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Minister LeBlanc considers all options to protect the North Atlantic Right Whale from further harm

posted Nov 10, 2017, 12:50 PM by SOS SaveOceanScience   [ updated Nov 10, 2017, 1:07 PM ]

Minister LeBlanc considers all options to protect the North Atlantic Right Whale from further harm

News Release - 2017-11-10

From Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Moncton, New Brunswick – Canada’s commitment to protecting the North Atlantic Right Whale was front and centre at a roundtable meeting led by the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.

Minister LeBlanc met with representatives from fishing organizations, marine transportation industries, cruise lines, ferry associations, Indigenous peoples, whale experts and scientists, as well as the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), to discuss concrete actions which can be taken to better protect the right whale in Canadian waters.

This roundtable is just one part of a comprehensive approach to ensure these marine mammals are protected for future generations.

Moving forward, the Government of Canada will work with partners on many of the specific proposals that were discussed throughout the day, which include:

•      Actively exploring opportunities to adjust existing fishing gear immediately to reduce the risk of entanglements.
•      Testing new gear technologies that would reduce the amount of rope in the water and lower the risk of whale entanglements.
•      Adjusting fishing seasons to avoid periods when right whales congregate.
•      Implementing measures to reduce lost fishing gear that poses a risk to whales and other species.
•      Enhancing whale sighting and detection information, and timely sharing of this information among all those concerned.
•      Considering seasonal speed restrictions in target areas and adjustments to shipping lanes based on accurate and timely whale sightings information.
•      Improving the collaboration and coordination across industry sectors, governments and non-governmental organizations to leverage the expertise on the protection and recovery of the North Atlantic Right Whale.

The collective expertise gathered in this forum and the proposed actions will help inform government policy on reducing the impacts of human activity on right whales and to protecting our waters and marine life for generations to come.


“Everyone around the table understood the urgency of this situation, and the need to take concrete actions to protect the North Atlantic Right Whale. Having experts, industry representatives, scientists and Indigenous communities participate in these meetings brings a more diverse and complete understanding of the situation. This discussion was profoundly helpful in assessing the long-term options available to our government. We will work quickly to ensure the survival and recovery of this iconic species.”
The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, P.C., Q.C., M.P., Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Quick Facts

  • The roundtable meeting stems from an unprecedented 12 North Atlantic Right Whale deaths in the Gulf of St. Lawrence from June to September 2017.

  • The Government of Canada’s $1.5 billion investment in the Oceans Protection Plan includes measures that will address threats to marine mammals in Canadian waters and enhance capacity to respond to marine mammal incidents.

  • In summer 2017, Canadians were invited to share their views through the Let’s Talk Whales consultation aimed at helping the recovery of the North Atlantic Right Whale, the St. Lawrence Estuary Beluga and the Southern Resident Killer Whale. Almost 20,000 people participated and contributed over 200 ideas in response to the question “How can we, as Canadians, take action now to reduce impacts on at-risk whales and help their recovery?”

Associated Links



Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Laura Gareau
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister
Fisheries and Oceans Canada 



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Government of Canada is investing in science capacity and jobs at the St. Andrews Biological Station

posted Nov 10, 2017, 12:38 PM by SOS SaveOceanScience   [ updated Nov 10, 2017, 1:03 PM ]

Government of Canada is investing in science capacity and jobs at the St. Andrews Biological Station

News Release - July 2017

From Fisheries and Oceans Canada

St. Andrews, NB - The Government of Canada is committed to using scientific evidence to inform marine management decisions. Investments in science will help protect our oceans and ensure that our fisheries and aquaculture sectors provide meaningful employment for Canadians for generations to come.

The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard today announced that the Government of Canada continues to implement investments of $8.9 million at the St. Andrews Biological Station, Atlantic Canada’s oldest marine research facility. The investments continue to focus on upgrades to the laboratories to support ocean science research and improve the building’s accessibility, safety and security. 

Minister LeBlanc also announced that 15 new scientists, biologists, hydrographers and other science professionals will be located at the Station. These new employees will support healthy fish stocks and ecosystems, and sustainable aquaculture. They will also do important work to help protect our marine environments and communities from the potential effects of oil spills and day-to-day vessel operations.

Some of these new employees will be hired under the $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan, which will improve marine safety and responsible shipping, and protect Canada’s coastal habitats, ecosystems and marine species. Others will be hired under the $197.1 million Budget 2016 investment in ocean and freshwater sciences.

