Category Archives: Quebec

Groups band together to fight oil exploration on Gulf of St. Lawrence ~ APTN news

July 21st, 2015

July 21, 2015

by Danielle Rochette

APTN National News

Eighteen organizations spread out over four provinces are banding together and calling on the federal government to stop any kind of oil exploration work in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The group sent a letter Tuesday to Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford, Fisheries Minister Gail Shea and Minister of Environment Leona Aglukkaq. [See press release here]

“As fisheries representatives active in all parts of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, we are writing to inform you that we will oppose any petroleum development in the Gulf of St. Lawrence without prior consultation and a thorough understanding of the impacts to our seafood industry,” the letter states.

It’s not clear who penned the letter.

The Nutewistoq M’igmawei Mawiomi Secretariat is one of the organizations that is part of the coalition.

The group pointed out that the process that will allow companies to explore for oil, will also allow them to circumvent the environmental or consultation process.

“Given that exploratory drilling has been downgraded to a simple ‘screening exercise,’ which does not necessitate consultation with existing users, we demand that the Old Harry prospect be put to a full review panel as is warranted by public concern under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act” the letter states.

A Mi’kmaq group out of Quebec is already lobbying the Quebec government to put in place a 12-year moratorium on exploration work in the Gulf. [See APTN story here: Nations band together to fight future oil exploration in Gulf of Saint Lawrence]

There is also a coalition made up of environmental groups and First Nation communities fighting any kind of oil work. They’re concerned that thousands of fisheries and tourism jobs will be at stake if there is a spill in the Gulf.

“We would also like to remind the federal government that the Gulf of St. Lawrence is a common body of water and that spills occurring in one area cannot be contained by provincial delineations,” they say in the letter.

The Gulf waters touch five provinces, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Source: Groups band together to fight oil exploration on Gulf of St. Lawrence – APTN National news

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Blue whale feeding ecology in the St. Lawrence River estuary

March 22nd, 2013

Blue Whale photo: Thomas Doniol-Valcroze

Authors: Véronique Lesage, Thomas Doniol-Valcroze

Feeding is central to an animal’s life history and ecology. Large predators do not feed continuously but rather in bouts of intense activity separated by periods of searching, resting or socializing. Moreover, feeding does not occur randomly in space, as animals select precise areas with characteristics of prey density, accessibility and predictability that maximize their chances of meeting their energy requirements. Every summer, blue whales from the endangered North Atlantic population come to the St Lawrence River estuary to feed on dense aggregations of euphausiids. Documenting the timing and location of foraging success is therefore of utmost importance to assess and monitor habitat quality on this feeding ground.

In marine systems, however, feeding happens mostly under the surface and is rarely observable directly. In this study, we have used data-loggers to record, at every second, the depth and swimming speed of 10 blue whales during their dives in the St Lawrence estuary. By detecting the rapid speed changes that are characteristic of lunging behaviour and mouth opening, we have been able to pinpoint the exact moment, depth and location of each feeding attempt. With this information, we have shown that blue whales feed at all times of the diurnal cycle and intensify their feeding activity at night when prey are accessible at shallow depths. This is in contrast to previous assumptions in the literature that blue whales did not feed at night.

Using radio-telemetry, we have also been able to describe the habitats where blue whales concentrated their feeding effort, and how different habitats were used at different phases of the tidal cycle (e.g., feeding at the shelf edge when flood tidal currents were concentrating euphausiids against the steep slopes).

Moreover, we have shown that St Lawrence blue whales used optimal strategies to adapt their dive times and feeding effort to the depth of their prey. In particular, feeding rates were consistently higher when blue whales performed short feeding dives at shallow depths. These results suggest that diving predators may judge habitat quality in terms of prey accessibility at shallow depths rather than selecting habitat solely based on prey density or abundance.

Taken together, these strategies may allow blue whales to optimize a short seasonal window of feeding opportunity and maximize resource acquisition. Indeed, feeding rates diminished over the summer feeding season, and were negatively correlated with the time each animal spent in a social pair, suggesting a trade-off between feeding and socializing with the approach of the breeding season. Better understanding of the behaviour and feeding ecology of large whales can help predict their responses to environmental changes and anthropogenic pressures.

This project was conducted in collaboration with Robert Michaud and Janie Giard from the Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals in Tadoussac, Quebec.

Excerpt from Department of Fisheries and Oceans Center of Expertise in Marine Mammalogy: Scientific Research Report 2009-2011

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Over 200 supporters rally in Gesgapegiag, Quebec to protest oil and gas drilling in the Gulf – Video

October 24th, 2011

Highlights from the Oil & Gas Protest held in Gesgapegiag on Oct. 22, 2011. Over 200 supporters were on hand to send a message to the Governments and the Industry on plans for Off-Shore Oil drilling in Gespe’gewa’gi.

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Prince Edward Islanders attend Oil and Gas Forum on Magdalene Islands – April 2011

April 28th, 2011

By Irene Novaczek
Save Our Seas and Shores Coalition

A small group of Prince Edward Islanders, ventured to the Magdalene Islands to join other concerned citizens at a forum to explore the costs and benefits of drilling a deep oil well, in the area dubbed “Old Harry”, in the Laurentian Trench between the Maggies and western Nfld. Corridor Resources owns the exploration permit and they want to proceed through a screening level environmental assessment and drill as soon as possible (2012 – 2014). After hearing of the risks and meager to non-existent benefits for rural coastal communities who will be affected by the pollution that accompanies such activities, the forum participants called for the full panel review of the project, as well as a strategic environmental assessment to consider the wider implications. However, even before going this route it is clear to many of us that the existing framework for decision-making is gravely flawed. Therefore, we first need a moratorium on all further exploration in the gulf, to give time for research, reflection and extensive public consultation leading to the reform of the petroleum board and environmental assessment systems.

[Check out the link to the forum to view various presentations given by scientists, oil industry etc.]

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