via National Geographic:

Photographer David Doubilet was on assignment for National Geographic photographing wildlife in Canada’s Gulf of St. Lawrence when he photographed this colorful and exotic-looking lion’s mane jellyfish in Bonne Bay. The beauty of this creature drifting in the crystal-clear waters underscores what there is to lose as years of overfishing, warming waters, and possible offshore drilling cause concern for the health of the gulf’s ecosystem.

St. Lawrence Coalition Condemns Québec's Push for Oil and Gas Development in the Gulf of St. Lawrence

Québec minister of Energy and Natural Resources, M. Pierre Arcand, as well as minister of Sustainable Development and Environment, M. David Heurtel, have unveiled today Québec’s comprehensive Action Plan on oil and gas. Among other things, this plan aims to continue procedures to open Québec’s part of the Gulf of St. Lawrence to oil exploration. The

St. Lawrence Coalition condemns this favorable bias and this supposed urgency that neglects the fragility of the Gulf as well as the fears of Gulf-wide coastal communities directly concerned.

On one hand, the moratorium on Québec’s part of the Gulf will be maintained for a while but no indication is given as to the modalities of its eventual lifting. Will it be lifted as soon as Fall 2014 when Québec tables its mirror-Act on offshore oil and gas? Will a real public consultation (BAPE) on this major issue be held before lifting the Québec moratorium? Will the concerns of coastal communities be heard?

The Québec government wants to initiate legislative procedures by tabling as soon as Fall 2014 its mirror-Act on offshore oil and gas. It must be understood that this Act has to be modeled on a similar Act
tabled simultaneously by the federal government in Ottawa. We hope that Quebec will incorporate in that Act the promised « highest standards » without compromising with the constantly undermined
federal standards :
• Absolute liability of oil companies should be unlimited, as is the case in Norway or Denmark, and not capped at $1 billion with a ministerial discretion to lower it as proposed by the Harper government;
• All exploratory drilling as well as all seismic surveys should be submitted to environmental assessments, and not only the first drilling as is now required by the Harper government;
• The current veto of oil companies on environmental and security information, required by the Harper government, should be rejected by Québec in favor of total transparency;
• Québec should request independent observers on offshore platforms contrary to federal norm;
• The Québec-Newfoundland border issue should be settled before any offshore drilling.

The Québec Action Plans affirms that Newfoundland is on the verge of drilling at Old Harry and that Québec could have all the risks without any of the benefits. It is important to mention that the Old Harry drilling project is still under environmental assessment and Newfoundland is far from having authorized the project.

In addition, the Québec Action Plan only sees the Gulf of St. Lawrence from a Québec perspective. Yet, five provinces share the Gulf of St. Lawrence and any oil exploration, by Québec or any other province, would put its neighbours at risk without them gaining any economic benefit. This interdependency requires openness and dialogue between all Gulf provinces. Québec occupies over 56% of the Gulf surface and the St. Lawrence Coalition strongly encourages the Québec government to assume leadership with its neighbours concerning the management of this unique ecosystem : 

• The five Gulf provinces should agree on a Gulf-wide moratorium on oil and gas exploration and development;
• The five provinces should put in place, with the federal governement, and independent public review to address the offshore oil issue in the totality of the Gulf.

« The Gulf of St. Lawrence is a unique ecosystem of great fragility, shared by five coastal provinces. As a first step, any lifting of the Québec moratorium should be submitted to a public consultation (BAPE). In addition, Québec should assume leadership in the Gulf and work with its neighbour coastal provinces to implement a Gulf-wide moratorium on oil and gas activities as well as holding a Gulf-wide independent public review » concludes Sylvain Archambault, spokesperson for the St. Lawrence Coalition.

Sea Ice in the Gulf of St. Lawrence

Every year, Arctic sea ice shrinks and grows, reaching its minimum in September and its maximum in February or March. As sea ice nears its maximum, it often begins to form in Canada’s Gulf of St. Lawrence. That’s likely what was happening when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired this natural-color image on February 11, 2013.

The Earth System Research Lab of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that surface air temperatures in the region were well below freezing from February 5–12, 2013, although not unusually low for this time of year. Slightly below-normal temperatures prevailed from Nova Scotia northward past Île d’Anticosti, and eastward to the northern tip of Newfoundland—the same areas where sea ice appears in this image.

Young sea ice is typically thin enough to be easily moved by winds and currents, and such ice often takes on serpentine shapes. Delicate swirls of ice are especially noticeable in this image south of Île d’Anticosti. Closer to Prince Edward Island, the ice appears thicker, likely forming in the area thanks to frigid northerly winds. Sea ice is also visible off Newfoundland, but it may have formed to the north and drifted southward along the Labrador coast.