Through the Oceans Protection Plan and Budget 2016 investments, Fisheries and Oceans Canada is hiring 254 science professionals across the country.

Photo legend: The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard announced funding in support of scientific research and 15 new science positions at the St. Andrews Biological Station.


“The St. Andrews Biological Station has made significant contributions to marine science since 1908, and our government is pleased to be investing in improved infrastructure and in rebuilding DFO’s scientific capacity. Our investment in infrastructure and science staff will ensure that this facility can continue to conduct world-class scientific research for many years to come.”

The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“The St. Andrews Biological Station is recognized as a world-class research facility. Further investment in infrastructure and new scientific staff signals our government’s strong commitment to both science and economic growth in the region. We are already seeing a marine industry cluster develop around this centre and that will continue to grow with today’s announcement.”

Karen Ludwig, Member of Parliament, New Brunswick Southwest


Quick Facts

  • Founded in 1908, the St. Andrews Biological Station conducts scientific studies focussed on the Bay of Fundy and Gulf of Maine, as well as regional coastal ecosystems and traditional fisheries. A large portion of research is done in collaboration with universities, environmental groups, and the aquaculture and fishing industries.

  • The infrastructure upgrades are funded under the Federal Infrastructure Fund.


Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Laura Gareau
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister
Fisheries and Oceans Canada


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Huntsman Marine Science Centre receives $6.6 million to boost N.B. aquaculture sector

posted Nov 9, 2017, 1:19 PM by SOS SaveOceanScience   [ updated Nov 9, 2017, 1:19 PM ]

Updated: September 14, 2016 4:30 pm

Huntsman Marine Science Centre receives $6.6 million to boost N.B. aquaculture sector

By Video Journalist  Global News

WATCH ABOVE: A key component of the aquaculture sector in New Brunswick is receiving millions of dollars in government funding to go toward two projects. As Global's Andrew Cromwell reports officials believe it will result in more business and new jobs.

- A A +

A significant investment in the aquaculture industry in southwestern New Brunswick could mean dozens of new high-paying jobs. The federal and provincial governments announced $6.6 million for the Huntsman Marine Science Centre in St. Andrews for a pair of projects.

Ottawa, through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, is contributing about $5 million. The provincial government will come up with most of the rest of the money. The Huntsman Centre and Northern Harvest Sea Farms are also investing in the projects.

READ MORE: New Brunswick government releases its vision plan for economic growth

One of the projects will see the amount of salt water pumped into the centre for various research projects tripled, which officials hope will attract more research.

“We have potential clients that we are waiting to have the asset in place to entice to come and increase our business here at the Huntsman,” said Science Centre chairman Fraser Walsh.

It’s hoped business will double over the next four years and that more than 20 new jobs are created. Currently, more than 45 people work at the centre.

The other project involves new programs that aim to increase fish health and disease resistance.

“We’re in a global industry so these kind of programs are being done and supported significantly by governments in countries like Norway, Scotland and Chile, so we have to do it to keep up,” said Larry Ingalls, president of Northern Harvest Sea Farms in St. George.

The Huntsman Marine Science Centre is hoping to see the business growth over the next four years.


New funding announced for PEARL!

posted Nov 9, 2017, 6:44 AM by SOS SaveOceanScience   [ updated Nov 9, 2017, 6:45 AM ]

Evidence for Democracy


We have some great news to share!

Thanks to your efforts, the federal government announced today that they will provide some bridge funding for the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) in the high Arctic into Fall 2019.

PEARL is one of only a handful of high Arctic research stations in the world. From its scientifically strategic location in Canada’s high arctic, PEARL is able to investigate crucial environmental issues like ozone depletion, airborne spread of pollutants and monitor high Arctic climate changes.

This funding will ensure that the PEARL lab stays open - and this wouldn’t have happened without you! Once again, our community has shown that science advocacy works.

But climate science in Canada isn’t in the clear. PEARL is only one of seven climate and atmospheric research programs that have had their funding cut.

Without new funding these other programs researching crucially important issues like how to improve climate predictions, the role of aerosols in climate change and how to better predict sea ice and snow cover are at risk.

Canada can and should be a world-leader in climate and atmospheric science. We’re looking forward to continuing to work with you and the government to make sure a robust and long-term solution is in place.

