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Long term, sustainable jobs at risk

A new study released by the University of British Columbia shows that a major oil spill could jeopardize the jobs and livelihoods of B.C.’s north coast region.

WWF commissioned the study by UBC’s renowned Fisheries Economics Research Unit to better understand how oil spill risks on B.C.’s north coast could affect marine-based industries north coast residents depend on. Using the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill as an example, researchers Dr. Ngaio Hotte and Dr. Rashid Sumaila calculated various scenarios,  from a spill with no impact to a high-impact spill.

North Coast residents express concern about the impacts of an oil spill on jobs and environment at the opening of pipeline hearings in Prince Rupert last week. (C) Mike Ambach, WWF-Canada.

The high impact spill scenario was defined as 257-thousand barrels of crude oil distributed in winter over 52 kilometres of coastline, including the beaches of Haida Gwaii and islands and coastline off the ports of Kitimat and Prince Rupert. Not surprisingly, the authors found that fishing, tourism and marine transportation would all suffer serious losses in the event of a spill. “In the worst case scenario, if a tanker spill occurs”, Dr. Sumaila said, “the economic gains from the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project to the North Coast region would be wiped out by the costs of the spill.”

In recent news coverage, WWF-Pacific Region VP Darcy Dobell,  noted that these losses do not even take into account the losses of future jobs that depend on a healthy, ocean environment.

VIDEO: Enbridge Disaster Study (Global TV)