Sunday, August 30, 2009

Bay of Fundy Right Whales Know Where to "Chow Down"

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Big changes started taking place in near-shore Quoddy around 1980. Up until then, over 2 million Phalaropes crowded into Head Harbour Passage almost every year along with thousands of other birds, fish and whales of all descriptions. These beautiful tiny birds feed on Calanus finmarchicus, a small planktonic species know as a copepod, an abundant species that is at the center stage of an annual feast that has been going on for millennia . Since phalaropes feed on these copepods, they are the "canary in the mine" for the North Atlantic right whale, the endangered whale that comes north to the Bay of Fundy every summer to feed on these copepods too.

This past few years, researchers and whale watchers are reporting right whales in the approaches to Head Harbour Passage just off Campobello. This week, forty or more rolled in to "chow down" on the copepod blooms here. As Laurie Murison of Grand Manan Seabird and Whale Research stated in her blog Adopt Right whales:

The zooplankton tows done in an area where right whales normally occur (Grand Manan Basin) have been coming up with very few copepods and hence the reason the right whales are not there. Off the Wolves, processed copepods, courtesy of herring, are floating at the surface in long windrows. Obviously the herring are also feeding on copepods in the same area as the right whales.

Yesterday, Quoddy Link Marine reported a humpback whale up in Head Harbour Passage at Wilson's Beach and the Passage is literally plugged solid with fish including tuna, sharks and sunfish, thousands of seabirds, seals, porpoise, finbacks, minkes and much more. See the reports at the I Love Quoddy WILD blog.

It's only been a short decade plus a bit since adventure tourism operators and researchers started paying attention to this special place. Prior to that there were only a few of us recording the happenings in the area; my company Marine Research Associates, Dave Gaskin's research group from the University of Guelph, and one lone whale watch boat run by Don Hurley and Bill Haddon. Back then, we expected Head Harbour to be "plugged solid" and it was not unusual to encounter right whales around the Wolves or in Head Harbour Passage for that matter.Then something changed and, as elsewhere, the fish and feed were driven away from the shore. This is what today's observers seem to to think is the normal state.

The current abundance in the vicinity of Head Harbour Passage is actually what should occur each summer. The depauperate populations of the past decade or so are, I believe, something we created. Things seem to be returning to the former state of abundance and the area is returning to its rightful place as the primary "engine" that drives the Bay of Fundy and northern Gulf of Maine.

Why would anyone threaten this "gift from the Gods" by trying to turn Passamaquoddy Bay into an industrial port for LNG and other heavy industry?

Will we continue to perpetuate our sins?

That's my opinion today.Art MacKay

Photo Credit: Calanus, NOAA

Friday, August 28, 2009

NB EnvironmentalNetwork hasIntern Jobs

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28/08/2009

English follows

---

Le RENB recrute présentement pour trois postes de stage (voir
descriptions ci-jointe):
- Coordonnateur ou coordonnatrice du développement de la Stratégie de
communication
- Coordonnateur ou coordonnatrice de l'engagement environnemental
- Apprentie en réseautage environnementale

Les candidats doivent être âgés entre 15 et 30, actuellement sans
emploi, légalement admissible à travailler au Canada et / ou de la
province du Nouveau-Brunswick et diplômé d'une institution
post-secondaire ou secondaire.

Ces stages sont de fantastiques opportunités de travailler dans le
mouvement environnemental alors n'oubliez pas de passer le mot à tout
votre réseau!

Je vous remercie pour votre aide.

---

The NBEN is presently recruiting for three internship positions (see
documents in attachment):
-       Communications Strategy Development Coordinator
-       Environmental Engagement Coordinator
-       Environmental Networking Apprentice

Applicants must be between the ages of 15 and 30, presently
unemployed, legally eligible to work in Canada and/or the province of
New Brunswick and a graduate from a post-secondary institution or high
school.

These are fantastic opportunities to work in the environmental
movement so be sure to spread the word far and wide!

Thank you for your help.

Patrick Thibeault
Tel: 506.855.4144
_______________________________________
New Brunswick Environmental Network 
Réseau environnemental du Nouveau-Brunswick 
167 Creek Rd, Waterford, NB, E4E 4L7 
Tel: (506) 433-6101 
Fax: (506) 433-6111 
nben@nben.ca
renb@renb.ca 
http://www.nben.ca
http://www.renb.ca 
e-zine: http://www.elements.nb.ca  

Affiliate of / affilié 
Canadian Environmental Network 
Réseau canadien environnemental  
http://www.cen-rce.org
 
PhotoCredit: NB Environmental Network 

Bay of Fundy's Endangered Right Whales Move Inshore at Quoddy - LNG Trump Card?

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Developers who wish to establish LNG Terminals in Passamaquoddy Bay seem to know that the trump card from their opposition might well be the whales that literally plug Head Harbour Passage each summer and the endangered North Atlantic right whales that, later in the season, move into the approaches to Head Harbour Passage.

This year is no exception. As whale watchers have been reporting at ilovequoddywild.blogspot.com, large numbers of finbacks and porpoise are using the passage and approaches daily and 15 to 20 right whales were reported near the entrance by whale watchers yesterday.

Together with Canada's opposition, whales brought down the Pittston Oil Refinery at Eastport many years ago. That will most certainly be the case again as listed species like finbacks, porpoise and right whales frequent this essential habitat and feed a vital Quoddy eco-economy based on tourism, fisheries, aquaculture,education,and research.

