Informed Digest: Ocean Protection, Conflict of Interest, Neonicotinoids

Keeping up & in the know…

Canadian Parks & Wilderness Society: UNESCO World Heritage Committee Calls for Buffer Zone for Gros Morne—CPAWS Encourages Action

“Last June the World Heritage Committee expressed serious concern about proposed oil drilling and fracking activities adjacent to Gros Morne National Park, and indicated it would be monitoring the issue closely.

Gros Morne, in Newfoundland and Labrador, was designated a World Heritage Site in 1987 because of its exceptional natural scenic beauty and geological features. Petroleum development or other industrialization of the coastline would jeopardize the natural beauty and ecosystems of this spectacular national park, as well as the sustainable tourism economy that relies on the natural beauty of Gros Morne and surrounding area.

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Buffer zones around World Heritage Sites are not a new idea. In fact, it is now general practice for new World Heritage Sites to be established with buffer zones around them. Gros Morne was designated in 1987, before this concept was part of World Heritage policy and practice.”

Sierra Club Canada: Pesticides Greater Threat Than Previously Admitted

“The findings of the Worldwide Integrated Assessment (WIA) undertaken by the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides make it absolutely clear neonicotinoid pesticides must be banned by the Health Canada. The study reviewed some 800 scientific papers and concluded that the impacts of neonicotinoid pesticides go far beyond honey bees: butterflies, birds and amphibians are all threatened.”

Canadian Parks & Wilderness Society: Canada Needs to Dive Deep to Reach 2020 Ocean Protection Goals

“Out of the 10 countries with the largest ocean estates, Canada ranks the lowest in terms of marine protected areas. At just over 1% of its ocean territory protected, Canada ranks lower than China at 2%, and much lower than Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom, which have protected 36%, 30%, and 17% of their ocean respectively.

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Economically, large networks of marine protected areas will be essential for Canada to sustain our fisheries into the future. These networks are also important for coastal communities who rely on eco-tourism activities such as whale-watching, kayaking, and diving to diversify their economies.”

CBC: Marine Areas Better Protected by China than Canada, Report Finds

“The report says the federal government has taken some positive steps, including the recent announcement of a National Conservation Plan that includes funding of $37 million over five years.

But [the report’s author, Sabine] Jessen says that’s how much money is needed every year, if Canada hopes to meet its target.”

-Susan Lunn

Globe & Mail: Canada Lags in Protecting Oceans

“Repeated federal governments have set targets and deadlines going back to 1992 for the establishment of the areas that shelter and nurture marine life. All of them have failed.

Now Canada has again promised that marine protected areas will cover 10% of our oceans by 2020.

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While the international trend has been to create very large marine protected areas of more than 100,000 square kilometres, the largest MPA in Canada—the one in Lancaster Sound in Nunavut—covers 48,000 square kilometres.

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Protecting marine ecosystems is also imperative for the long-term survival of humanity, said Ms. Jessen. Half of the world’s oxygen is produced in the ocean. The ocean regulates the temperature of the planet and provides an important part of the food supply.”

-Gloria Galloway

Sierra Club Canada: Conflict of Interest Investigation Required

“Sierra Club Canada Foundation has asked the Ethics Commissioner to examine the ruling under the Conflict of Interest Act with regard to Ted Menzies’ work with CropLife Canada.

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CropLife is in the midst of a major lobbying and public relations campaign to prevent Canada from adopting a ban on bee killing neonicotinoid pesticides.

Shortly after Mr. Menzies announced he was resigning his seat in Parliament, Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) announced it was extending consultation on neonicotinoids for at least two more years.

In February, despite conceding that neonicotinoids are unsustainable because they kill bees the PMRA allowed Syngenta’s Cruiser 5FS Seed to be used on farms, allowing growers to apply the Group 4 seed treatment to wheat, barley, rye, triticale, buckwheat, millet, dry peas, chickpeas, lentils, lupins, and fava bean seed, thereby expanding the use of neonicotinoids.”

Canadian Parks & Wilderness Society: First Thoughts on the National Conservation Plan

“There are still many new National Parks to be created in order for us to complete our system of National Parks… And Parks Canada’s capacity to track the state of our park ecosystems was severely cut in the 2012 federal budget , so much so that the federal Environment Commissioner questioned how the Agency would be able to fulfil its mandate to protect the ecological integrity of our national parks. […] A national conservation plan that ignores our national parks has an enormous gap.

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Let us not forget that restoration is far more expensive than if we had just kept the ecosystem intact to begin with.

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We need to make sure that our protected areas are not isolated islands of nature—we have learned from experience that parks and protected areas need to be connected together so wildlife can move through the landscape or else they will lose the biodiversity we seek to protect.”

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