Yet another fight to maintain the integrity and sustainability of our fishing industry against the pressure of oil and gas exploration under the guise of bountiful economic opportunity. MFU Local 6 has been in the forefront of this issue, especially where it concerns inshore/nearshore exploratory permits. We feel that the public review of exploratory permits around Cape Breton that took place this past January / 2002 would not have been achieved if not for Local 6 support and pressure alongside other fishing, environmental and native groups fighting against the issuance of these exploratory permits by the Nova Scotia government. We have started an initiative to publicly show the true value of our fishing industry versus the limited profit returns of oil and gas to our province.
In late 2003 we lost our fight against Corridor Resources carrying out their seismic work off Inverness County, Cape Breton.
This continues to be a very frustrating battle. We have put a lot of time, energy, and money, into fighting a process of no-accountability, on the part of the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB), and some politicians who had their mind made up against us, and refused to listen to our side.
In the end we have had support from DFO Science, Liberal leader Danny Graham, the NS New Democratic Party, Premier Pat Binns of PEI, and NB Premier Bernard Lord, and the government of Quebec who stopped Corridor and Hydro-Quebec from doing seismic testing in other parts of the Gulf. Add to these, many environmental groups, independent scientists, and the Priests of Inverness County.Hunt Oil did not try to do anything in Sydney Bight in the fall of 2003 because they lost their partner. They may try late in 2004. Their programme is many times bigger and more intense than what Corridor did off Inverness County. We have to stop them. We will have lots of scientific and community support, but we need to make lots of noise, and lobby lots of politicians. We believe that if we kick and scream enough we can stop this and thereby preserve our industry for future generations.