WHALES: Looking back at the LNG threat to the Northern Right Whale – 2007. Has anything changed?


The article below was written many years ago when LNG developments in Passamaquoddy Bay were threatening the Northern Right Whale population that summered in this area. The effort to stop the LNG developments was successful but little has changed for the Right Whales as shifts in feed and other factors have resulted in their moving north into the Gulf of St. Lawrence where ship strikes have impacted the population along with the entanglement and strikes that still occur to the south.

In addition, LNG developments in Saint John will still impact whales in 2022.

Art MacKay

2007 – Say Good-bye to the Northern Right Whale

Head Harbour Passage is the center of the Quoddy Region located on the Maine, USA, -New Brunswick, Canada, border at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy. It has been documented to have the highest known biodiversity on the Atlantic Coast and supports up to 3,000 species of marine organisms, including many endangered or unique species. It is the summer grounds of the Northern Right Whales.

For over two years citizens and Canadian governments on all levels have been trying to protect this area from 3 proposed LNG terminal developments on the Maine shore of Passamaquoddy Bay. In addition, an LNG terminal, proposed refinery expansion and associated plastics production is in the cards at Saint John, NB and, together with proposed quarry development in NB and NS and other developments it is clear that the Bay of Fundy will rapidly become “Superport Fundy” with an exponential rise in ship traffic and a consequent displacement in marine species and our traditional eco-economy based on fisheries, aquaculture, and tourism.

Already challenged here, this increased traffic does not bode well for the future of the Northern Right Whale.

Today, the US State Department issued a statement indicating they will contest Canada’s stand to protect the Quoddy Region from LNG tankers and their zdrive tugs. If both LNG proposals currently before FERC are approved and come to fruition, there will be an average of one LNG tanker passage per day – an increase in traffic of 400% that will pass through habitat critical to Rights, Fins, Humpbacks, Minke, and Harbour Porpoise and other cetaceans.

This is a critical point that will determine the future of the most endangered marine mammal in our seas. There are
only 300-odd left; 6 were killed this past year. PLEASE ACT NOW!


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