Environmental Law Alert Blog: Canada’s ocean protection ripple could become a wave

Thursday, June 8, 2017 Twenty-five years after Canada proposed the idea of World Oceans Day to the United Nations, people around the world are still celebrating on June 8. It's also a time to reflect. Twenty-five years after Canada proposed the idea of World Oceans Day to the United Nations, people around the world are ...

Things Are Good: Billionaire Shipping Magnate Sponsors WWF Research Vessel

Kjell Inge Røkke made billions from running a shipping company and now he wants to give back to the very thing that made him wealth – the high seas. He has committed to giving away most of his fortune to better the world, and he just announced his donation to WWF Norway. His donation is ...

A Puff of Absurdity: A Bigger Problem with Air Travel

It was almost four years ago that Nature, a highly reputable peer-reviewed science journal, published a paper that suggests that climate change is going to affect us sooner rather than later. We will stop our more destructive habits like air travel, mass consumerism, factory farming…, but by choice or necessity is yet to be seen. ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Where there’s a will, there’s a way – Canada’s commitment to marine protected areas

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 “Canadian governments can and must do much more to protect Canadian ecosystems and biodiversity,” says the latest report from the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development – a must-read for anyone concerned about biodiversity protection in Canada. Staff Counsel Linda Nowlan breaks down the Committee’s recommendations, and ...

Things Are Good: UK Bans Fising in a Million Square Kilometres

The UK will be banning commercial fishing in approximately one million kilometres of their ocean waters. The country is expanding their marine protection areas in the Atlantic and Pacific around the British Overseas Territories. This is good news as overfishing is contributing part to the global mass extinction of marine wildlife, anything countries can do ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: #LovetheGreatBearSea: Put laws in place to protect it

Thursday, July 28, 2016 Earlier this year the BC government approved the Great Bear Rainforest Land Use Order, grounding the region’s land and forest protection into law. Now it’s time to anchor the Great Bear Sea solution – comprehensive ecosystem-based marine spatial plans – into law as well. It’s time to achieve lasting protection for ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: #LovetheGreatBearSea: Put laws in place to protect it

Thursday, July 28, 2016 Earlier this year the BC government approved the Great Bear Rainforest Land Use Order, grounding the region’s land and forest protection into law. Now it’s time to anchor the Great Bear Sea solution – comprehensive ecosystem-based marine spatial plans – into law as well. It’s time to achieve lasting protection for ...

Things Are Good: Happy World Oceans Day

The world’s oceans are incredibly important to the overall wellbeing of our planet. They absorb a lot of CO2 and harbour multiple ecosystems that we are still learning about. Despite the importance of the world’s oceans we often ignore their health. World Oceans Day is today and it’s a reminder how amazing these oceans are ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Making a splash: Time for Canada to catch up as marine protected area networks take off around the world

Monday, May 16, 2016 Canadians love parks and wilderness. Banff, Nahanni, Algonquin, Gros Morne – these names are etched in our consciousness. Yet we’re less familiar with the grandeur and ecological wonders of Canada’s ocean world. It’s time to make a splash and make Canadians proud of this essential part of our natural heritage and ...

The Common Sense Canadian: 130 scientists slam Lelu Island LNG report; last chance for public comment

Juvenile salmon at Flora Bank, where a controversial LNG terminal is proposed (Tavish Campbell) Over 130 scientists are slamming the draft environmental report into a proposed LNG terminal on Lelu Island over salmon habitat and other key issues. The concerns – expressed in a letter yesterday calling on the Trudeau Government to disregard the draft report on the ...

The Common Sense Canadian: LNG plants do kill salmon, Russian scientists warn BC

A BC sockeye salmon spawning (Stan Probocsz/Watershed Watch) The red flags keep popping up for BC’s vaunted LNG plans. Last week, Shell became the latest company to put its final investment decision for a proposed plant in Kitimat on hold due to the collapse of the global export market. This week, a draft federal environmental ...

Bill Longstaff: Oceans of plastic

What comes to mind when you think of oceans? Fish, of course. But what about plastic? Most people know we are dumping a lot of plastic into the world’s oceans, but many would be surprised at just how much. According to a report published by the World Economic Forum, by mid-century the oceans will contain ...

Things Are Good: Floating Dam to Capture Waste in the North Sea

The world’s oceans are polluted with massive amounts of waste plastics, so much so that we’ve had to name a grouping of plastic waste because it’s so large. There are many ways to reduce our use of plastics and our production of waste (hint: don’t buy so many things); we still need to deal with ...

The Common Sense Canadian: Much to be learned from girls’ soccer and fish farm sponsorship debacle

Fourteen-year-old Freyja Reed talks to reporters (Alexandra Morton/Facebook) Freyja Reed’s October 29th dismissal from the U-15 Riptide girl’s soccer team in the Comox Valley was the culmination of complexities arising from the arrival of a new sponsor for the league, Marine Harvest Canada, BC’s largest operator of net-pen salmon farms. So began Freyja’s principled refusal ...