Even though there is more work to do, this is a big win. Thank you for making it happen!

Katie Gibbs
Executive Director  

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Evidence for Democracy is the leading fact-driven, non-partisan, not-for-profit organization promoting the transparent use of evidence in government decision-making in Canada.

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Marine Pollution Bulletin - The Gulfwatch contaminants ....

posted Oct 4, 2017, 6:05 PM by SOS SaveOceanScience   [ updated Oct 4, 2017, 6:06 PM ]

Sarah D. Chamberlaina,⁎, Peter G. Wellsa,b, Bertrum H. MacDonaldc

a Marine Affairs Program, Dalhousie University, Halifax B3H 4R2, Canada
b International Ocean Institute, Dalhousie University, Halifax B3H 4R2, Canada
c School of Information Management, Dalhousie University, Halifax B3H 4R2, Canada

Harbour water safe only on the surface

posted Oct 1, 2017, 6:00 PM by SOS SaveOceanScience   [ updated Oct 4, 2017, 6:07 PM ]

Letter to The Chronicle Herald  Sept 2017 

Reader’s Corner


Harbour water safe only on the surface


Not surprisingly, there is renewed interest in Halifax Harbor for recreational fishing and swimming (The Chronicle Herald, recent articles). Sewage and other household effluents produced by HRM residents undergo advanced primary treatment before entering the harbor.  Storm water overflows after severe rain events are not always treated.  But overall, harbor water quality appears to have improved – waters are clearer and visible surface sludge is rare. 

But a word of caution is apt. Despite earlier studies, there is no ongoing monitoring of harbor water, sediment and fish tissue(s) to ensure the safety of citizens. The data publically available for comprehensive health risk assessments of fishing and swimming are severely limited or out of date.  

Federal departments (Fisheries and Oceans, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Health Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada) should be conducting such monitoring and assessments but apparently do not, despite their respective responsibilities.  As well, the Province and HRM do cursory monitoring, if at all.  

Occasional single-point monitoring of fecal coliform bacteria is inadequate for meaningful health risk assessments. Water masses are highly variable in space and time, and contaminated bottom sediments sometimes mix with sub-surface waters that contact fish and swimmers.  In the absence of on-going reliable data on levels of chemical contaminants in local fish tissue (e.g., mercury, lead, plasticizers, oil constituents) and levels of water-borne pathogens (e.g., bacteria, viruses, parasites), safe conditions may be illusory.   

Hence, several actions seem prudent.  If you fish, eat what you catch sparingly, avoid bottom feeders and practise catch and release. If you swim, avoid ingesting the water, and wash well afterwards.  Most important, contact your government representatives and demand renewed comprehensive monitoring programs. Harbor waters deserve timely, evidence-based protection if fishing and swimming are to proceed safely.


Peter Wells

Halifax, NS.

Prime Minister introduces Canada’s new top scientist

posted Sep 27, 2017, 7:14 PM by SOS SaveOceanScience   [ updated Oct 4, 2017, 6:07 PM ]

Prime Minister introduces Canada’s new top scientist

September 26, 2017

The Government of Canada is committed to strengthen science in government decision-making and to support scientists’ vital work.

In keeping with these commitments, the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced Dr. Mona Nemer as Canada’s new Chief Science Advisor, following an open, transparent, and merit-based selection process.  

We know Canadians value science. As the new Chief Science Advisor, Dr. Nemer will help promote science and its real benefits for Canadians—new knowledge, novel technologies, and advanced skills for future jobs. These breakthroughs and new opportunities form an essential part of the Government’s strategy to secure a better future for Canadian families and to grow Canada’s middle class.

Dr. Nemer is a distinguished medical researcher whose focus has been on the heart, particularly on the mechanisms of heart failure and congenital heart diseases. In addition to publishing over 200 scholarly articles, her research has led to new diagnostic tests for heart failure and the genetics of cardiac birth defects. Dr. Nemer has spent more than ten years as the Vice-President, Research at the University of Ottawa, has served on many national and international scientific advisory boards, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a Member of the Order of Canada, and a Chevalier de l’Ordre du Québec.

As Canada’s new top scientist, Dr. Nemer will provide impartial scientific advice to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Science. She will also make recommendations to help ensure that government science is fully available and accessible to the public, and that federal scientists remain free to speak about their work. Once a year, she will submit a report about the state of federal government science in Canada to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Science, which will also be made public.


