Embroiled: Salmon, tankers and the Enbridge Northern Gateway Proposal

Report: Northern Gateway not worth the risk to BC’s wild salmon


Download whole report:  EMBROILED: Salmon, tankers and Enbridge’s NGP PDF

Download Executive Summary Embroiled: Exec Summary PDF

A new report by the Raincoast Conservation Foundation says the consequences to salmon from Northern Gateway’s proposed oil tankers and Kitimat oil terminal are not worth taking. The report, Embroiled: Salmon, Tankers and the Enbridge Northern Gateway Proposal, explores the connections between the oil industry’s proposed activities and how those activities can adversely affect salmon. A recommendation is looming any day now on the Enbridge Northern Gateway proposal by the federal Joint Review Panel (JRP).

“Much of what we know about the adverse effects of marine oil spills on salmon comes from the Exxon Valdez oil spill and the two decades of research that followed it. There are many pathways and exposure routes for oil to reach young salmon – the most vulnerable life stage,” said lead author and Raincoast fisheries ecologist Misty MacDuffee. “Importantly, these risks are not just from a large oil spill, they are from the industrial activities that accompany oil tankers and degrade essential salmon habitat.”

The report examined the risk from the Northern Gateway marine component only; it did not examine pipeline spill risks, which are additional to these findings.

“More than 5,000 spawning populations of wild salmon come from the watersheds that surround the tanker routes between Kitimat estuary and Haida Gwaii. These salmon are grouped into 250 irreplaceable biological units,” said Raincoast biologist and report co-author Andy Rosenberger.

“They represent 58% of the Pacific salmon on Canada’s West coast and are the backbone of our remarkable coastal ecosystems, the iconic wildlife that rely on these fish, and the basis of multi-million dollar economies in eco tourism, salmon-based tourism and the salmon resource sector.”

The report examines how Enbridge failed to assess the potential impacts to these fish, and did not undertake a risk assessment suitable to determine ecological, social or economic consequences. Further, Enbridge dismisses any consequences to wild salmon based on superficial reviews and flawed studies that collected no empirical data on salmon.

You can help

Raincoast’s in-house scientists, collaborating graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and professors make us unique among conservation groups. We work with First Nations, academic institutions, government, and other NGOs to build support and inform decisions that protect aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, and the wildlife that depend on them. We conduct ethically applied, process-oriented, and hypothesis-driven research that has immediate and relevant utility for conservation deliberations and the collective body of scientific knowledge.

We investigate to understand coastal species and processes. We inform by bringing science to decision-makers and communities. We inspire action to protect wildlife and wildlife habitats.

Coastal wolf with a salmon in its month.
Photo by Dene Rossouw.