Art MacKay

Photo Credit: Danielle Dion, Quoddy Link Marine

Maine announces public information meetings for ocean energy demonstration sites

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August 27, 2009

MEDIA CONTACT:
Mark Robinson, 207-286-1993, markrobinson@maine.rr.com

(Augusta, Maine) The Maine Department of Conservation and the State Planning Office announced this morning that five public information meetings will take place in September to hear from key stakeholders about possible sites to demonstrate new technologies for deepwater, offshore wind energy. The meetings will be held in Ellsworth, Wiscasset, Machias, Wells and Rockport. State legislation passed unanimously in June mandates that the Department of Conservation and the State Planning Office work together to identify between one and five demonstration sites in Maine’s coastal waters. Demonstration sites are places where new technologies can be tested to see how they fare in offshore conditions.
 The Maine Offshore Energy
Demonstration Area Siting Initiative
c/o Maine Geological Survey
22 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0022
Phone: 207-287-2804, Fax: 207-287-2353

The schedule for the public information meetings is:September 9 Ellsworth, Holiday Inn 6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
September 15 Wiscasset, Wiscasset Community Center 6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
September 16 Machias, UMaine Machias Performing Arts Center 6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
September 22 Wells, Wells High School Auditorium 6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
September 29 Rockport, Samoset Resort 6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
 (Web site, Ocean Energy Task Force: http://www.maine.gov/spo/specialprojects/OETF/)

Sierra Club USA urges your participation - THE WHITE HOUSE INTERAGENCY OCEAN POLICY TASK FORCE

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If you live along the Maine coast of the Bay of Fundy, Vivian Newman of Sierra Club USA urges your participation. Please act now.
*************************
Tell the White House and the Governor that they must work together to manage our oceans **comprehensively**, rather than by one human use at a time. This holistic approach is critical for intelligent siting of offshore energy projects that are in the works now, if, that is, we want to protect essential habitat and migration routes for marine life.  It is also high time to designate Marine Protected Areas.

*************************************************

THE WHITE HOUSE INTERAGENCY OCEAN POLICY TASK FORCE REQUESTS PUBLIC COMMENTS
The Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force is requesting input on its activities from interested parties. The Task Force asks that comments focus on any of the five key issues identified in the June 12 Presidential Memorandum: a national ocean policy, a framework for policy coordination, implementation strategies, marine spatial planning, and emerging issues on ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes policy. To read the Presidential Memorandum: http://www.whitehouse.gov/assets/documents/2009ocean_mem_rel.pdf.  To submit comments: http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/initiatives/oceans/.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Border Exercises at Campobello

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In a photo released by the U.S. Coast Guard, a rescue swimmer is lowered from a Canadian air force helicopter down to U.S. Coast Guard Station Eastport, Maine's 41-foot boat during a search and rescue drill off Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Tuesday, August 25. Personnel from U.S. Coast Guard Station Eastport, Maine, and men and women from the Canadian coast guard and air force and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police worked together Aug. 25 and Aug. 26 to respond to several simulated distress calls as part of their annual training together--U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lauren Jorgensen.

See the entire article at: http://www.wqdy.fm/2009_08_01_archive.html#3414400482474447814

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

NGOs Take Note - New Eco-focused Intern Program $$$$

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 Hello,
It is my pleasure to let you know about the launch of a new internship program for youth aged 15-30! Intern placements will be in eco-focused projects with non-profit organizations across Canada.

The YMCA’s Youth Eco Internship Program is a national program, funded by the Government of Canada’s Economic Action Plan, offering 3 to 12 month funded internship placements. Interns will be placed with non-profit organizations and paid through the YMCA of Greater Toronto. Applications to host interns will be accepted online through the website:
english: www.yeip.ca   french: www.pesj.ca 

The website will be launched on August 28th with full program information. All host applications should be filled out on-line through the website. Attached to this email are the application documents for your review, to help you prepare for the questions that will be asked on the website’s application. This is for your reference only ahead of the website being launched, and we ask that all organizations submit through the website once it is available later this week.
-       Sample: Host Application (English and French)
-       Sample: Intern Position Application (English and French)
-       Sample: Host Frequently Asked Questions (English and French)

We encourage you to apply as soon as possible for any positions your organization wishes to host, as we anticipate interest will outweigh the number of internships available. 

If you have any questions you can contact me (information below) or your local regional coordinator for the program:

Saran Jarvie
Atlantic Region
saran_jarvie@ymca.ca
P: (902) 423-4393 
ext. 3 


Yours truly,
Angela de Burger
----
Angela de Burger
Manager, National Programs
Youth Eco Internship Program
YMCA of Greater Toronto
42 Charles Street East
Toronto, ON   M4Y 1T4

Email: angela.deburger@ymcagta.org
Tel: (416) 928-3362   Ext. 2367
Fax: (647) 439-4502
Web: english: www.yeip.ca   french: www.pesj.ca

Bay of Fundy in Top 14 Natural Wonders

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Well we are in the top 14. Vote now and move us up to the very top. There's no time to waste. If you love Quoddy, you love Fundy. Let the world know! I just did!

Art

The third phase of the New7Wonders of Nature is now underway, and you can vote on your choice of seven natural wonders from the selection of 28 Official Finalist Candidates. If you cast your vote during the nominee phases, you can vote again now during this finalist phase.

Could the "Front Fall Off" in the Bay of Fundy?

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This is so good I couldn't resist. Enjoy! Thanks Tim.