“We have taken great strides to fulfill our promise to restore science as a pillar of government decision-making. Today, we took another big step forward by announcing Dr. Mona Nemer as our Chief Science Advisor. Dr. Nemer brings a wealth of expertise to the role. Her advice will be invaluable and inform decisions made at the highest levels. I look forward to working with her to promote a culture of scientific excellence in Canada.”
— The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

“A respect for science and for Canada’s remarkable scientists is a core value for our government. I look forward to working with Dr. Nemer, Canada’s new Chief Science Advisor, who will provide us with the evidence we need to make decisions about what matters most to Canadians: their health and safety, their families and communities, their jobs, environment and future prosperity.”
— The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science

“I am honoured and excited to be Canada’s Chief Science Advisor. I am very pleased to be representing Canadian science and research – work that plays a crucial role in protecting and improving the lives of people everywhere. I look forward to advising the Prime Minister and the Minister of Science and working with the science community, policy makers, and the public to make science part of government policy making.”
— Dr. Mona Nemer, Chief Science Advisor, Canada

Quick Facts

  • Dr. Nemer is also a Knight of the Order of Merit of the French Republic, and has been awarded honorary doctorates from universities in France and Finland.
  • The Office of the Chief Science Advisor will be housed at Innovation, Science and Economic Development and supported by a secretariat.

Related Products

Salmon farms receiver feared 'environmental disaster' from sea lice outbreak

posted Mar 21, 2017, 5:41 AM by SOS SaveOceanScience   [ updated Mar 21, 2017, 6:11 AM ]

Salmon farms receiver feared 'environmental disaster' from sea lice outbreak

A quarter-million salmon died in their Bay of Fundy pens last summer during a sea lice outbreak

By Connell Smith, CBC News Posted: Mar 20, 2017 7:30 AM AT Last Updated: Mar 20, 2017 12:58 PM AT

If a sea lice outbreak at two Gray Group salmon farms hadn't been controlled, 600 tons of rotting fish could have washed onshore at Saint Andrews, according to court documents.

If a sea lice outbreak at two Gray Group salmon farms hadn't been controlled, 600 tons of rotting fish could have washed onshore at Saint Andrews, according to court documents. (CBC)


Documents filed with New Brunswick's Court of Queen's Bench reveal an environmental disaster was only narrowly averted last summer in the Bay of Fundy.

The incident is tied to an outbreak of sea lice at aquaculture sites managed by the Gray Group, which had slipped into receivership owing millions of dollars to creditors.

More than 250,000 salmon died from the fast-growing infestation before contractors managed to gain the upper hand.

An additional 284,000 salmon were pre-emptively killed to contain the spread.

Fears of dead fish on shore

Details about the event are laid out in a report and supporting documents written by Ernst & Young receiver George Kinsman and included in the file.

Kinsman describes fears at the height of the crisis that hundreds of tons of rotting salmon would wash up on the shoreline at Saint Andrews during last summer's tourist season.

Kinsman, a chartered accountant and vice-president with the firm, had been appointed to manage the aquaculture company and to find a buyer for its assets.

He had only been on the job for weeks when a spike in sea lice counts was discovered at Hospital Island, one of three salmon farms the Gray group of companies operated in Passamaquoddy Bay near Saint Andrews.

Insurers resisted pre-emptive kill

Information Morning - Saint John
Town of St. Andrews not aware of massive sea lice outbreak at salmon farm
00:00 08:17

The documents describe a race against the clock as Kinsman tried to convince insurers that more than 500,000 fish at Hospital Island and a nearby site at Hog Island needed to be killed to prevent the spread of the infestation to other areas.

Kinsman had been informed by insurance adjuster Greg Potten of a provision in the insurance policy against "intentional slaughter" that would prevent coverage for the loss of the fish.

In an email to Potten, Kinsman describe a potential "environmental disaster" if the fish were not pre-emptively killed, "with 600 tons of rotting biomass washing up along the Saint Andrews sea shore line, resulting in unsightly and unbearable odours that will affect the seaside vacation townships."

Without a green light from the insurer and with sea lice counts quickly climbing at the two cage sites, Kinsman went ahead with arrangements for contractors to collect and kill the fish.

