In a somewhat controversial decision, Canada has chosen to shut down their marine pollution program. The program and job cuts are an attempt to save the country $79 million. However, the program was created to protect Canada’s ocean waters from chemical threats.
“As can be expected when one is told their position is being terminated, one is shocked and saddened,” says Peter Ross, a world renowned marine scientist with over 100 published reports. “However, when told that the entire pollution research and monitoring program for Canada’s oceans is being eliminated, I was speechless.”
Of the 75 employees losing their jobs with this program being eliminated, Peter Ross is being the most vocal in his concerns for protecting the oceans. “It’s perplexing that we face the loss of this program, given the 25,000 chemicals on the market and the ever-increasing threats posed by shipping and oil and gas exploration and development in temperate and Arctic waters,” Peter Ross told msnbc.com.
The Department of Fisheries plans to replace these employees by hiring an advisory group from the private sector and academia for advice. The question biologists, like Ross, are asking themselves is how accountable will this advisory group be? Without the government agencies being actively involved will the health of the marine animals and fish be in jeopardy? Will this advisory group be able to identify new pollutants in the coastal environment?
Canada’s efforts to cut costs might harm the oceans off Canada’s coastlines. The program for taking care of the marine pollution will shut down by April 1, 2013. Hopefully the Canadian government will keep a watchful eye on their advisory panel and the coastal environments.