*THE FRONT FELL OFF…* On August 19th 2007, an oil tanker off the coast of Australia split in two, dumping 20,000 tons of crude oil. Senator Collins, a member of the Australian Parliament, appeared on a TV news program to reassure the Australian public.




Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Canaport LNG Terminal Receives Fourth Cargo

Posted: August 25, 2009





 
A spokesperson for the Canaport LNG import terminal told Reuters that the terminal's fourth LNG cargo arrived on Monday afternoon. The LNG vessel Bilbao Knutsen delivered the LNG cargo from Trinidad & Tobago


Logo from: http://www.canaportlng.com/resources.php

Monday, August 24, 2009

Quoddy Bay LNG Removed from FERC records

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NEWS ALERT

Contact:
Robert Godfrey
Save Passamaquoddy Bay 3-nation alliance
PO Box 43
Eastport, ME 04631
(207)853-2922 (Old Sow Publishing)
info@SavePassamaquoddyBay.org

LNG Failure: FERC Has Removed Quoddy Bay LNG From Maps of Proposed & Potential LNG Terminals

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) dismissed the Quoddy Bay LNG (QBLNG) project in Passamaquoddy Bay on 2008 October 17, stating that the company would need to re-apply as an entirely new project, with completed application, before it would be considered by FERC. Then, on 2008 November 6, QBLNG withdrew from the State of Maine permitting process. On 2009 Jun 9, the Pleasant Point (Sipayik) Passamaquoddy Tribal Government severed its ground lease agreement with QBLNG, leaving the project with no site.

As a final gesture of project failure, on or prior to July 29, FERC removed QBLNG from its maps of Proposed and Potential LNG Projects in North America.

FERC's North American LNG Terminal Maps:
Potential:
http://www.ferc.gov/industries/lng/indus-act/terminals/lng-potential.pdf

Proposed:
http://www.ferc.gov/industries/lng/indus-act/terminals/lng-proposed.pdf

-----
Save Passamaquoddy Bay (SPB) is an alliance of citizens from the U.S., the Passamaquoddy Tribe, and Canada, who oppose siting LNG industrial facilities in Passamaquoddy Bay, and who advocate adherence to world-recognized LNG terminal siting standards as published by the Society of International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators (SIGTTO). SPB advocates creative-economy, tradition-based, and tourism-based economic development for the international Passamaquoddy Bay area.

###

Bay of Fundy filled with whales and seabirds.

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Two reporters from The Bangor Daily News accompanied the New England Aquarium's Right Whale Field Team for a day in search of whales. Operating each summer out of Lubec, Maine, just across the bridge from Campobello, these researchers keep tabs on these endangered whales that come to the Bay of Fundy each year to feed.

"Where the Whales Are" chronicles a day on the water in search of the Bay of Fundy's endangered right whales. and find whales they do in Grand Manan Basin between Grand Manan and NovaScotia. Here's a short excerpt from the article:

******************
Where the Whales Are
In keeping with a 30-year mission, researchers from the New England Aquarium make their annual trip to Bay of Fundy to track and study endangered North Atlantic species

By Bill Trotter

BDN Staff

The sun had not quite risen Thursday over Campobello as a small group of people clambered onto the 29-foot powerboat Nereid at a dock in the tidal narrows in Lubec. They quietly loaded camera cases, notebooks, electronic equipment, a cooler of food and other items onto the boat as they prepared for a daylong trip out into the Bay of Fundy.

Minutes later, after the crew of six had pushed off from the dock, two members zipped up their coats against the early morning chill and took their positions in the prow of the research vessel to look for marine life as they motored into Canadian waters toward Grand Manan Island. It was too early to know that, over the next 13 hours, they would see an estimated total of 42 right whales lounging and swimming in the bay between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.


...There were plenty of distractions in the bay, but the aquarium staffers stuck to their mission of documenting the presence of right whales. Besides porpoises and several types of sea birds, pods of finback whales could be seen blowing multiple vertical sprays of water droplets in the distance, while even farther away humpbacks were occasionally seen breaching out of the water and then sending large splashes skyward as their bodies fell back down.


Read the entire article here: http://www.bangordailynews.com/detail/117307.html

Photo Credit: New England Aquarium

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Head Harbour Passage and LNG - maybe it's all about something else?


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Why legislate when it could cut off Canada's options for other port expansion on the Canadian side or, more ominously, the planned filling of Head Harbour Passage and Western Passage with multiple, whale-grinding energy turbines ... a much greater threat than an LNG tanker. Or... perhaps both sides want a conflict to be adjudicated in international court? Or are we simply pawns in a bigger game?

Makes one wonder if our politicians are truly interested in the best interests of their Quoddy constituents?

I don't hear much about these upcoming issues from our erstwhile leaders of SPBC LTD.

I know, I know shhh ... you might upset someone or give succour to the enemy. But as Max says, legislation would resolve the issue! The foundation has already been prepared for a Marine Protected Area or a Marine Managed Area. Get on with it!!!  We've been screwing around with this since Pittston ... that's over 40 years!

That's my opinion tonight. Art
******************************************  
MAX WOLFE
COMMENTARY


It's not often in this frosty corner of the globe that you can get the local population to gather for a meeting on a hot, steamy evening in a church. An Anglican Church to boot.

Columnist Max Wolfe argues that Canada can protect its territorial waters on the east coast by regulating ship traffic in Head Harbour Passage.
 
