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Science Response 2012/002

Review of a Strategic Environmental Assessment for the Southwestern Scotian Slope


In October, 2011, the Ecosystem Management Branch in the Maritimes Region requested that DFO Maritimes Science undertake a review of a Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB) document entitled “Strategic Environmental Assessment: Petroleum Exploration Activities on the Southwestern Scotian Slope” (Hurley 2011). Ecosystem Management requested DFO Science advice on the report related to the following question:

  1. Does the CNSOPB Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the southwestern Scotian Slope adequately outline ecosystem attributes and potential ecosystem-offshore petroleum interactions in context of what is known of the marine ecosystem of the southwestern Scotian Slope? 

This information would be provided to the CNSOPB and may be used to refine future Environmental Effects Monitoring (EEM) programs and/or adjust mitigation measures to ensure environmental protection objectives are met.  It was requested that a response be provided by November, 2011. Given the short timeframe for review, DFO’s Science Special Response Process was used.

In the review, it was found that the SEA had generally identified the major ecosystem attributes of the southwestern Scotian Slope study area (and applicable surrounding areas), as well as completed an assessment that provided a general characterization of applicable environment-offshore petroleum activity interactions. However, several aspects of the SEA were felt to require further attention. 

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