ST. JOHN’S, NL – The Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) announced yesterday that they are accepting calls for nominations for new areas of oil and gas exploration. As a part of this process, the C‑NLOPB is now accepting comments from all stakeholders, including the fishing industry, which is significantly impacted by oil and gas operations in our province.
FFAW-Unifor had several meetings with the Province and the C-NLOPB to consider the fishing industry in the land tenure process. Previously, input into this call for nominations would be closed to all but oil and gas companies. FFAW-Unifor will be submitting comments that will bring to attention the socio-economic impacts of oil and gas exploration, development and production on the fishing industry.
“Our members are concerned about how new exploration regions will further affect the traditional fishing grounds of harvesters, whether it be through seismic activity, future areas closed to fishing, or threat of an oil spill,” said Keith Sullivan, President of FFAW-Unifor. “Each of these concerns has a negative impact on harvesters and the potential environmental impacts are gravely concerning to our members whose livelihoods depend on the health of fish resources, especially the recovering northern cod stock.”
FFAW-Unifor will also advise the C-NLOPB to take into consideration Marine Conservation Targets when considering new oil and gas exploration areas of interest. A significant portion of the area available for nominations within the Eastern Region is within the newly announced Northeast Slope Marine Refuge, meaning harvesters are not permitted to fish in the area but oil and gas activities may persist.
“Marine conservation has to be meaningful and consistent,” Sullivan added. “Closures intended to focus on marine conservation must restrict all marine industrial activities.”
The call for nominations is open to areas that do not currently have an Exploration License, Production License, Significant Discovery License or a defined Sector. From the nominations received, the C-NLOPB may decide to create a new Sector. The call for nominations will end on April 25, 2018.