European Cetacean Bycatch banner loading

"Man is but a strand in the complex web of life"

Internal links buttons



Endangered Orcas threatened by proposed pipeline.

Scientists report to NEB technical meeting

Canadian Parks and Wildlife Society – British Columbia Chapter (CPAWS – BC)
November 14, 2002

VANCOUVER - Scientists raised serious concerns about the impact of the proposed Georgia Strait Pipeline on local orca and habour porpoise populations at the GSX Pipeline Crossing Pre-Hearing Technical Marine Conference. Scientists suspect that the noise generated by the ongoing operation of the pipeline could have a devastating impact on the endangered population of southern resident killer whales.

"The pipeline is likely to be noisy enough for it to be hard for the orcas to find enough already scarce food to survive - this might be a matter of life or death for them" said David Bain, Professor at the University of Washington.

The southern resident population of killer whale was listed as endangered by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) in 2001. This population is small (78 animals in 2001) and has declined by 20% from 1995-2001.

"No additional threats to the killer whale population are acceptable," said Sabine Jessen, Conservation Director of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society - British Columbia Chapter (CPAWS-BC). "We are very concerned that this pipeline poses additional pressure on the whales that are significant enough to drive them towards extinction."

The Southern Strait of Georgia was one of five sites recently announced by Prime Minister Jean Chretien that will become new national marine conservation areas (NMCAs). Administered by Parks Canada, NMCAs are intended to provide protection in perpetuity to important marine areas in Canada's ocean waters. NMCAs are a type of zoned marine protected area, which includes both fully protected core areas and multiple use areas.

At the pre-hearing conference today in Sidney, concern was expressed by Parks Canada's Senior Marine Advisor, Dr. Tomas Tomasik about the adequacy of information on which to judge the potential impacts of the pipeline on the marine environment. According to Dr. Tomasik, "The current baseline information is totally inadequate to know whether the pipeline will have an impact on the marine environment or not."

A local coalition of groups recently released their vision for the NMCA and are concerned that the proposed pipeline route goes through some of the most biologically important parts of the Southern Strait of Georgia. "We are concerned about this type of industrial use within an area proposed to conserve the marine environment", said Natalie Ban, Marine Campaign Coordinator for CPAWS-BC, "and believe that the new scientific evidence presented at the conference suggests that the ecological costs of proceeding with this project are simply too high."

For more information contact:

Sabine Jessen, Conservation Director
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society - British Columbia Chapter
tel: (604) 685-7445
cell: (604) 657-2813

Natalie Ban, Marine Campaign Coordinator
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society - British Columbia Chapter
tel: (604) 685-7445
For additional information on any of these Press Releases,
please contact Sophia Middleton at:

Tel: (604) 685-7445