Cliffs along the east coast of Baffin Island. Seismic testing in the area is set to begin this year as soon as ice moves out. Inuit are fighting the testing saying it will disrupt marine life which they depend upon.
Photo Credit: The Canadian Press

Appeal to start on Arctic seismic testing


The proposal from a consortium of three international companies to conduct seismic exploration off Baffin Island was first put forth in 2011. The companies are TGS-NOPEC, Petroleum Geo-Services and Multi Klient Invest.

An air gun is used to create loud sonic booms which travel through the water into the ocean floor and reflect off different layers beneath. Analysis of variations in those reflections provide indication of the presence of oil or gas pockets beneath the ocean floor.

Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act (COGOA) Environmental Assessme

A five-year 2D seismic testing plan for oil and gas has been approved in the cross-hatched area of Baffin Bay and Davis an area outside the 12 nautical mile boundary (National Energy Board) CLICK to enlarge

Inuit on the island say consultations with them have been inadequate and their concerns about effects on marine life have not been listened to.  They say Baffin Bay and Davis Strait are fragile and ecologically diverse with many whales, walrus, and seals, and there isn’t any solid information about how seismic testing would affect them and their environment.

RCI – 2014 seismic approval

RCI- Lancaster Sound protection

The hamlet of Clyde River is leading the opposition to testing and has wide support throughout Nunavut.

In 2013, Clyde River Councillor (now Mayor) Jerry Natanine said,  “They don’t have any information how halibut, turbot or shrimp or any micro-organisms would be affected, and any negative effects on those would have a negative effect on the seals which is our mainstay in this community.”

The National Energy Board approved the testing in 2014 saying it would begin in 2015 when the ice cleared.

In a statement of support for the Inuit, Amnesty International said the issue goes beyond economics and into the area of human rights. On it’s website it wrote that the Hamlet of Clyde River and the Nammautaq Hunters and Trappers Organization allege that the NEB failed to adequately consider the harmful effects of seismic testing on marine mammals and on Inuit food, economy and culture, and that the decision violated the constitutional rights of the Inuit.

Local residents demonstrating last summer in Clyde River against the planned seismic testing.. Organizers are hoping to bring that rallying spirit to the Federal Court of Canada building in Toronto April 20 when the seismic testing case will be heard. © Courtesy: Fight Against Seismic Testing -Facebook – photo-Aimo Paniloo

Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada says,“Canadian and international law both require rigorous precautions to ensure that resource development decisions don’t lead to further marginalization and dispossession of Indigenous peoples”

He adds, “The Supreme Court of Canada has been clear that decision-makers should aim to comply with Canada’s international human rights obligations when interpreting Canadian law, (…) With oil and gas development at the heart of the federal growth strategy, the Clyde River case provides an important opportunity to ensure that decisions about which projects go ahead, and which are rejected, comply the global human rights protections that Canada has endorsed.”

Appeals Court to hear case April 20

Clyde River and the Hunters and Trappers  have launched a judicial review of the NEB decision and the case has now gone to the Federal Appeals Court.

Amnesty had applied for intervenor status  but  a multi-page response to the Amnesty request by the consortium said that allowing Amnesty into the process would cause undue delay.

It wrote in part, “It would result in the need for complex and detailed research and submissions, additional evidence and likely delay in the current hearing schedule.”

The court denied the Amnesty request.

The court will begin its review starting April 20, when the panel of three judges will hear both sides and decide to uphold or deny the NEB decision to allow the five-year testing.

A rally of support for the Inuit case is planned outside the court buildings in Toronto.  Lawyers for Clyde River say that if the court does not reach a verdict before the ice melts, an injunction may be sought to delay the seismic blasts until the decision is reached.

In 2010, a Nunavut court issued an injunction to stop seismic testing in Lancaster Sound, a proposed Arctic national marine park. The injunction forced the German research vessel involved to change its route mid-cruise.


Tagged with: ,
Posted in Economy, Environment, Indigenous, International, Internet, Science and Technology, Politics, Society

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1.’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3.’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.