Canada’s Tories Axe Marine Scientists

B. McPherson
Will these magnificent creatures go extinct because of pollution? Who will watch for them?
In a ham handed move the federal Conservative government has gutted the pollution reporting system for all three oceans that border Canada – the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic. They have given notice to 215 Pacific Region scientists and support staff, leaving five junior scientists to monitor pollution in all three oceans.

Eventually more than 1000 positions in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans will be terminated.
One of the casualties of this money saving will be scientists Peter Ross, an acknowledged expert on killer whales. He has sounded alarm bells about the high levels of pollution in the tissues of the local orcas especially PCB contamination.

Ross also monitors and reports on other forms of contaminants in the Pacific coastal waters, watching out for sewage, chemical leachates, pesticides and salmon stocks, and this is speculation only – perhaps the effect of oil spills on marine life.

`I cannot think of another industrialized nation that has completely excised marine pollution from its radar,'' said Ross, who was informed in a letter Thursday that his position will be ``affected.''Vancouver Sun

I may be cynical, but this comes at a time when oil pipelines to the Pacific coast seem like the new darling of the feds. Drilling for oil in the Arctic Ocean is gearing up will inevitable spills and toxic materials polluting the icy waters. The BC Provincial government grants ocean leases to open net fish farming which add to the pollution entering the water – pesticides, antibiotics, fish poop and currently an epidemic of deadly disease. There’s tonnes of debris heading this way from the tsunami in Japan last year, some of it toxic. There’s too much money to be made by various corporations, most of them foreign owned for this to be just good money management.

You can’t eat oil and you shouldn’t eat farmed salmon.

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