The gothic arches may be an exaltation of the almighty but they don't do much for the sweat stains under your armpits. The baroque festival in Lameque is celebrated in an equally sweltering church at an equally sweltering time of the year - most years, so I guess it can be done. And it is good to see the church providing their facilities for occasions of serious community concern. It keeps them relevant

The occasion this week was the annual general meeting of Save Passamaquoddy Bay Canada, in the Anglican Church in St. Andrews. About 200 people turned out to sit on hard pews and listen. Speakers were well informed and discussion was limited. It was too hot or maybe the converted had been preached to and were more or less satisfied with what they heard. There were no dissenting or even critical voices.

SPBC Ltd. has been fighting to keep liquified natural gas tankers out of Head Harbour Passage and Passamaquoddy Bay for three years now. There were no oratorical flourishes, stirring speeches or explosive applause at the meeting. It was all very professional and low key. The time for fiery oratory passed three years ago when the issue first hit the headlines. Now the group is slogging through the mud of the required political processes working at both the provincial and the federal levels. And the process has been ongoing for so long that SPBC is now educating the next generation of bureaucrats and politicians. They don't tire, and if anyone expects them to fold their tents and slink away into the night, think again.

These people and their supporters from around Passamaquoddy Bay see the threat of tankers in their area as not just an unacceptable challenge to Canadian sovereignty. It is a massive threat to their environment and to their way of life. So why is it that the residents of Washington County, Maine don't see it that way too? Simply because they have been misled into believing that this is a "jobs for Mainers" proposition and they need the jobs. There will, of course, be jobs for Mainers, but not very many.

SPBC has already made significant progress. They have pressured the federal government into stating more than once that Canada will not cooperate with the U.S. regulatory people looking into the matter. It's our turf, we don't negotiate with you or anyone on that. Canada promised to send a diplomatic note to the Americans and has done so. Good for us! In fact, they have done everything but be effective.

As one person aptly pointed out, if we haven't been able to do "enough" to grab the American attention, why would the Americans need to do anything at all? It is hard to argue against that, but on the other hand, the longer it all drags out, the more likely that American investors will move their money somewhere else. Time is on our side, and the longer the process takes the better for us.

The mood of the meeting was one of satisfaction with the work the SPBC was doing, but only of grudging acceptance of the snail-like pace of the negotiations, if negotiations are even in process. The meeting was typically Canadian and didn't even have the gumption to say "I'm mad and I'm not going to put up with this any longer." That is not the Canadian way. To get the American attention we need to explode our own nuclear weapon or elect a fundamentalist Muslim prime minister rather than a fundamentalist Christian one.

The big trouble is that there is never just one issue on the table when dealing with the Americans. There are always half a dozen pots simmering at the same time. There's trade, softwood lumber, border crossings, Cuba, Iraq and a whole host of problems that come from allowing ourselves to be in the American hip pocket, if not attached at the hip.
There is one thing we could do that would show we are serious and that would not involve detonating a nuclear weapon in order to get the Americans to sit up and take note, and that is to legislate.

Head Harbour passage is our internal waters, so no one can stop us from legislating rules for its use. If we were to do that, chances are the Americans might back off altogether. It would certainly give the backers of the various LNG schemes cause to reconsider their investment plans. But we are too timid.

Regrettably, in the face of the Americans we are gutless.

The posturings of the Shawn Grahams and the Greg Thompsons of the world are not going to change that. Our failure to regulate passage through these waters is the measure of our ineffectiveness. Expressions of concern by our governments are not enough. It appears the politicians have to be dragged to action, kicking and screaming. And the problem is in large part ours. We should know by now if we don't push them they won't do anything.
Our governments have been doing a reasonable job so far. We need to push them to finish the job.

Max Wolfe is a freelance writer who resides at St. Andrews.

Original article in TJ: http://telegraphjournal.canadaeast.com/opinion/article/768444

Photo Credit SeaGen turbine: wikipedia.com
 

Friday, August 21, 2009

Is the Bay of Fundy a "Plastic Soup"?

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While we are all worrying about the herring that haven't arrived, here's something to add to your worry list ... a  National Geographic article by Carolyn Barry claims plastic breaks down in the ocean, after all  - and fast - with huge negative impact on ocean life .


August 20, 2009

Though ocean-borne plastic trash has a reputation as an indestructible, immortal environmental villain, scientists announced yesterday that some plastics actually decompose rapidly in the ocean. And, the researchers say, that's not a good thing.


The team's new study is the first to show that degrading plastics are leaching potentially toxic chemicals such as bisphenol A into the seas, possibly threatening ocean animals, and us.

Scientists had previously thought plastics broke down only at very high temperatures and over hundreds of years.

The researchers behind a new study, however, found that plastic breaks down at cooler temperatures than expected, and within a year of the trash hitting the water. 



Read the entire story here: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/08/090820-plastic-decomposes-oceans-seas.html

Herring missing in Bay of Fundy - Down the Toilet?

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Comment: We guess at everything that influences the arrival of "our" fish, including the weather, overfishing, near-shore pollution,  aquaculture, plastic pollution, global warming, radioactivity, or the "whales/seals are eating them". Not many years ago, there used to be weirs from one end of the Bay to the other. Not today! The fact is that we have changed the Bay of Fundy measurably since 1964. We know about many of the things that influence negative changes in fish behaviour. But ... we never do anything about them as we continue to spew crap into our water by river and air and head "down the toilet" as it where.

