The Blue Whale Campaign


Would you like to name a blue whale? The Blue Whale Campaign's most recent venture, the Name a Whale Challenge! has concluded with grreat success-  see  that story here.

If you're interested in making a general donation to the Blue Whale Campaign, click here and be sure to specify in the comment section you want your money going to our work. Thank you!

The Gulf of St Lawrence is the jewel of Atlantic Canada. It borders all five Eastern Canadian provinces, supports vast fisheries and holds an awesome diversity of life.

This jewel has been mistreated in the past. Historic overfishing has made this region home to numerous endangered species and because of this, the Gulf is a vulnerable, even fragile paradise. For the sake of the provinces, people and aquatic life that depend on it, the Gulf must be protected from dangers both old and new.

Inhabiting these waters is the blue whale, a critically endangered species. There were once thousands in the northwest Atlantic Ocean, but now it's believed there are fewer than 250...and recovery becomes less likely with each passing year.

As an endangered species, the blue whale is entitled to have its critical habitat protected by the federal government, but first the locations of this habitat must be identified. An action plan detailing the blue whale's habitat is supposed to be published by the end of 2014. However, representatives with the Canadian government have cast doubt on this deadline. It's far from a sure thing.

The blue whale population was first devastated by hunting, but now oil and gas operations threaten to hammer the final nail into its coffin. Oil and gas exploration in the Gulf is already underway, with seismic testing complete at sites like the Old Harry prospect off Newfoundland's southern shore. Exploratory drilling will soon follow. Also in the neighbourhood - the Energy East oil pipeline plans to carry Alberta's crude oil to New Brunswick, where it will be exported via the Bay of Fundy and the Gulf.

A catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf could spell the end of the blue whale, either by destroying its food stocks or poisoning individuals when they visit the surface for food or air. Even without such a disaster, oil and gas exploration would drastically increase seismic testing, a hazard capable of deafening whales; they can cause bleeding of the sensory organs and even death at close range.

The final dangers come with increased heavy ship traffic. Collisions between whales and large transport ships - oil tankers for example - remain the highest cause of whale mortality in Canadian waters. Many collisions go unreported as heavy vessels can rip through a whale without taking notice.

The Sierra Club of Canada and its affiliate Save Our Seas and Shore are concerned the recovery of the blue whale and other endangered species will be overlooked as oil and gas development moves forward in the Gulf of St Lawrence. For this reason we are launching our public awareness campaign to bring Gulf species into the discussion.

Our organizers:

Zack Metcalfe is leading the public awareness campaign. As an author, journalist and passionate environmentalist, he's well suited to write on behalf of endangered species. Whales and the open ocean hold a special fascination for Metcalfe; it was his initiative that lead to the blue whale playing a central role in our campaign.

"The blue whale is the largest animal ever to have existed," said Metcalfe. "You can judge the health of an ecosystem by the health of its largest animals, so if the blue whale vanishes, that doesn't bode well for the oceans. There are countless environmental, economic and ethical reasons for prohibiting oil and gas operations in the Gulf, but for me, no reason is more personal than this gentle giant."

A graduate of Dalhousie University's Master of Resource and Environmental Management program, Colin Jeffrey has had an interest in environmental issues from a young age. For the past two years Colin has worked to protect the Gulf as a volunteer with Save Our Seas and Shores - PEI Chapter.

"The more you know about our incredible Gulf of St Lawrence, the harder you will work to protect it," said Mr Jeffrey.

Eastern Canadian provinces are moving quickly to exploit fossil fuel deposits in the Gulf of St Lawrence. The Atlantic provinces’ offshore petroleum boards have the conflicting mandate of promoting fossil fuel development and assessing its environmental impacts. Few groups are treating the Gulf as a single ecosystem and fewer still are thinking beyond the short term economic benefits.

Endangered species like the blue whale need a voice in these decisions. Donate to our campaign and we will be that voice.

The Blue Whale Campaign’s most recent venture was the Name a Whale Challenge, where members of the public were invited to suggest a name for an Atlantic Canadian blue whale. Proceeds are being divided between the Blue Whale Campaign and the Mingan Island Cetacean Study, a pioneering blue whale research organization in the Gulf of St Lawrence. To learn more about the Northwest Atlantic Blue Whale, visit our blue whale page here.

