Fish Harvesters Raise Alarm on Impacts of Offshore Development at Height of Seismic Season
ST. JOHN’S, NL – With seismic activities ongoing off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador and oil and gas industry executives meeting in St. John’s this week, fish harvesters are once again calling on the federal and provincial government and oil and gas companies to step up their efforts to address concerns and mitigate the impacts of offshore development on the fishing industry.
“At the height of the seismic season, our Union is working around the clock to avoid gear entanglements with seismic vessels and mitigate any direct impacts on fisheries,” says FFAW-Unifor President Keith Sullivan. “Unfortunately, it often feels like a one-way street, with fish harvesters making all the sacrifices while oil and gas companies have free reign of the ocean.”
For years, FFAW-Unifor and our fish harvesting members have spoken out against the risks related to oil, gas and seismic activities over traditional fishing grounds, which have a significant impact on the commercial fishery. Any plans for oil and gas expansion off our coast must incorporate the concerns of fish harvesters, who share the ocean with the oil and gas industry and bear the significant risks that come with these industrial activities.
“Fish harvesters have serious concerns regarding the impact of seismic activities on the ecosystem. Government and the oil and gas industry must make a more concerted effort to work with the fishing industry and commit to research and science to measure these impacts,” continued Sullivan.
Mitigating the impact of oil and gas exploration on other ocean users must be taken seriously by the companies operating in Newfoundland and Labrador waters. Last year’s oil spill at the White Rose field validated the fears of fish harvesters. An oil spill off our coast, whatever the magnitude and source, threatens the livelihood of those who depend on the fisheries. Even a small spill can have far reaching consequences on global seafood markets, and the potential for devastating socio-economic impacts on the fishing industry cannot be ignored by industry and government.
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