In his own words: Why a Bay of Fundy fisherman cannot support the Energy East pipeline

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(Image taken from “Fishing at the End of the Pipeline” by rvanwaarden)

David Thompson is a local fisherman who has fished the waters around Mispec Bay outside of Saint John for years. His family fished those same waters for generations before him. It’s for this reason, he says, that he cannot and will not support the proposed Energy East pipeline set to end at the Canaport LNG facilities just kilometres away from Mispec Bay.

Below is an excerpt from Thompson’s August 9th presentation to the NEB panel:

“I just finished a fishing trip where we fished scallops for three days around the clock. I had eight guys employed. I generated $24,000 in income to pay those guys. We contribute big time to the economy. Prior to that I spent thousands on equipment and gear towards the trip and generated that into the economy.

I’m not willing to support this project because of the potential of a disaster, and I think one oil spill would definitely destroy what I and my family have depended on for years. 

On average I lose about 10 traps a year from shipping, which costs me thousands of dollars of lost income. With 300 tankers coming in, the supporting tugs, pilot boats, supply boats, it’s going to generate an increase in traffic which is going to increase gear loss. And, you know, the insurances that I’m going to get from you or anybody else – I just don’t get that fuzzy warm feeling.

How do you plan to mitigate the gear loss? And will you compensate for gear loss? 

You said you were going to use existing traffic lanes – okay. Those traffic lanes stop six miles outside the Saint John Harbour. There’s probably 40 or 50 vessels fishing inside that traffic lane. The way the tankers travel, it’s not consistent. There’s no lane that they consistently will follow. We get in the way all the time. 

You guys are the new guys on the block and you’re coming into an area where we fish. I think saying you will use existing lanes or guidelines -it’s not appropriate. You should actually sit down and talk with the fishermen in how we can mitigate some of these measures.

The fishermen right now don’t recognize this expanded water lot. We weren’t consulted, so you’ve got some work to do to make up for that.

You’re going to tell me to go somewheres else and fish. It’s taken me 20 years to know how to fish, where to fish and how to do it in tides.

We’re going to be there. I’m going to be there, that’s where I make my living – right there.”

The National Energy board sessions took place from Aug. 8-10 in Saint John where ordinary citizens, fishermen, business owners and homeowners represented themselves with grace and dignity rooted in their love for our province. Risks to a marine ecosystem so diverse, loss of property and value – everything was covered. These are their stories.

Read a summary of the NEB panel sessions here:

NEB information sessions in Saint John:

 NEB information sessions in Fredericton:

The Fredericton sessions kicked off today and continue until Tuesday afternoon.

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