Seismic Surveys Disrupt Newfoundland Fishery, FFAW says

June 8, 2012, 2:35 PM EST

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FFAW/CAW President Earle McCurdy is calling on the Canada Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board to immediately revoke the permit of a seismic prospecting company which conducted seismic surveys on prime fishing grounds in clear violation of the schedule they were supposed to follow.

"We've had enough of it," McCurdy said June 8 in a release. "This is the second year in a row that seismic companies have interfered with our fishery."

The prospecting company MIK proposed to CNLOPB, the regulatory agency for the Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Area, a seismic survey covering a massive area of ocean off the northeast coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. They were supposed to avoid conflict with the fishery in Newfoundland by delaying the survey in key fishing areas until the bulk of the fishery is over.

"Obviously these prospectors have to be brought under control, and it's CNLOPB's job to do it," McCurdy said. "I think there has to be a major rethink of this whole prospecting business. These companies come in on spec, with no regard for the impact on an industry that's been around for 500 years, then try to peddle the results to oil companies."

Last year, shrimp catch rates dropped off considerably in the immediate wake of seismic activity nearby. The FFAW/CAW has received complaints from shrimp captains that the same thing happened this week in the immediate aftermath of seismic blasting.

"What's the point of public consultations if these companies can change their plans unilaterally?" McCurdy asked.

The CAW/FFAW is urgently requesting a meeting with CNLOPB, MIK, Provincial Fisheries, One Ocean and oil industry representatives to deal with the matter.

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