Yesterday, a Nunavut court granted an injunction to block the seismic testing that was to be carried out in Lancaster Sound - a proposed National Marine Conservation Area - this summer under the joint German-Canadian Eastern Canadian Arctic Seismic Experiment. However, the block is temporary given that the Federal Government may appeal the block or undertake a second round of consultations with the Inuit communities in the region.
The decision was reached because of the potential impacts on wildlife and local communities. Justice Sue Cooper, the judge behind the ruling, wrote “If the testing proceeds as planned and marine mammals are impacted as Inuit say they will be, the harm to Inuit in the affected communities will be significant and irreversible”. “The loss extends not just to the loss of a food source, but to loss of a culture. No amount of money can compensate for such loss.”
The Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), the German partner, has accepted the decision and acknowledged that it is a Canadian issue.
We hope this experiment will not proceed in the Arctic and that Lancaster Sound will one day become a National Marine Conservation Area.