Tell the shipping industry it can’t walk away from ocean conservation

Photo credit: jan zeschky via flickr.

British Columbians are right to worry about the impacts of a major bitumen spill on Pacific coastal ecosystems. A single oil spill could devastate the coast.

But even without an oil spill, getting hit by ships, toxic pollution and noise impacts can have a devastating effect on the whales that are so much a part of life on the West Coast.

Strikes by giant tankers and container ships are a leading cause of whale death worldwide. You don’t have to be a marine biologist to understand that if the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion projects are approved, more tankers carrying more oil will hit more whales. But it’s not just tankers carrying Alberta oil that cause concern. The B.C. government’s plans for liquefied natural gas will require big ships to carry LNG to Asian markets. Yet, discussions about pipeline and tanker traffic expansion have included little or no consideration of ships hitting marine mammals.

The David Suzuki Foundation highlights the benefits of marine use planning to minimize conflicting activities on the West Coast. The shipping industry, however, isn’t joining other stakeholders and governments at the planning table.

Tell the shipping industry that developing marine plans and protected areas is an essential step to determine if — and where — pipelines, LNG terminals and shipping lanes that can accommodate higher volumes should be located.



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