CBC News Posted: Jun 10, 2015 10:25 AM NT
Reports of oil spilling into Newfoundland’s Port au Port Bay from old drilling sites is a growing concern for fishermen in the area.
Fishermen and residents in the Port au Port region are reporting a significant amount of oil seepage in the ocean waters surrounding the area. (Submitted to CBC by Aiden Mahoney)
Bill O’Gorman, a scallop diver and chair of the local fishery committee, says it’s been trying to get Ottawa and the province to clean up the area around Shoal Point for years after a noticeable decline in marine life in the region such as scallops, lobsters and barnacles.
“There’s nothing alive over there,” O’Gorman said. “There’s nothing sticking to the boats anymore, or the wharves. You don’t find that any more because there’s a constant spill and a slick — an oil slick that’s there every day, and every night, all the time.”
Photo: Aiden Mahoney
O’Gorman says oil leakage is nothing new for the area, as drilling operations have been taking place there since the late 1800s.
“There’s been oil leakage there for the last 50-60 years,” he told CBC News.
“Fisherman have been using that oil to stain their sheds and to oil their rollers and to paint their fence posts.”
He blames the spill for the collapse of the region’s scallop fishery, and has been trying to get some level of government to do something about it.
“We would like to see some department, provincial or federal, remedy this situation,” he said.
“This is going to cause a complete collapse of the fishery in Port au Port Bay.”
O’Gorman said he has video that proves the oil slick has intensified as of late, and said at this point you can clearly dip your hand in the water and pick up crude oil as a result.
He said, if it comes to it, the committee will start looking at ways to get attention such as protests and marches.
As well, he worries about how future drilling activity will compound the problem if something isn’t done to clean up the damage that is already done.
“It’s about time that something was done about it,” he said.
“If they can’t control traditional drilling that happened 50 and 75 years ago, what are they going to do with this new technology, fracking?”