Gaspe Peninsula, Anticosti Island (NASA, International Space Station Science, 09/07/10) by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
This high-oblique view of the Gaspe Peninsula and Anticosti Island with sun glint on the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Chaleur Bay, Canada, was photographed by an Expedition 24 crew member on the International Space Station.

Image credit: NASA

Published on Feb 3, 2015

Public Forum on The Gulf of St. Lawrence, Oil and Fracking
Grenfell Campus Memorial University,
Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador
February 1st 2015,


Irené Novaczek, PhD, Marine Ecologist, Adjunct Professor of Island Studies, University of Prince Edward Island.

Chief Mi'sel Joe, Miawpukek Mi'kamawey Mawi'omi - Conne River Mi’kmaq Tribal Nation.

Dr Michael Bradfield, Economist and member of the Nova Scotia Independent Review of Hydraulic Fracturing.

Claire St. Croix

Forum organized and hosted by representatives of the Social Justice Co-operative and Newfoundland and Labrador representatives of the Save our Seas and Shores organization as well as other supportive individuals in the community.

Whale Watching: From Blues to Beluga - pick you cruise in the Upper Gulf of St. Lawrence, Quebec.

Whale Watching: From Blues to Beluga – pick you cruise in the Upper Gulf of St. Lawrence, Quebec.

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Legislation on oil exploration in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, The St. Lawrence Coalition denounces this new step towards an oil state


Legislation on oil exploration in the Gulf of St. Lawrence

The St. Lawrence Coalition denounces this new step towards an oil state

Montreal, 14 October 2014 – Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced today in Sept-Îles that negotiations with the Quebec government on joint management of oil resources in the Gulf of St. Lawrence shows significant progress. After more than three years of negotiations for the content of the mirror laws that would oversee exploration and exploitation of oil in the Gulf, both levels of government intend on filing bills in the coming months. These bills will open wide the door to oil exploration in the Quebec portion of the Gulf that is currently still under moratorium.

The St. Lawrence Coalition is deeply concerned about the implications of such legislations, which clearly seeks to blow the final obstacles to offshore drilling in the Gulf. Moreover, this announcement comes as oil projects are increasing in Quebec, such as in Anticosti, Gaspésie, or with pipeline and oil port projects, or even with hydraulic fracturing projects in the Valley of the St. Lawrence.

The St. Lawrence Coalition regrets that the Government of Quebec is considering filing its own mirror law while the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) on the oil file in Quebec will report its findings at the end of 2015. “By announcing their intention to pass mirror law legislation in the very short term, Quebec and Ottawa are presuming the results of the SEA launched by Quebec” says Jean-Patrick Toussaint, science project manager at the David Suzuki Foundation. “The two governments are putting the cart before the horse, which contributes to discredit the environmental assessment process that Quebecers are invited to be part of” concluded Mr. Toussaint.

The mirror law that will eventually be filed by the Quebec government will necessarily model that of the federal government, whose filing was announced today by Prime Minister Harper. The St. Lawrence

Coalition has long advocated that Quebec should include in its own bill the “highest standards” without complying with federal standards that have constantly been lowered over the past years. It is important that Quebec does not abdicate its environmental responsibilities in favor of Ottawa.

“The Gulf of St. Lawrence is a unique ecosystem, very fragile, shared by five coastal Provinces. Instead of paving the way for oil exploration, Quebec should take a leadership role in the Gulf and work with other coastal Provinces in the establishment of a general moratorium on oil activities for the entire Gulf, as well as holding an extensive public review on the matter” said Sylvain Archambault, spokesperson for the St. Lawrence Coalition.

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Formation of a National Coalition for the Protection of the Gulf of St. Lawrence a Huge Step in United Effort

The Innu, Maliseet and Mi'gmaq Nations of Quebec have announced the formation of a National Coalition for the protection of the Gulf of St. Lawrence against the risks of oil and gas exploration.
The St. Lawrence Coalition is pleased to see the First Nations directly concerned by the Gulf of St. Lawrence form this Aboriginal Coalition. “The Innu, Maliseet and Mi'gmaq have a privileged and fundamental link to the Gulf of St. Lawrence and they will now be able to speak with a strong common voice to claim its protection against, among others, offshore oil exploration.” according to Sylvain Archambault, spokesperson for the St. Lawrence Coalition.
The St. Lawrence Coalition gives all its support to this new National Coalition of Innu, Maliseet and Mi'gmaq Nations and it wishes it a long life.

Official press release can be found at:

Text of the Innu, Maliseet and Mi'gmaq Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) can be seen and downloaded from: