McNeil’s opposition to MPAs prioritizes oil and gas
When Premier Stephen McNeil voices opposition to marine protected areas he talks as if he is acting out of concern for the lobster fishery, but, in fact, it’s just the opposite.
I would have real concerns about new marine protected areas if they meant no-take zones. I have spoken with the leading environmental voices on marine protected areas, and none of them are advocating for no-take zones on the Eastern Shore, where an MPA is in the planning and consultation process. They recognize that done right, the inshore fishery is a vital part of a renewable ocean economy for Nova Scotia.
The recently released Final Report of the National Advisory Panel on Marine Protected Area Standards confirms Ottawa is also not concerned about lobster fishing. Rather, Ottawa shares the concerns of lobster fishers about heavy industrial activities, like oil and gas drilling.
McNeil and his government are really sticking up for oil and gas companies, not fishers. They’ve shown again and again they prioritize oil exploration over our fishing industry. The Liberals allowed BP to drill offshore without having a capping stack on hand, which is the equipment necessary to mitigate the risks of a spill. And McNeil has argued oil and gas drilling should be allowed even in places where fishing is not.
Anytime anyone questions McNeil about his support for the fishery he puffs up and talks about his trips to China – but we all know all those trips to China won’t be worth much if even a single serious oil spill occurs.
MPAs will help, not harm, our lobster fishery. Properly designed MPAs will protect inshore coastal fisheries by limiting heavy industrial activities that pose risks to the fishery, and will create conditions for a healthy marine ecosystem – and low-impact fishery – for generations to come.
NDP Spokesperson for Fisheries and Aquaculture,
MLA for Halifax Needham