Gray's Aqua farm sites passamaquoddy Bay

A fast-spreading sea lice outbreak killed nearly half the salmon last summer at two farm sites on Passamaquoddy Bay near Saint Andrews. (CBC)

Another letter, from the Department of Aquaculture's chief veterinarian, suggested the company should go even further and pre-emptively kill all fish at all three Gray-owned farm sites in the bay.

"With great certainty, as the Chief Veterinarian Prov. of NB, I can attest that all of the fish at the three indicated sites will expire within the next 30-60 days," wrote Michael Beattie.

Not to kill the fish now, he suggested, would be to create a "catastrophic event."

Kinsman hired contractors with pumper boats to collect the live salmon at the Hospital Island and Hogg Island farms, but the workers discovered nearly half the fish, or 252,000, had already died from the sea lice infestation.

The remaining fish were "euthanized," although the report does not say how that was done.

'No one had any knowledge of this whatsoever.'- Doug Naish, mayor of Saint Andrews 

The effort managed to contain the sea lice problem, fish at the third Gray farm, near Simpson Island were sold in September of 2016.

Saint Andrews Mayor Doug Naish says neither he nor town staff were aware of problems last summer at Hospital Island, which is visible from the popular tourist town.

"No one had any knowledge of this whatsoever," Naish said.

The executive director of the Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association, an aquaculture industry group, said the incident was a "great concern" for her members.

"There was a salmon farming company that was no longer able to manage its farms and take care of its fish and an accounting firm was trying to manage it," wrote Susan Farquharson.

"Our members were concerned about animal welfare and bio-security."

Location of farms a worry

Farquharson said quick action by members of her association helped the receiver gain control over the "unfortunate situation."

Reached by CBC News, Kinsman said his report is a public document and he did not wish to say more.

But environmentalist Matthew Abbott of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick questions whether the three Gray sites are appropriate places to allow salmon farming.

Abbott said there were problems before in north Passamaquoddy Bay.

Sees a flushing problem

"The area isn't really flushing," said Abbott, the council's Fundy Baykeeper.

"There didn't really seem to be a way to stop someone from essentially restarting an operation in an area where we had good reason to expect there would be problems, and indeed they had the very problems we could have expected them to have. That was certainly a disappointment."

A spokesman for the New Brunswick Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries said the three former Gray sites are not being used and will remain vacant until at least April of 2018.

The assets of Gray Group, including the company's leased farm sites in New Brunswick and in Newfoundland and Labrador, were later sold for $15 million to Marine Harvest, a company with extensive operations in Norway and Western Canada.

A spokesperson said the company is developing a business plan for operations in the Bay of Fundy.

CBC New Brunswick News March 20, 2017

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Science, Information, and Policy Interface for Effective Coastal and Ocean Management

posted Mar 7, 2017, 4:22 PM by SOS SaveOceanScience   [ updated Mar 7, 2017, 4:29 PM ]

