Protection should be according to merit

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News of impending job losses in the area, the recent report on the province’s economic future and urgent calls for the need to stimulate business – they’re all indication of which way the wind is blowing. But in the midst of the need for development, we need to remember that certain precautions must be maintained.

According to one East Coast researcher, efforts to conserve marine areas aren’t as effective as they could be, simply because they are misdirected.

Rodolphe Devillers of Memorial University said often when protection is granted, it’s done in an area where it won’t inconvenience fishing or potential industrial activities. His study on the subject appeared in the journal Aquatic Conservation.

Sad, but likely many won’t be surprised by this revelation. Devillers adds to his observations the factor of political will. Politicians often shy away from championing a conservation effort if it’s going to mean a loss of jobs, or commercial activity, or it gets in the way of proposed development.

We’ve seen that happen before. A halt wasn’t made to the Atlantic cod fishery until the species was gravely threatened.

Devillers assertion in this regard is that if Canada –other countries too – sincerely wants to do something to conserve habitat, it will mean economic sacrifices.

In Canada, he said, top picks offered by scientists as candidates for protection are often ignored in favour of areas that have little industrial activity.

We can certainly extrapolate from those comments and apply them, for example, as the possibility continues for oil and gas exploration in the Gulf of St. Lawrence – while the local Save Our Seas and Shores Coalition delivers its message that the area is too fragile for such activity.

The study should be of interest not only to those with pure conservation motives at heart. If we value the commercial potential of any natural habitat it’s vital to get serious about preserving it so that it be there in the future.

Organizations: Seas and Shores Coalition

Geographic location: Canada

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  • mary gorman - Save Our Seas and Shores Coalition
    March 13, 2014 - 14:36

    It is truly heartening to receive unsolicited support and acknowledgement of the huge risk offshore oil and gas development poses in the extremely sensitive spawning, nursery and migratory waters that make up the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Particularly when you consider that this semi landlocked body of water, with its counter clockwise currents, only flushes into the Atlantic once a year. Given the Michelin job losses etc, our governments would be wise to focus on PROTECTING the thousands of renewable fishing and tourism jobs the Gulf of St Lawrence has provided our five Maritime provinces for centuries. On behalf of our Coalition, I want to thank the Evening News for this editorial and for understanding that 'mitigation' is not always possible. I also want to thank you for caring enough about our stunningly beautiful Gulf, to speak up about its need to be protected before it is too late.