Have a meeting!!



Art

*********************************
Thursday, August 20, 2009 | 2:28 PM AT
Fishermen are worried that herring weirs in the Bay of Fundy are empty this season. 

Fishermen are worried that herring weirs in the Bay of Fundy are empty this season.

(CBC)Fishermen in Charlotte County are wondering why the Bay of Fundy herring catch is significantly down this season and they're worried about the impact of the lack of fish on the local economy.

During August, the most important month of the year for the herring industry, weirs along the Fundy coast are catching fewer fish.

Tony Hooper, the vice-president of resourcing at the Connors Bros. Ltd., buys fish for the world's largest sardine factory, which is in Blacks Harbour. He said the company will get by this season but says this year's poor catch is worrying.

"I've been here for 33 years and this is only the second year we've had to struggle for fish in August," Hooper said.

"So I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't concerned. I'm very concerned and most of the people in the plant are concerned."

About 400 fishermen rely on the New Brunswick weirs.

No one knows exactly why the herring aren't swimming into nets, but most blame this summer's bleak weather.

Delma Doucette, a captain of the seiner Margaret Elizabeth, has fished herring in the region for decades. He said he thinks the fish are still in the area but they are just swimming too deep to be caught. "We've been at the scientists to find out why the fish are at the bottom nowadays instead of at the surface but nobody's come up with an answer yet," Doucette said.

Read the entire article and the "interesting" comments here: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/new-brunswick/story/2009/08/20/nb-missing-herring-149.html#socialcomments

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Have we placed the Bay of Fundy's Spiny Dogfish on the growing list of endangered species?

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Marine Biologist Awarded $237,000 NOAA Grant To Research Contentious Issue Of Spiny Dogfish Stock  - Underwatertimes.com News Service August 19, 2009 20:46 EST

BIDDEFORD, Maine -- University of New England marine biologist James Sulikowski, Ph.D., has placed himself in the middle of a contentious debate between conservationists and the commericial fishing industry over the health of the spiny dogfish stock.

Sulikowski, assistant professor, Department of Marine Sciences, has been awarded a $237,000 grant from the NOAA Saltonstall-Kennedy Grant Program to use satellite tags to examine the behavior of spiny dogfish in the Northwest Atlantic. The research will try to determine the habitat, depth and movement patterns of the spiny dogfish to better understand the inconsistencies in data collected by federal agencies and the commercial fishing industry.

The status of the spiny dogfish, Squalus acanthias, stock in the northwest Atlantic Ocean has become a volatile issue. Distributed from Labrador to Florida, this species was once considered to be the most abundant shark throughout this geographic range.

However, with the decline of traditional groundfish resources in the last 15 years, an increase in directed fishing for spiny dogfish resulted in a nearly ten-fold increase in U.S. landings from 1987-1996, reducing the stock below survival threshold levels.

The Debate Based on this reported decline, conservation groups are suggesting the species should be protected while commercial fishing interests say that spiny dogfish are abundant in northeastern U.S. waters.

Read the entire article here: http://www.underwatertimes.com/news.php?article_id=35269804107


Photo Credit: wikipedia.com

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Will Billy Visit Bay of Fundy?

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 NASA satellite image shows Billy and Ana (upper right) as they introduce our fall hurricane season.

Face it, in spite of all the damage and difficulties these entities cause, they still fascinate all of us. Will Billy reach the Bay of Fundy? We'll know by Sunday.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

US Coast Guard and Canadian Coast Guard - Bottom of the pecking order?

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Will US Coast Guard go the way of the Canadian Coast Guard? And what will this mean at our contentious Quoddy border?

************************************

Heavy Weather Ahead for the Coast Guard

By Captain Jim Howe, U.S. Coast Guard (Retired) and Lieutenant Jim Dolbow, U.S. Coast Guard Reserve

Competing priorities and shrinking budgets threaten to swamp the service.

The U.S. Coast Guard faces a stark and troubled future. If our nation's fifth and smallest military service was a cutter it would be listing severely, crippled by decades of undercapitalization, a lack of political support, an overwhelming workload, and the five words most feared by any Guardian: "the curse of can-do." In the face of an impending budget meltdown, the Coast Guard must confront severe challenges that threaten its performance and long-term viability, as it comports with the realities of the post-9/11 environment. Will it remain the world's best Coast Guard or will it proceed down the path of Britain's Royal Navy, becoming a shadow of its former self?
Just A Mirage

When viewed through the lens of the pre-9/11 era, the Coast Guard appears strong. It has grown to its largest size since World War II, embarked on a sweeping recapitalization of its cutters and aircraft, landed a central role in a newly created department, and undertaken a massive realignment of its command-and-control architecture. By any measure the Coast Guard is a far more robust, capable, technologically advanced, and nimble service than it was at the end of the 1990s.

But this appearance of strength is nothing more than a mirage.

See the entire article here: http://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/story.asp?STORY_ID=1979

Thanks Vivian!

Covered bridges, lighthouses and sights abound along Fundy Coastal Drive

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RIVERSIDE, N.B. — The sign at the entrance to the weatherbeaten structure along Highway 114 south of Moncton hearkens back to a simpler time.

"Walk Your Horse and Save a Fine."

Constructed in 1905, the Sawmill Creek covered bridge is no longer in use but is one of the oldest among an abundance of covered bridges along the Fundy Coastal Drive, which eventually leads the traveller down to Fundy National Park.