The Common Sense Canadian: Teen stands her ground after being booted off soccer team for criticizing fish farming sponsor

Check out this Nov. 2 story from CTV.ca on a Comox teen’s criticism team sponsor Marine Harvest’s open net pen salmon farms – a move that got her booted off the team. Regardless, 14-year-old Freyja Reed is standing her ground in what has proved a PR disaster for the company. After her vocal opposition got ...

The Common Sense Canadian: Liberal govt issues 4 new salmon farm tenures on eve of BC Day

An existing BC salmon farm (Damien Gillis) It was an unwelcome surprise on the eve of BC Day for critics of open net pen salmon farms: the Liberal government’s quiet doling out of four new tenures to the big three Norwegian aquaculture giants – Marine Harvest, Cermaq and Grieg Seafoods. While some local First Nations are partners ...

The Common Sense Canadian: Heiltsuk, Haida, Nuu-chah-nulth join forces to protect herring

Former Council of the Haida Nation President Guujaaw (left) and Heiltsuk resource management director Kelly Brown at last week’s peace treaty celebration in Bella Bella (Damien Gillis) Three powerful coastal First Nations are banding together to protect Pacific herring – a marine resource integral to all of their cultures. The Nuu-chah-nulth of West Vancouver Island and ...

The Common Sense Canadian: Federal court ruling threatens bottom line for salmon farms

On May 6th, Justice Donald J. Rennie of the Federal Court ruled against Marine Harvest Canada and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, confirming that the transfer of young salmon infected with piscine reovirus into ocean net-pens was illegal. This victory by Alexandra Morton and her Ecojustice lawyers was dismissed by aquaculture giant Marine Harvest ...

The Common Sense Canadian: First Nation, star chef team up for unique herring benefit

Every year, the Great Bear Rainforest welcomes one of nature’s miracles as millions of herring return to spawn. Wolves, bears, eagles, whales, sea lions are all drawn from the forest and ocean to feast on the golden herring roe, deposited along miles of coastline. For 10,000 years, First Nations have been sustainably harvesting the roe from kelp ...

The Common Sense Canadian: Alexandra Morton explains her court win over salmon farm industry

Independent biologist Alexandra Morton explains her recent federal court victory over the salmon farming industry. The ruling prohibits salmon farmers from transferring diseased smolts to their open net pen operations – which could severely impact their financial health and limit their growth potential. Morton spoke to The Common Sense Canadian’s Damien Gillis via google video hangout from ...

The Common Sense Canadian: The untold story behind the central coast herring fishery fiasco

Herring gillnet boats outside Kitasu Bay just before giving up on this year’s fishery (Tavish Campbell) This is the untold story behind one of the most heated standoffs over fish which the BC coast has ever witnessed – the recent clash between the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and the Heiltsuk Nation over the central ...

The Common Sense Canadian: Heiltsuk celebrate as herring gillnet boats leave central coast empty

Video by Diana Chan “We did it!” declared Heiltsuk Chief Councillor Marilyn Slett to a jubilant crowd at the fisheries office near Bella Bella this afternoon, as the herring gillnet fleet departed the central coast empty. “This was our no-go zone,” said Slett, holding up a map of Area 7 in Heiltsuk territory, “and nobody ...

The Common Sense Canadian: DFO clings to bad science, refuses to close herring fishery in Area 7

Despite harsh criticism from scientists and First Nations of DFO’s flawed forecasting methods for the health of herring stocks, the department’s Director General, Pacific Region Sue Farlinger acknowledged today that she was unable to commit to the closure of a gillnet fishery in Area 7. Farlinger flew to Bella Bella Monday afternoon for emergency meetings ...

The Common Sense Canadian: Progress on herring standoff but Area 7 gillnet opening remains contentious issue; talks continue today

A long-awaited face-to-face meeting between Heiltsuk Nation leaders and senior DFO management finally went ahead yesterday at the central coast fisheries office currently being occupied by Heiltsuk members. DFO Regional Director General Sue Farlinger flew up to Bella Bella amid an increasingly heated standoff over herring fishery issues late Monday afternoon. Following nearly 3 hours of intense talks inside ...

The Common Sense Canadian: Heiltsuk Nation occupies DFO office in face of expected herring fishery

Heiltsuk Nation members confront DFO officers at Denny Island coast guard station (Pacific Wild) Tensions continue to escalate on the waters of the Great Bear Rainforest over a highly controversial herring fishery, as members of the Heiltsuk Nation are now occupying the local DFO office in opposition to a planned gillnet opening. A group of Heiltsuk ...