The Gulf of St Lawrence, its richness and its vulnerability, will be the topic of discussion on Saturday June 1st as members of the local environmental group, Save our Seas and Shores PEI invite the public to a half-day symposium at the PEI Farm Centre in Charlottetown.
Sylvain Archambault, co-founder of the St. Lawrence Coalition and biologist at Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society Québec, will provide the keynote addressed, entitled “The Gulf of St. Lawrence, An Ecosystem Under Threat, In Need of Love”.
The Gulf, home to over 4,000 species, is under threat. Climate change has caused its waters to warm, to become more acidic and less oxygen-rich. Underwater noise, invasive species and habitat destruction are changing the patterns of the marine mammals, fish and crustaceans that live there. According to Archambault, “There is no single solution to all of these threats, but marine protected areas (MPAs) provide an interesting avenue. Canada still lags in the protection of the Gulf, but the examples of the Saguenay-St-Lawrence Marine Park, as well as the recent creation of both the Banc-des-Américains and Laurentian Channel MPAs provide much needed hope.”
Mary Gorman, producer, will present the recently released short film, “The Vanishing Call of the Right Whale”, which was directed by Eliza Knockwood, from Abegweit First Nation, and narrated by actor, Ethan Hawke. “We are deeply grateful to Ethan Hawke for helping us to raise awareness and cast light on the hidden devastation that seismic blasting has on all forms of marine life in our oceans, especially these endangered right whales”, says Gorman.
The symposium will open with a poem by PEI’s Poet Laureate, Julie Pellissier-Lush. Other speakers include biologist and Nature PEI President Rosemary Curley, on Species at Risk; Troy Jerome from Gaspé, Québec, who will provide the perspective of a Mi’gmaq community leader with a wealth of experience on environmental, energy and fishing issues; Gretchen Fitzgerald, National Program Director, Sierra Club Canada Foundation, who will also provide an update on the Ecojustice lawsuit to protect the Gulf from risky offshore drilling in the Old Harry oil and gas prospect, marine ecologist Dr Irené Novaczek on the environmental challenges facing the inshore areas of the Gulf and the importance of MPAs; and Bob Creed, who will speak about PEI’s current and future marine conservation areas.