St. Lawrence Coalition Releases Gulf 101 Report

June 10, 2014

Gulf 101 - Oil in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Facts, Myths, and Future Outlook is the first comprehensive look at the ecology, oceanography, economy, and implications of oil and gas for the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Four years in the making, the report details the uniqueness of the Gulf ecosystem, gaps in our current knowledge about the Gulf, flaws in the regulations and legal agreements regarding oil deposits in the Gulf, our inability to respond to and clean up an oil spill in the Gulf, and lack of social license for oil and gas in the Gulf.

The report was accompanied by a region-wide call for a moratorium on oil and gas in the Gulf, which received massive media attention. 

Please go here to TAKE ACTION and protect the Gulf!



Protect the Gulf of St. Lawrence! Gulf Garland Video and Story Contest Launched!

November 11, 2013

The Gulf of St. Lawrence is a vital Canadian ecosystem. Unfortunately the fate of the Gulf, which is bounded by five of Canada’s ten provinces, now lies with the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board, which could approve drilling as soon as next year.

Oil and gas threatens marine life in the Gulf – endangered species like the blue whale and leatherback turtles – as well as thousands of other species!  The vibrant Gulf ecosystem also supports tens of thousands of jobs in the fishing and tourism industries.

The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board is still considering approving drilling in spite of strong opposition from indigenous communities and citizens whose livelihoods and quality of life rely on a healthy, oil-free gulf.To make the case for how special the Gulf is, we are collecting stories and videos of people who have experience the Gulf and want to see it protected! 

Please go here to check out our project website and submit your video or story:

Don’t know what to say ? Here are some questions that might get your creative juices flowing: Why do I love the Gulf of St. Lawrence? What is my favourite place in the Gulf? What is my favourite memory? What is my biggest fear if oil and gas is allowed to go ahead?

Contact Gretchen at 902-444-3113 or if you want more info or need help submitting your story or video!

We are so grateful for the support of the Patagonia Environmental Grants Program for helping us create the Gulf Garland!


Petition to Protect PEI from Oil and Gas Development in the Gulf!

We want your concerns about the Gulf of St. Lawrecce to be heard in the PEI legislature!

 This January, the Save Our Seas and Shores Coalition on Prince Edward Island launched a petition to support a moratorium on oil and gas exploration and development in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

We want as many signatures as possible!

Only "hard copy" signatures (i.e. not online petitions) are accepted, so please take some time to download the petition, gather signatures from your friends and neighbours. Maybe leave a copy at your local library or convenience store ....

Once you have gathered your signatures, please mail your petiton before April 2nd to:

Save Our Seas and Shores-PEI Chapter, VRC, 81 Prince St., Charlottetown, PE C1A 4R3.

Once we have gathered all the signatures, the petition and your concerns will be formally entered into the PEI legislature!

Want to give folks more information or spread the word further while gathering signatures? Please download the brochure below and print it!

Jason Priestley Speaks Out for the Gulf!

Click here to Take Action to Protect the Gulf of St. Lawrence from Oil and Gas

Jason Priestley speaks out for the environment


Actor Priestly helps with video for Save Our Seas and Shores Coalition

NEW GLASGOW  – The battle to protect the Gulf of St. Lawrence from oil and gas development received a major boost this week when Canadian-born Hollywood celebrity, Jason Priestley, lent his support to the cause.

Priestley donated his time and talents to shooting a short video asking for a moratorium on oil and gas in the Gulf.

“We are excited about the launch of this video and hope everyone will visit our websites to see Jason and take action. If enough of us raise our voices, we can stop this madness and save the Gulf of St. Lawrence from a monster spill like we just witnessed in the Gulf of Mexico,” says Mary Gorman of Merigomish, a member of Save Our Seas and Shores Coalition.

The Save Our Seas and Shores Coalition says the Gulf of St. Lawrence's multi-billion dollar renewable fishery and tourism industries deserve protection. The group wants the government to place a moratorium on oil and gas exploration so that these industries are not in jeopardy like those hurt in the Gulf of Mexico this past summer.

The Priestley video was shot by Halifax filmmaker Donna Davies of Ruby Tree Films at Acadia University in Wolfville, near the set of HBO Canada's Call Me Fitz TV series, which Priestley is starring in.

