For Immediate Release
Approval of Northern Gateway Not Worth the Risk to Salmon Alone
Sidney, British Columbia - The consequences to BC’s wild salmon alone from Northern Gateway’s proposed oil tankers and Kitimat oil terminal are not worth taking, asserted the Raincoast Conservation Foundation in response to the Canadian federal government’s announcement today rubber stamping the Joint Review Panel’s recommendation.
“Salmon are the very soul of British Columbia and the lifeblood of our coastal ecosystem. The value of salmon in the ecological and human communities that they support is immense. The decision to approve Northern Gateway will ultimately come with irreparable costs in the long term. As such, this pipeline should not be built,” said Chris Genovali, executive director of Raincoast.
“Much of what we know about the consequences of marine oil spills on salmon comes from the Exxon Valdez oil spill and the two decades of research that followed it. There are many pathways and exposure routes for oil to reach young salmon – the most vulnerable life stage,” said Raincoast fisheries ecologist Misty MacDuffee. “Importantly, these risks are not just from a large oil spill, they are from the industrial activities that accompany oil tankers and degrade essential salmon habitat.”
More than 5,000 spawning populations of wild salmon, the foundation species for BC’s coastal ecosystem, come from the watersheds that surround the tanker routes between Kitimat estuary and Haida Gwaii. These salmon are grouped into 250 irreplaceable biological units. They represent 58% of the Pacific salmon on Canada’s West coast and are the backbone of our remarkable coastal ecosystems, the iconic wildlife that rely on these fish, and the basis of multi- million dollar economies in eco tourism, salmon-based tourism and the salmon resource sector.
The Raincoast report, Embroiled: Salmon, Tankers and the Enbridge Northern Gateway Proposal, examined the connection between the Northern Gateway activities and how those activities will adversely affect salmon. The report found that Enbridge failed to assess the potential impacts to these fish, and did not undertake a risk assessment suitable to determine ecological, social or economic consequences. Further, Enbridge and the Canadian federal government dismiss consequences to wild salmon based on superficial reviews and studies that collected no empirical data on salmon.
Raincoast is a team of conservationists and scientists empowered by our research to protect the lands, waters and wildlife of coastal British Columbia. We use rigorous, peer-reviewed science and grassroots activism to further our conservation objectives. We call this approach ‘informed advocacy’ and it is unique amongst conservation efforts.