Few would disagree that in combatting serious anthropogenic ecological problems, such as climate change, public policy development should be informed by the best available scientific information. However, with the vast volume of information now available through multiple communication methods and with public resources constrained by current austerity measures, an urgent need exists to understand and strengthen the channels by which scientific information reaches policy- and decision-makers.
Science, Information, and Policy Interface for Effective Coastal and Ocean Management is a timely publication in the midst of this period of crisis and opportunity. This volume is the first to focus exclusively on the role of scientific information in the development of coastal and ocean policy and management of the oceans.
About the Authors
Bertrum H. MacDonald, Suzuette S. Soomai, Elizabeth M. De Santo, and Peter G. Wells, of the Environmental Information: Use and Influence Research Program (EIUI) at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, are the editors. Since 2004, EIUI has partnered with governments in Canada, in addition to NGOs and international inter-governmental organizations, to investigate the role that scientific information plays in the development and implementation of marine policy.
An international roster of over 30 practitioners and scholars contributed to this volume, representing multiple disciplines, including coastal zone management, fisheries management, information management, and public policy. This team combines the knowledge of leading researchers on science-policy interactions with the experience of practitioners at national, regional, and international levels of government. The text draws clear, practical lessons from the scholarly literature.
Essential Themes
The book presents fundamental concepts and principles of the science-policy interface, which are illustrated in contemporary case studies.
Essential themes include:
 The complexity of the pathways by which scientific infor-mation flows within and among organizations that set the context for policy and management decisions.
 The significance of the processes by which information is generated and assembled to inform policy.
 The necessity to produce information in styles and formats that are helpful to intended users.
 The diversity of methods by which information can be used (or misused) in policy development.
For further information about this book and EIUI’s work, visit Direct inquiries can be sent to
Key Messages
The book identifies major challenges facing researchers and practitioners wanting to improve the processes of evidence-based decision-making, including the need to:
 Develop policy solutions to balance trade-offs between evidentiary, political, and economic imperatives.
 Enhance knowledge sharing and information management processes to ensure that decision makers access the relevant information.
 Improve the reliability of scientific information presented to policymakers.
 Understand and effectively communicate the consequences of inaction on environmental issues.
 Encourage interdisciplinary approaches, that include information management, in the practice and study of integrated coastal and ocean management.
Published by CRC Press (Taylor & Francis), 6 May 2016
ISBN: 978-1-4987-3170-6
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4987-3171-3
Science, Information, and Policy Interface for
Effective Coastal and Ocean Management
Section I. Introduction
1. Introduction – B. H. MacDonald, S. S. Soomai, E. M. De Santo, and P. G. Wells
2. Understanding the Science-Policy Interface in Integrated Coastal and Ocean Management – B. H. MacDonald, S. S. Soomai, E. M. De Santo, and P. G. Wells
Section II. Fundamental Concepts and Principles
3. Exploring the Role of Science in Coastal and Ocean Management: A Review – Brian Coffey and Kevin O’Toole
4. Science Information and Global Ocean Governance – Jake Rice
5. Risk Refined at the Science-Policy Interface: The International Risk Governance Framework Applied to Different Classes of Coastal Zone Risks – Kevin Quigley and Kate Porter
6. Governing the Marine Environment through Information: Fisheries, Shipping, and Tourism – Hilde M. Toonen and Arthur P. J. Mol
7. Inducing Better Stakeholder Searches for Environmental Information Relevant to Coastal Conservation – Diana L. Ascher and William Ascher
8. When Scientific Uncertainty Is in the Eye of the Beholder: Using Network Analysis to Understand the Building of Trust in Science – Troy W. Hartley
9. Designing Usable Environmental Research – Elizabeth C. McNie, Angela Bednarek, Ryan Meyer, and Adam Parris
10. The Balancing Act of Science in Public Policy – Peter Gluckman and Kristiann Allen
11. Measuring Awareness, Use, and Influence of Information: Where Theory Meets Practice – S. S. Soomai, P. G. Wells, B. H. MacDonald, E. M. De Santo, and Anatoliy Gruzd
Section III. Case Studies
12. What Do Users Want from a State of the Environment Report? A Case Study of Awareness and Use of Canada’s State of the Scotian Shelf Report – James D. Ross and Heather Breeze
13. The Environmental Effects of Ocean Shipping and the Science-Policy Interface – Elizabeth R. DeSombre
14. Just Evidence: Opening Health Knowledge to a Parliament of Evidence – Janice E. Graham and Mavis Jones
15. Information Matters: The Influence of the Atlantic Coastal Zone Information Steering Committee on Integrated Coastal and Ocean Management in Atlantic Canada – Andrew G. Sherin and Alexi Baccardax Westcott
16. A Career-Based Perspective of Science-Policy Linkages in Environment Canada: The Role of Information in Managing Human Activities in Our Ocean Spaces – Peter G. Wells
17. Bridging the Science-Policy Divide to Promote Fisheries Knowledge for All: The Case of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations – Lahsen Ababouch, Marc Taconet, Julian Plummer, Luca Garibaldi, and Stefania Vannuccini
18. Informing and Improving Fisheries Management Outcomes: An Atlantic Canadian Large Pelagics Case Study by the Ecology Action Centre – Susanna D. Fuller, Kathryn E. Schleit, Heather J. Grant, and Shannon Arnold
Section IV. The Way Forward
19. Does Information Matter in ICOM? Critical Issues and the Path Forward – E. M. De Santo, S. S. Soomai, P. G. Wells, and B. H. MacDonald

Source:    Book Flyer

The iconic Torrey Canyon oil spill of 1967 - Marking its legacy

posted Mar 6, 2017, 5:40 PM by SOS SaveOceanScience   [ updated Mar 6, 2017, 5:41 PM ]

The iconic Torrey Canyon oil spill of 1967 - Marking its legacy
Peter G.Wells
International Ocean Institute, Dalhousie University,
 6414 Coburg Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4R2, Canada