There are 64 covered bridges in New Brunswick - 28 in Kings County alone. They're so popular that they have spawned the annual Covered Bridge Festival to celebrate "Canada's Covered Bridge Capital," Kings County, each July.

If the city of Moncton is your starting point, then the Fundy Coastal Drive is an excellent day trip - dozens of picturesque villages, picnic and hiking areas and, of course, the covered bridges.
"Why are they covered? It's just because back when there was horse and carriages - they had to be covered because when there is snow and rain the wood can deteriorate," explained Keltie Ryan, the supervisor at the Covered Bridge Visitor Information Centre in Kings County.

"However they would put snow on the bridges so horse and sleighs could be used," she added.
About 200 visitors a day drop into the information centre, including many who were fans of the 1995 movie "The Bridges of Madison County," starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep.
"A lot of people come around looking for covered bridges - it's almost like the lighthouse fad where people come and see how they are still being used today," Ryan said.

The most obvious attraction for the 2.6 million annual visitors, though, is the world-famous Bay of Fundy, which records the highest tides in the world.

Read the entire article here: http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5gYAqwGPdRV6spgDj45LyntUyd7EA


Picture Credit: Canadian Press

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Maine Energy Transmission Commission unlikely to try countering Canada's Head Harbour Passage stand

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http://nbbusinessjournal.canadaeast.com/front/article/761497

Commission refraining from international treaties
Published Saturday August 15th, 2009
Report Issue of tanker traffic through Passamaquoddy Bay waters isn't for
Maine's new energy transmission group, members say

John Pollack
Telegraph-Journal

One of the key issues that led to a Maine energy transmission commission
forming won't likely be considered by the bi-partisan legislative group.

The recently formed Maine Energy Infrastructure Commission will set out the
blueprints for regulating energy transmission in the state, but doesn't plan
use the opportunity to gain leverage in the ongoing contentious debate over
LNG tanker traffic through Canadian waters, says Senator Barry Hobbins
(D-Saco), who is the commission co-chairman.

"Our commission isn't going to be getting into international treaties,"
Hobbins says.

Commission member and Representative Stacey Allen Fitts (R-Pittsfield)
agrees the issue isn't for the commission to resolve.

"It's pretty difficult for us to put a barrier on Canadian power coming
through Maine as a trade-off for backing down from LNG," he says. "I think
the economics should determine that decision and not the politics."

After partners Irving Oil Ltd., New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham, and
Maine Gov. John Baldacci in March announced their intentions to build an
energy corridor from New Brunswick through Maine to other New England
Markets, many state residents questioned the governor's enthusiasm for a
project they see as benefiting only New Brunswick.

The issue of tanker traffic through the Passamaquoddy Bay waters, which is
key to the state's development of liquefied natural gas facilities,
re-emerged as one of the hot issues that pushed legislators to put a halt to
transmission projects until they could be regulated.

Bill 1485 was passed in June, which prevented final building permits from
being issued and formed the commission.

Hobbins and company will file a report by Dec. 2 that legislatures will use
to pass a law governing transmission projects. The law is expected to be in
place by next July, at which point the building ban would be lifted. The
commission will begin to meet bi-weekly after Labour Day.

While neither Hobbins nor Fitts would speculate on what the regulations on
energy corridors might be, both highlighted the role of renewable energy,
leasing agreements, and the effects projects could have on power rates as
key issues the commission will look at.

The cost of energy is one of the top concerns for Keith Van Scotter, one of
the private sector members of the commission.

"Maine can not continue to have the exceedingly high electricity costs that
it has had. It is anti-competitive," said Van Scotter, the chief executive
of Lincon Paper and Tissue LLC, which owns a pulp mill and paper-making
operation. "We pay roughly double what industries in New Brunswick do."

The commission will study how much transmission will be needed so that too
much isn't built, which could drive up transmission and distribution costs
for users.

"Is it in the state's interest to try to encourage developers to work
together to minimize footprint on the land, and to be more efficient in the
use of any corridor?" says Karin Tilberg, Baldacci's senior energy policy
adviser and a member of the commission.

But Fitts isn't a big fan of regulation.

"The markets are going to establish what actually gets build," he says. "We
can surely put obstructions in the way for the market and that's something
we should be avoiding."

He is concerned with working out a beneficial leasing policy.

More ...

Photo Credit: wikipedia.com

 

More Tensions at the Calais - St. Stephen Border

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Ordeal at the border
Blueberry rakers — Micmacs from New Brunswick — complain about aggressive stops by U.S. Customs. Was it racial profiling?

By Sharon Kiley Mack
BDN Staff
TOWNSHIP 25, Maine — Hundreds of blueberry rakers traveling from Canada into Maine at the Calais border crossing during the past week were stopped, searched and questioned by U.S. Customs officials, something many said hasn’t happened to them in more than 40 years.
The rakers on their way to Maine’s blueberry fields were Micmacs, one of the First Nations groups of aboriginal peoples of northeastern Canada. Many said this week they believe they were stopped because they are Micmacs.

At the blueberry-harvesting areas north of Columbia Falls on Tuesday, many said their vehicles were searched by customs officials and dogs and that their paperwork was scrutinized. They carry First Nations status cards that serve as identification. The cards should enable them to cross the border under recently implemented Department of Homeland Security regulations.
Some of the Micmacs said they were held up for as long as three hours. Many reported that border agents frightened them with an aggressive attitude.

