.com if you want more info or need help submitting your story or video!
We are so grateful for the support of the Patagonia Environmental Grants Program for helping us create the Gulf Garland!
We want your concerns about the Gulf of St. Lawrecce to be heard in the PEI legislature!
This January, the Save Our Seas and Shores Coalition on Prince Edward Island launched a petition to support a moratorium on oil and gas exploration and development in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
We want as many signatures as possible!
Only "hard copy" signatures (i.e. not online petitions) are accepted, so please take some time to download the petition, gather signatures from your friends and neighbours. Maybe leave a copy at your local library or convenience store ....
Once you have gathered your signatures, please mail your petiton before April 2nd to:
Save Our Seas and Shores-PEI Chapter, VRC, 81 Prince St., Charlottetown, PE C1A 4R3.
Once we have gathered all the signatures, the petition and your concerns will be formally entered into the PEI legislature!
Want to give folks more information or spread the word further while gathering signatures? Please download the brochure below and print it!
Jason Priestley Speaks Out for the Gulf!
In June, the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board cried “uncle” and asked for the federal Environment Minister to conduct an environmental assessment of the impacts of exploratory drilling at a site called Old Harry located tens of kilometres from the coast of Newfoundland, Cape Breton, PEI and the Magdelen Islands.
Without this intervention, exploratory drilling could have proceeded as soon as next year.
In its letter to federal Environment Minister Peter Kent, the C-NLOPB stated that they had never received as many letters of concern about an offshore oil project before: for all those who wrote in - it worked! Now we just have to keep it up!
We need your help to convince federal Environment Minister Peter Kent to establish a valid environmental assessment to truly determine the risks of offshore oil development to the Gulf. A spill one tenth of the size of the BP oil spill would affect the coastlines of all five provinces around the Gulf.
What do we want you to do?
Speak Up for the Gulf!
Call Environment Minister Kent and ask for a full joint review panel environmental assessment for oil and gas development in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Tell him and his staff that you don’t think we can risk this precious ecosystem and that we need everyone around the Gulf engaged in protecting it.
Honourable Peter Kent's telephone number: 1-819-997-1441
You can also write a letter or email.
Here is a sample letter:
The Honourable Peter Kent
Minister of the Environment
Les Terrasses de la Chaudière
10 Wellington Street, 28th Floor
Submit Your Comments to the C-NLOPB Today!
The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board is accepting comments on their strategic environmental assessment for oil and gas off Western Newfoundland. Although we question the legitimacy of the consultation process, our silence could mean rigs are allowed in to our Gulf as soon as next year!
Please write your comments to the Board by emailing here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make sure to CC: Stephen Harper - Prime Minister of Canada: email@example.com, Thomas Mulcair - Leader of the New Democratic Party: firstname.lastname@example.org, Bob Rae - Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada: email@example.com, Vivian Barbot - Leader of the Bloc Québécois: firstname.lastname@example.org, Elizabeth May - Leader of the Green Party of Canada: email@example.com, Hon. Kathy Dunderdale- Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador: firstname.lastname@example.org, Hon. Pauline Marois - Premier of Québec: email@example.com, Hon. Darryl Dexter - Premier of Nova Scotia: firstname.lastname@example.org, Hon. Robert Ghiz - Premier of Prince Edward Island: email@example.com, Hon. David Alward - Premier of New Brunswick: firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Ask for the Board to tell you how your comments are being used to protect the Gulf and let them know consultation process was inadequate (Federal Envirnment Minister Kent stated that "thorough consulation" was required as part of the assessment);
2. 2. Endangered blue whales are found in the Gulf - and their migratory pathway is right next to where they want to drill. Lots of other endangered and theatenned species are found there too like leatherback turtles and imperiled cod stocks: how will these species be protected?
3. How will coastal communities and national treasures, like Gros Morne National Park, be protected from a massive spill like BP’s?
4. Tell them you want a moratorium as this is the only way to protect this precious ecosystem, shared by five of Canada's provinces.
For more detals on the Western Newfoundland Strategic Envirnmental Assessment, please go here:
The Gulf contains a variety of habitats, ranging from deep-sea corals to sandy clam beds, and is home to over 2000 marine species - including the endangered blue whale and imperiled cod stocks.
Five Canadian provinces bound the Gulf: Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Ocean currents in Gulf mean that what happens in one part of the Gulf could impact the entire region.
Right now, however, offshore oil and gas regulators act like their “piece” of the Gulf has no connection with the others: as a result, the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board, acting alone, allowed seismic testing to go ahead at an oil lease in the middle of the Gulf - known as "Old Harry" - in October 2010.
Organizations, scientists, and concerned individuals have joined together to stop oil and gas in the Gulf. Our worst fear is that a spill on a scale of that which occurred in the Gulf of Mexico would damage the entire Gulf of St. Lawrence. We need your help now to stop oil and gas in the Gulf!
Write to the Prime Minister, Federal Party Leaders, and Gulf Premiers:
Contact info for the leaders:
Prime Minsiter Stephen Harper, email@example.com
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bloc Quebecois Leader Daneile Paillé (online form): http://www.blocquebecois.org/joindre.aspx
LIberal Leader Bob Rae, email@example.com
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May Elizabeth.May@parl.gc.ca
NS Premier Darrell Dexter firstname.lastname@example.org
NL Premier Kathy Dunderdale, email@example.com
NB Premier David Alward, firstname.lastname@example.org
PEI Premier Robert Ghiz email@example.com
Premier Jean Charest (Online form) http://www.premier-ministre.gouv.qc.ca/premier-ministre/joindre-pm/index.asp
You can use our draft letter to get you atarted, but please remember, personalized letters expressing your concerns are far more effective!... Read more »