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history:
Received 29 November 2016
Accepted 5 December 2016

March 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the SS Torrey Canyon oil spill and cleanup, off the Cornwall coast in
the English Channel. It was the world's first major supertanker disaster. It was a signature event in the marine
pollution field, especially related to oil spill response and the initiation of scientific studies of monitoring and
researching the fate and effects of oil in the sea. This paper recalls this event, notes our growing understanding
of marine pollution and global efforts for cleaner seas, and encourages further work on both oil and the many
emerging environmental issues affecting the marine environment.
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Next year (March 2017)marks the 50th anniversary of the SS Torrey
Canyon supertanker oil spill and cleanup, off the Cornwall coast in the
English Channel. It was the world's first major supertanker disaster
(Hall, 2007; Barkham, 2010). Itwas a signature event in themarine pollution
field, especially related to oil spill response and scientific studies
ofmonitoring and researching the fate and effects of oil in the sea. Its anniversary
is an opportunity to recall this event, to note our growing understanding
of marine pollution and global efforts for cleaner seas, and
to encourage further work on both oil and themany emerging environmental
issues affecting the sea.
The Torrey Canyon was a very visible and well-documented spill,
given its location and size (119,000 tonnes of Kuwait crude). It killed
N25,000 seabirds and numerous other marine organisms, engaging
public attention for months. The spill coated beaches in southern England
(approx. 200 km of Cornish coast), the Channel Islands, and
northwestern France. It stimulated several UK studies reported upon
soon after the event (Corner et al., 1968; Nelson-Smith, 1968, 1972;
Simpson, 1968; Spooner, 1968, 1969; Southward and Southward,
1978; Zuckerman, 1967), two books (Cowan, 1968; Smith, 1968), and
scientific concern about coastal pollution from oil and many other
toxic chemicals, in numerous countries. At the time, relatively little
was known about the fate and effects of petroleum derived hydrocarbons
in the sea. The event was also followed shortly afterwards in
North America by the barge Florida spill in Buzzards Bay,Massachusetts
(1968), the Santa Barbara oil platform blowout off California (1969),
and the tanker Arrow bunker C spill in Chedabucto Bay, NS, Canada
(1970). All of these events helped initiate several decades of marine
oil spill impact and recovery studies.
The Torrey Canyon spill was burned, bombed, sprayed with
chemicals and physically removed from shorelines. It was the first,
major offshore and shoreline use of chemicals on a large spill. Unfortunately,
theywere first-generation dispersants (solvent-emulsifiers) and
detergents (solvent based cleaning agents, ITOPF, 2014). They proved to
be of limited effectiveness for the job of dispersing the oil at sea and for
cleaning the beaches, and where used on shorelines, they caused considerable
further ecological damage. The spill gave dispersants a bad
name that has lasted for decades.
The spill also occurred at a time when environmentalism was becoming
a prominent force in western society. Rachel Carson's Silent
Spring (Carson, 1962) had just been published to great acclaim. Toxic
waste dumps were prolific in the USA (these eventually led to super
fund site cleanups), there was the wide-scale use of Agent Orange in
Vietnam, and countries were recognizing the implications of the
burgeoning global human population. Public and political concern,
from local to international, was mounting.
It was shortly after the Torrey Canyon spill that the predecessor of the
Marine Pollution Bulletin began, initiated by Dr. Robert (Bob) Clark, University,
Newcastle upon Tyne, England. It was a mimeographed Newsletter
with a limited distribution to aquatic and marine pollution
specialists. Clark then became the first and long standing Editor when
the newsletter transitioned with Pergamon Press to the current journal
in 1970.
The influence in the marine pollution field left by the Torrey Canyon
disaster, and followed by the other accidents (some mentioned above),
has beenmulti-faceted. Over the past 50 years, there has been a huge investment
in oil pollution research, and research on a vast array of other
chemicals and physical threats to the sea. For oil, the result has been
thousands of papers and reports, and several major syntheses, such as
the US National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council reviews
of oil in the sea (NAS, 1975, 1985; NRC, 1989, 2003, 2005). The
Marine Pollution Bulletin xxx (2016) xxx–xxx
E-mail address:
MPB-08232; No of Pages 2
0025-326X/© 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Please cite this article as: Wells, P.G., The iconic Torrey Canyon oil spill of 1967 - Marking its legacy, Marine Pollution Bulletin (2016), http://

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