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Soundings Archive

NGOs Sue over Seismic Effects on Canadian Marine Protected Area
On August 10, 2009, two NGOs sued the Canadian Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Columbia University in the Federal Court of Canada. The two NGOs are the Living Oceans Society and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.

The plaintiffs ("applicants" in Canadian legal terminology) state in their complaint ("application") that

    "this is an application for judicial review seeking prohibition of a decision of the Minister of Foreign Affairs or his delegates to grant foreign vessel clearance to the R.V. Marcus Langseth to enable this vessel to conduct seismic testing in the Endeavour Hypothermal Vents Marine Protected Area. The Minister of Foreign Affairs is anticipated to make this decision before August 14, 2009, when the seismic testing is proposed to commence."
The Langseth is owned by the U.S. National Science Foundation and is operated by Columbia's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. The NGOs' application alleges that the Langseth's seismic research operations in this Canadian MPA "will disturb living organisms in this Area and their habitat," in violation of Canadian law. Blue whales and Fin whales are among the allegedly disturbed organisms.

The U.S. Department of State has requested that the Canadian Minister of foreign affairs and his delegates grant the Langseth a foreign vessel clearance to conduct seismic research in Canadian waters.
  • Click here to read the complaint/application

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