Friday, November 11, 2011

FUNDY ACTION GROUPS: The Fundy Bay Keeper

Sunset at Image via Wikipedia
The Conservation Council of New Brunswick (CCNB) has been working to protect our critical marine environments.
Fundy Baykeeper, part of our Marine Program has been working to defend
the Bay of Fundy since being founded in 2003. Through active
patrolling in the Baykeeper boat, Fundy Baykeeper assesses the threats
to the bay and works toward solutions with wide ranging partners. Our
founding Baykeeper and long time member of CCNB, Dave Thompson,
retired last month but remains active in CCNB on our board of
directors. Matthew Abbott, the Marine Project Coordinator, has moved
into the role of Fundy Baykeeper.

Over the past year we have been active members in a number of
campaigns with wide ranging partners including a call for a halt to
the use of eco-toxic pesticides in the open netpen salmon aquaculture
industry; a campaign to stop the approval of genetically modified
Atlantic Salmon; and the ongoing campaign to restore gaspereau
(alewives) to the St Croix River.

In the summer of 2010, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans quietly
released its assessment of the health of Canada’s major marine
ecosystems. The key findings were blunt and chilling; marine food webs
are crumbling and ocean waters are acidifying. Conservation Council
worked to shine the light of public attention on the report card and
build awareness about its findings among national environmental
organizations and parliamentarians. We encouraged Tides Canada to help
convene a three oceans summit to develop a course of action in
response.

CCNB was the driving force behind the establishment of the Musquash
Estuary Marine Protected Area (MPA). Estuaries are some of the most
productive ecosystems on earth, their preservation is critical. As the
last intact estuary in the Bay of Fundy/Gulf of Maine and the largest
remaining salt marsh in the Bay of Fundy, the protection of Musquash
is essential. CCNB has continued to defend Musquash by serving on the
Advisory Committee for the MPA, stopping the development of an
aquaculture site just outside the borders of the MPA, and carrying out
regular patrols at key sites to clean up marine debris and curb
illegal dumping. We host an annual Musquash Paddle to allow citizens
to fully experience Musquash from the water.

Baykeeper was instrumental in organizing the Atlantic Coalition for
Aquaculture Reform (ACAR) and continues to serve as co-coordinator of
the coalition. This coalition of fishermen’s associations,
environmental organizations, and concerned coastal citizens from both
New Brunswick and Nova Scotia has banded together to highlight and
address the environmental damage and threats to traditional fisheries
caused by the salmon aquaculture industry. Given the ongoing expansion
of salmon aquaculture into Nova Scotia, ACAR has served as an
important forum to organize coordinated regional activities to
highlight the folly of industrial feedlot aquaculture and put real
pressure on federal and provincial governments to appropriately
regulate the industry. ACAR has also served as a critical venue for
collaboration with groups on the West Coast also highlighting the
impacts of salmon aquaculture.

Despite abandoning plans for a second oil refinery in Saint John in
2009, Irving Oil continued with the provincial and federal
environmental assessment processes for the associated marine terminal.
Fundy Baykeeper was an official intervenor and provided expert
evidence of the damage the construction and operation of such a marine
terminal would cause in the coastal ecosystem.

While it remains critical, partly because of the monitoring,
reporting, and advocacy work of Baykeeper, the marine debris problem
in the Quoddy Region, in the outer Bay of Fundy has improved
considerably. For instance, we have secured the clean-up of several
more large debris sites through our work this patrol season.

To learn more about CCNB’s Marine program and Fundy Baykeeper, contact
Matthew Abbott, Fundy Baykeeper: marine@conservationcouncil.ca; (506)
529-8838

For further information, please contact us at:

CCNB
180 St. John St.,
Fredericton, NB
E3B 4A9
Tel: 506 458-8747
Fax: 506 458-1047
Email: info@conservationcouncil.ca
Get the pictures and subscribe at: http://fundytides.blogspot.com
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