Offshore Alliance Welcomes Nova Scotia’s Commitment to Protect Georges Bank from Oil Drilling

For immediate release: April 22, 2021

Kjipuktuk (Halifax, NS) - The Offshore Alliance applauds NS Minister of Energy and Mines Chuck Porter’s commitment to extending the moratorium on oil drilling on the vital and rich fishing grounds of Georges Bank off Southwest Nova Scotia. Minister Porter stated his commitment to extending the moratorium on April 12th.

The Offshore Alliance has been calling for a full moratorium on offshore drilling in all of Nova Scotia’s waters, and a full public inquiry into the social, economic, climate, and environmental impacts of offshore drilling and exploration. The continued moratorium on Georges Bank is a welcome step towards that broader end to drilling and exploration.

"We were thrilled and relieved to hear that Nova Scotia’s government is committed to renewing the moratorium on Georges Bank, securing the multi-billion fishing industry and tens of thousands of long-term jobs in the fishing industry, " according to John Davis, Director of the Clean Ocean Action Committee. "We now call on all political parties to commit to this essential step to keep this critical fishing ground safe, and for the federal and provincial  governments to work together to ratify the required legislation extending the moratorium at the earliest possible date.”

The Department of Energy and Mines has informed the Offshore Alliance that the consultation process that must precede a decision on the Georges Bank moratorium is underway, though they have not specified a timeline for that process.

“This announcement is a precedent for protecting coastal communities and recognizing the value they bring is far beyond that of oil and gas. The best way to protect Georges and our oceans is to stop offshore exploration and drilling entirely. I see the review on Georges as a step towards a full moratorium on offshore oil and gas in Nova Scotia,” says Council of Canadians’ campaigner Robin Tress. “We know that a major threat to the fisheries is the changing climate, and we need work quickly to wind down the fossil fuel industry and transition to renewable energies.” 

“Drilling and seismic blasting on the Scotian Shelf could damage ecologically productive ecosystems like Georges Bank which supports habitat for endangered whales and other threatened marine species, “ according to Gretchen Fitzgerald, National Programs Director with Sierra Club Canada Foundation. “The moratorium on drilling Georges Bank needs to be locked in - and we also need to investigate how we regulate oil and gas in our oceans so that special places and endangered species are never put at risk and we secure a safe climate.”

The Alliance is calling for legislation extending the Georges Bank moratorium indefinitely to be brought to the federal and provincial legislatures to be ratified as soon as possible.


For more information, contact: 

John Davis, Director, Clean Ocean Action Committee, 1-902-499-4421 / 

Robin Tress, Climate and Social Justice Campaigner, Council of Canadians, 902-223-8526 / 

Gretchen Fitzgerald, National Programs Director, Sierra Club Canada Foundation, 902-444-7096 /