|Activity||Key stressors||Key issues of concern
- Fisheries are highly regulated in terms of gear type, species or groups of species;
- More work needed to determine impacts of fishing on habitat and ecosystem.
- Removal of biomass (unbalancing food web structure);
- Habitat damage/destruction from fishing gear;
- Harvesting of forage species down the food chain (i.e. fishing for krill, capelin);
- Ghost fishing by lost/damaged gear;
- Introduction/transfer of invasive species.
- Environmental integrity /biodiversity;
- Fishery sustainability;
- Gear and user conflicts;
- Single species management;
- Incidental harm to species at risk;
- Use of anti-fouling products (on vessels etc).
|Oil and gas (Seismic and exploratory drilling related to oil and gas industry):
- In exploratory stages but expected to become major activity;
- Research enhanced by establishment of Centre for Offshore Oil and Gas Environmental Research (COOGER).
- Noise related to prolonged and frequent use of air guns;
- Accidental spills of oil;
- Vessel strikes (marine mammals and reptiles);
- Introduction of invasive species from ballast water exchange (seismic boats work in many jurisdictions).
- Debris and gear left on bottom;
- Accidental release of oil (spills);
- Drill cutting/mud waste removal;
- Noise and light pollution;
- Invasive species introduction (rig and supply vessels).
- Many documented impacts of seismic surveys on marine mammals and fish, at egg, larval, juvenile and adult stages;
- User conflicts between the oil industry and others;
- Landscape/seascape aesthetics;
- Negative effects on eco-tourism – i.e. changes in whale migratory routes or avoidance behaviour could affect whale watching tours; unsightly drilling rigs;
- Spoiled beaches, animal kills;
- Impacts on commercial fisheries and aquaculture operations (fouled gear, lost grounds, sub-lethal contamination of species).
- Main routes are over deep water, which dissipates sound, assimilates impacts;
- Need for land-based facilities to handle wastes (sewage, bilge oil);
- Canada needs to match international standards.
- Unintentional introduction and dissemination of invasive species via ballast water exchange, hull fouling;
- Sewage, oil and other contaminants from discharge and spills;
- Use of anti-fouling products.
- Ballast water is main culprit for introduction of invasive species, transport of diseases and parasites such as MSX;
- Within Gulf, invasive species already introduced move on hulls of smaller vessels, equipment used in fishing, aquaculture, dredging, recreational boating etc;
- Weak laws to control sewage discharged by vessels; few pump-out facilities along Gulf coasts.
- Oil discharges from ships are major concern;
- Almost entirely shellfish;
- Shellfish aquaculture is entirely coastal;
- High concentrations of shellfish aquaculture have caused problems elsewhere; need to know ecologically sustainable limits;
- Industry has been impacted by poor land use practices, has had impacts on recreational boating.
- Introduction and redistribution of invasive species, diseases and parasites;
- Habitat modification (sedimentation, nutrient loading);
- Benthic community disturbance;
- Impacts on carrying capacity for other species.
- Aquaculture activities can disseminate non-native species (i.e. invasive species such as green crab, oyster thief, and clubbed tunicate) as well as diseases (i.e. MSX) and parasites;
- User conflicts with commercial fishery;
- Conflicts with other users(recreational boating, tourism operators, home and cottage owners);
- Multiple jurisdictions involved in aquaculture application processes;
- Impacts of waste depend on type and scale of cultivation, flushing rates;
- Fecal matter and detached shellfish increase organic matter under aquaculture lease and can smother the benthic habitat and its species;
- Increased organic matter deposited on the bottom can favor settlement of green macroalgae.
- Shoreline development;
- Biggest stressor for coastal zones of the Gulf ecosystem;
- If existing best management practices and regulatory controls were used, they would be effective in preventing further damage; would allow natural processes to clean up most problem sites.
- Loss of habitat, wetlands, estuaries, etc.;
- Increased nutrient loading encouraging algal blooms;
- Reduced oxygen levels due to decomposing organic wastes and excessive plant growth;
- Increases in nearshore sediments and turbidity;
- Release of pathogens into nearshore;
- Release of contaminants;
- Temperature changes of nearshore receiving waters;
- Alterations of freshwater flows to receiving waters.
- Reduction and/or modifications of the quality / stability of the ecosystem (e.g. contaminants, nutrients, bacteria, freshwater influences, temperature);
- Limits to human uses (commercial and recreational) of ecosystem;
- Health implications (humans and biota);
- Ecological pressures on economic development;
- Many sources of contaminants in Estuary and Gulf including Great Lakes, local municipalities and industries, farming, marine transport, and weather systems from the west;
- Urban refuse is an important source of organic molecules (e.g. medication, estrogens and hormones, which can impact life cycles). Also bacteria, whose behaviour in the marine environment is unknown;
- New molecules for industrial and domestic purposes, such as fire retardants, mimic compounds now banned, e.g. PCBs;
- Agricultural runoff is source of organic matter, nitrates and phosphates, pesticides and herbicides.
An emerging issue expected to have substantial impacts in years to come.
- Changes to ocean processes (currents, salinity, temperature, etc.);
- Coastal erosion;
- Effects on coastal habitats;
- Submersion of coastal areas and infrastructure;
- Modification of species distribution, composition, population structures, habitats.
- Global phenomenon with obvious consequences and concerns for the Gulf of St. Lawrence;
- Pervasive sense that this issue is not within management control.