Today, the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) announced a new oil and gas exploration sector that lies within a marine refuge area closed to all fishing activity. This comes just months after the federal Liberal government announced several new marine refuges that restrict all fishing activity while oil and gas operations persist unencumbered.
The newly announced sector is in addition to a separate call for bids that was opened in April for new exploration licenses.
“Oil, gas and seismic activity is continuing completely unrestricted in these supposed protected areas. This is understandably frustrating for harvesters who have given up considerable fishing grounds in the name of conservation,” said FFAW-Unifor President Keith Sullivan.
Sullivan adds, “We cannot ask fish harvesters to accept the closure of an area to all fishing activity in the name of conservation while continuing to allow oil and gas exploration in that same area.”
In addition to the marine refuge closures, new areas that are promoted as open to oil and gas exploration and development include valuable fishing grounds that will significantly affect fish harvesters' enterprises. The provincial government also has plans to double oil and gas extraction in the next 12 years, which will undoubtedly impact conservation areas and harvesting activities. It is essential that harvesters be properly consulted prior to the bid process commencing.
“Both levels of government have shown a clear disregard for the interests of fish harvesters and coastal communities by prioritizing oil and gas over the fishing industry and conservation efforts. It’s time for the government to stop shutting harvesters out while letting oil and gas in,” concluded Sullivan.
For media inquiries, please contact:
Courtney Glode, FFAW Communications