Read the entire article here: http://www.bangordailynews.com/detail/116094.html

LNG's Dean Girdis calls New Brunswick Premier Graham "Hypocritical"

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Dean Girdis, from http://telegraphjournal.canadaeast.com/city/article/691294

In case you missed it, the following quote from Downeast LNG promotor Dean Girdis appeared in an article in The Working Waterfront recently.

In a related development, New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham also filed a statement with FERC on July 6. It stated, "This [FERC EIS] report indicates that our environment would be negatively affected, our tourism and environmental-based economy would suffer, and the safety and security of the region could be compromised by this proposal."

He added, "We've engaged all government departments for a comprehensive review of those concerns whether they be public safety, or if we have the resources in place if there is an accident on the Canadian side of the border."

Downeast President Dean Girdis called Graham's statement "purely political" and "hypocritical, with little factual evidence to back any of it up."

It seems Girdis can insult anyone he wishes since he draws on such a huge understanding about the Quoddy ecosystem and those of us and our relatives who have helped maintain and develop this place for centuries.The stance of local, provincial, and federal governments in Canada and our leaders, is exactly correct and reflects the longstanding position here in Quoddy that we do value our "backyard" and will protect the abundant natural assets that support our multimillion dollar sustainable economy and that, not incidentally, make this a special place on the globe. We do not and will not accept unsuitable development along our shores that endangers this special place. We will protect it to the full power of our little "NIMBY" hearts!

Dean Girdis, the pompous Yankee Carpetbagger from Downeast LNG, and his colleagues at Quoddy Bay LNG and Calais LNG are starting to wear thin over here in Canada. Everyone knows that we are a friendly peoples who are slow to anger. Well, "duh", we even loaned Calais some gun powder for their 4th of July celebrations during the War of 1812! 

But, let's face it, if you awakened one morning, as the residents of St. Stephen did, to see a crude "F___ St. Stephen" scrawled along a retaining wall on the Calais waterfront,  followed by a string of insulting and inflammatory remarks and acts from LNG supporters on the Maine side, you too might begin to get the message and wonder about your long-time friends and relatives in Washington County.

 
Wall to the left was used for the insulting graffiti.
Photo from: http://www.mainenewbrunswick.com/gallery/album06

In fact it is now so bad that many of us no longer feel welcome in the "other half of our turf" and many, many folks are no longer shopping or vacationing in Maine. Certainly the line ups are virtually gone in St. Stephen. Why would we bother when we are treated like some alien threat by our paranoid neighbours who, with us, once made up a vibrant, unusual and successful community of Canadians and Americans? Now we hear a Maine senator advocating force to prop up LNG tanker passage through Head Harbour Passage!

There is nothing friendly about Maine anymore folks. Osama is winning the war and Girdis, Smith, Emery and the others are ramping up the tension within our international community.

I thought that Pittston was a sad battle. It was nothing compared to this LNG fiasco. It is time for everyone to remember that Canada is a sovereign country and that it has and will continue to protect the interests of its people at all levels of government. Politicians disregard the citizens at their own peril. We now expect them to move to the next level and protect the Quoddy Area under law!

Dean Girdis, I congratulate you. You have done the nearly impossible. You have really pissed off a large number of folks who are typically cooperative by nature. You have started a sad "war" that pits community against community, friends against friends, and family against family. You have forced us to the next level and we will be ramping up the battle.

Remember:

When peace is possible seek it. When war is inevitable fight! (AM)


That's my opinion today. Art

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Come see South Maitland!

novanewsnow.com

Art MacKay sent you the following article

Seems like a good example for other communities around the Bayof Fundy area.

Art
Come

Come see South Maitland!

Article online since August 12th 2009
By Christy Marsters The Fundy Tidal Interpretive Centre hosted a flood of visitors during the month of July, as hundreds flowed to the facility during an open house July 26. Manager Anita Benedict said the open house was held to honour the many volunteers and supporters who helped develop......


@ All rights reserved Media Transcontinental
www.novanewsnow.com

Monday, August 10, 2009

Is new Fundy highway the wrong step?

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Published in Telegraph Journal LETTERS, Saturday August 8th, 2009

 
As provinces and states across North America take steps to protect unique and sensitive eco regions, New Brunswick has decided to destroy and deface the last remaining stretch of wilderness coastline between Mexico and Nfld. with the construction of the Fundy Trail.
The region commonly known as 'shore country' has been enjoyed by generations of NBers whether hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, ATVing or snowmobiling; none needing a $40 million highway to do so.

The Fundy footpath is also losing its attractiveness to hikers. Construction is being carried out within feet of the path. The footpath is a low-impact and fiscally responsible way to promote tourism between St. Martins and Alma.

There is little doubt that the status quo is not working for the region. An absurd amount of clear cutting and lack of protected land threaten this unique landscape. Standing on the beautiful remote beaches and watching bulldozers and excavators at work would be disheartening for most people.

The government has been very secretive about their plans for the land in shore country. Will the coast be closed to those who do not wish to pay to support their trail? Will recreation activities continue around the highway? Will the area be given more protection?
There are many unanswered questions.

As an outdoorsman who has a true love for shore country, I am deeply concerned for its future. I am convinced the Fundy Trail will be viewed as a mistake in the years to come.