“We are thrilled to have Jason Priestley join the battle to protect our gulf,” says Gretchen Fitzgerald of Sierra Club Canada. “We hope he will draw greater attention to the critical need for action on this issue.”

Jason Priestley Speaks Out for the Gulf!

Jason Priestley speaks out for the environment


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE– November 25, 2010


Nova Scotia– The battle to protect the Gulf of St. Lawrence from oil and gas development received a major boost this week when Canadian-born Hollywood celebrity, Jason Priestley, lent his support to the cause. Priestley donated his time and considerable talents to shooting a short video asking for a moratorium on oil and gas in the Gulf.


“We are thrilled to have Jason Priestley join the battle to protect our Gulf,” says Gretchen Fitzgerald of Sierra Club Canada. “We hope he will draw greater attention to the critical need for action on this issue.”

 ... Read more »

Call for a Moratorium on Oil and Gas in the Gulf of St. Lawrence

Action Deadline: 
Sun, 2012-12-30 23:00

Submit Your Comments to the C-NLOPB Today!


The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board is accepting comments on their strategic environmental assessment for oil and gas off Western Newfoundland. Although we question the legitimacy of the consultation process, our silence could mean rigs are allowed in to our Gulf as soon as next year!

Please write your comments to the Board by emailing here:

Make sure to CCStephen Harper - Prime Minister of Canada:, Thomas Mulcair - Leader of the New Democratic Party:, Bob Rae - Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada:, Vivian Barbot - Leader of the Bloc Québécois:, Elizabeth May - Leader of the Green Party of Canada:, Hon. Kathy Dunderdale- Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador:, Hon. Pauline Marois  - Premier of Québec:, Hon. Darryl Dexter - Premier of Nova Scotia:, Hon. Robert Ghiz - Premier of Prince Edward Island:, Hon. David Alward - Premier of New Brunswick:

Some things you want to raise:

1. Ask for the Board to tell you how your comments are being used to protect the Gulf and let them know consultation process was inadequate (Federal Envirnment Minister Kent stated that "thorough consulation" was required as part of the assessment);
2. 2. Endangered blue whales are found in the Gulf - and their migratory pathway is right next to where they want to drill. Lots of other endangered and theatenned species are found there too like leatherback turtles and imperiled cod stocks: how will these species be protected?
3. How will coastal communities and national treasures, like Gros Morne National Park, be protected from a massive spill like BP’s?
4. Tell them you want a moratorium as this is the only way to protect this precious ecosystem, shared by five of Canada's provinces.

For more detals on the Western Newfoundland Strategic Envirnmental Assessment, please go here:



The shoreline of the Gulf of St. Lawrence -  the magnificent St. Lawrence River, the sandy beaches of Prince Edwards Island, the breathtaking vistas of Cape Breton, and the rugged shores of Newfoundland - are iconic Canadian seascapes.

The Gulf contains a variety of habitats, ranging from deep-sea corals to sandy clam beds, and is home to over 2000 marine species - including the endangered blue whale and imperiled cod stocks.

Five Canadian provinces bound the Gulf: Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Ocean currents in Gulf mean that what happens in one part of the Gulf could impact the entire region.

Right now, however, offshore oil and gas regulators act like their “piece” of the Gulf has no connection with the others: as a result, the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board, acting alone, allowed seismic testing to go ahead at an oil lease in the middle of the Gulf - known as "Old Harry" - in October 2010.

Organizations, scientists, and concerned individuals have joined together to stop oil and gas in the Gulf. Our worst fear is that a spill on a scale of that which occurred in the Gulf of Mexico would damage the entire Gulf of St. Lawrence. We need your help now to stop oil and gas in the Gulf!

Write to the Prime Minister, Federal Party Leaders, and Gulf Premiers:

Contact info for the leaders:
Prime Minsiter Stephen Harper,
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair,
Bloc Quebecois Leader Daneile Paillé (online form):
LIberal Leader Bob Rae,
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May
NS Premier Darrell Dexter
NL Premier Kathy Dunderdale,
NB Premier David Alward,
PEI Premier Robert Ghiz
Premier Jean Charest (Online form)

You can use our draft letter to get you atarted, but please remember, personalized letters expressing your concerns are far more effective!... Read more »


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