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.
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.”
Austerity and obscurantism. These were the defining features of the first full calendar year of Stephen Harper’s majority government, which came to a quiet close this week.
Take, for instance, Bill C-38, Canada’s longest-ever federal budget. Setting out $5-billion in spending cuts, the budget was the most austere in over a decade. And yet, despite the depth of the slashes and thus their potential to remake the country, their nature and likely impacts remain intentionally obscure. As part of an omnibus budget, most of the cuts were not evaluated by the relevant parliamentary committees; details about their implementation were withheld from watchdogs and opposition MPs; and many cuts were to programs without which it will be very difficult to measure the price we’ve paid for austerity.
Buried within the more than 400 pages of this spring’s federal omnibus budget bill is an invitation for resource companies to open a new frontier in Canadian oil: the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
The gulf, which touches the coastlines of Canada’s five easternmost provinces, is the world’s largest estuary. It’s home to more than 2,000 species of marine wildlife — an ecosystem integral to the health of our Atlantic and Great Lakes fisheries.
About five years ago, residents of Yarmouth and surrounding areas joined together and formed the Tricounty Watershed Protection Association to stop the pollution being caused by mink farms at the headwaters of the Meteghan, Sissaboo and Tusket rivers. The Department of Environment conducted water tests in 10 lakes and 75 kilometres of the Tusket River for three consecutive years. The final water test results concluded that the mink farms were the probable cause. The government cancelled further water tests and no action was taken, despite the protests from citizens and environmental groups.
Charlottetown, P.E.I– Sierra Club Canada Atlantic Chapter has received support from the TELUS Community Board that will enable them to continue their youth mentorship program, Sierra Buddies, in PEI this fall.
The Sierra Buddies program guides youth to help make their schools and communities greener, while at the same time preparing them to be future leaders. Students at the Grade 10 level who have been trained and educated about environmental issues and concepts are paired up with Grade 6 students to share and spread their knowledge.