PETER DEMERCHANT
Sussex

Photo credit: wikipedia.com

Gem of a show coming to Parrsboro

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By MARY ELLEN MacINTYRE Truro Bureau
Sat. Aug 8 - 4:46 AM


Nova Scotia gemstones have been attracting the attention of vistors for hundreds of years.( Fotolia)

The Bay of Fundy’s exquisite violet and purple amethyst caught the eye of explorer Pierre du Gua, Sieur de Monts over 400 years ago.
The founder of Canada’s first permanent settlement at Port Royal and the man responsible for colonizing Acadia took a large chunk of the gemstone back to France.
The wily Sieur de Monts knew very well which side of his bread contained the butter.
A Parisian jeweller snipped the rock into glittering jewels and the gifts were presented to King Henry IV. Sieur de Monts thereby ensured his bread stayed buttered and he retained the lucrative fur trade monopoly in the new world.
"We know for sure the amethyst came from the Minas Basin, but there is some discussion about exactly which community can lay claim to it," laughed Carol Corbett, education co-ordinator for Fundy Geological Museum.
It’s not known what became of the gifts Sieur de Monts gave the king. The French Revolution not only rid the country of its monarchy, but more than a few of the royal family’s jewels disappeared.
"People still love to get amethyst jewelry and they love to look at the collection in this museum," said Ms. Corbett.
The museum is preparing for the 44th annual Nova Scotia Gem and Mineral Show coming up at the Parrsboro Lions Arena from Aug 14-16.

Read entire article here: http://thechronicleherald.ca/NovaScotia/1136542.html

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Bayof fundy LNG Will Help Plug Natural Gas Supply Gap for Northeast Market During Sable Island Outage


Posted LNG Law Blog: August 4, 2009
http://www.lnglawblog.com/BlogEntry.aspx?_entry=11da2a56-897f-4b5a-a90f-0fbb714ff61e

Energy industry consultant Tom Woods told Platts LNG Daily [subscription required] that he expects LNG imports, particularly from the Canaport LNG import terminal, will help plug the natural gas supply gap in the U.S. Northeast during the planned outage of the Sable Island gas field beginning later this month. Woods believes that existing storage inventories will make up some of the supply shortfall and that additional LNG cargos could supply the rest of the region's natural gas requirements.

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Photo Credit: http://www.necbc.org

A lesson for the Bay of Fundy? Sound impacts endangered western gray whale in Russia

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According to an article by the World Wildlife Fund, noise and seismic activity are threatening the remaining endangered Western gray whales. There are only about 130 Western gray whales remaining, including just 25 breeding females according to the WWF. These whales feed only in the summer and autumn, and their primary feeding area lies in and adjacent to Exxon’s Sakhalin-1 project in the Piltun Bay area of Salkhalin Island.

Wikipedia.com describes a second project, Sakhalin II, that has come under fire from environmental groups for dumping dredging material in Aniva Bay. The consortium has re-routed the pipeline to avoid the whale migration which doubled the projected cost, resulting in the Russian government threatened to halt the project for environmental reasons. There have been suggestions that the Russian government is using the environmental issues as a pretext for obtaining a greater share of revenues from the project and/or forcing involvement by the state-controlled Gazprom.

The impact of sound appears to be clear as related to these projects. What will this mean to endangered and threatened right whales, finbacks, and harbour porpoise in Head Harbour Passage and the Bay of Fundy in general?

Get the entire picture at:
http://www.panda.org/wwf_news/?171481/Exxon-ignores-calls-from-50-000-people-to-stop-threatening-rare-whales
and
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sakhalin_Island

Photo Credit: Wikipedia.com

New Brunswick sea lice pesticide treatment generates opposition

 by Larry Lack. See the entire article at The Working Waterfront

Controversy about deltamethrin and the way the fish will be dosed with it in this summer's experiment heated up shortly after June 8 when Cooke Aquaculture (which owns the most of the cage sites that will be treated with the insecticide) announced that it has received "Certified Quality Salmon Eco-Certification" from Seafood Trust for the salmon that its True North marketing division sells in Canada. Seafood Trust uses International Food Quality Certification (IFQC) standards to assess companies that apply for its certification.

Environmentalists, consumers and fishermen have raised questions about how Cooke's salmon can meet IFQC's key standard which requires "maintenance of a pristine quality marine environment" if its salmon and the bays in which they are raised are dosed with deltamethrin.

Dale Mitchell of Deer Island fishes lobster and scallops, operates herring weirs and serves on the board of directors of the Fundy North Fisherman's Association as well as that of the Fundy Weir Fishermen Association. "A lot of us who fish," Mitchell says, "just don't think the aquaculture industry should be using these chemicals in the water where we're fishing. We don't necessarily believe they're safe, and even if they are, we don't think the aquaculture people can be trusted to use them safely."

Reid Brown of Deer Island, who also serves on the Fundy Weir Fishermen Association board, says he is "very concerned about this experiment. We can't understand why they have to do this in so many cages. Well, we do, really - it's because they have the lice getting out of control in those cages, but they don't want people to know too much about that."

Dr. Vladimir Zitko, a chemist and former head of toxicology at the Fisheries and Oceans Canada biological station in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, now retired, is concerned about the planned release of deltamethrin into marine waters. "Deltamethrin is a very toxic insecticide," Zitko says, "very similar to cypermethrin, the chemical that killed the lobsters in Back Bay in 1996. It's extremely toxic to aquatic animals and I'd be very hesitant to use it this way in the ocean. It's strongly acid and I think it should at least be treated with something alkaline to help neutralize it and then disposed of in a toxic waste facility."

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Photo Credit: NWNature.net