September 10, 2007 - 13:23 — Rick Searle
[RS - this just in from Jennifer Lash of the Living Oceans Society. I urge you to help out to whatever degree your bank account allows. Even small sums can add up quickly when combined with those given by many others. Also be sure to check out the video of the spill that the Society produced and posted on YouTube. It can be viewed on their website (www.livingoceans.org)] September 10, 2007 Dear Friends, Living Oceans Society needs your support to protect the whales of Robson Bight. By contributing to the Save Robson Bight Fund and asking that government conduct a full investigation, you will be joining the many people around the world who have joined together to protect the whales of Robson Bight. On August 20th, a barge carrying logging equipment and a fuel truck spilled its contents into critical whale habitat in the Michael Bigg Ecological Reserve at Robson Bight. (see a map of the spill location) The truck, which contained 10,000 litres of diesel, is now laying at a depth of 350 metres and may still contain thousands of litres, Right now, we need your help to make sure all necessary steps are taken to protect the whales and other marine life from the toxic effects of the diesel spill. Living Oceans Society, whale researchers, and local whale watching companies believe that we owe it to the whales to fully investigate and assess the risk the fuel truck and equipment still pose to the ecosystem. To do this, we must deploy specialized equipment operated by deep sea dive experts, and if the dive is not conducted by the end of this September, it will be July 2008 before the weather allows for inspection of the wreckage again. We strongly believe that this investigation must be led by the federal and provincial governments, along with the company responsible for the accident. While the provincial government has shown leadership and supported this investigation, the Federal Coast Guard remains uncommitted and the clock is ticking. If the government fails to launch this investigation, then we will coordinate it ourselves. As we wait for the Coast Guard to make a decision, we are asking our friends and supporters to help us out. We are accepting donations to the Save Robson Bight Fund so we are prepared to launch our investigation before the end of September if the government does not. We have already raised over $19,000 towards our goal of $35,000 to pay for the use of hi-tech equipment and specially trained technicians. If the government does its own investigation, we will contribute your donation to whale researchers studying the long-term impacts of the spill on the orcas. We are also asking people to send an email to The Honourable Loyola Hearn, Minster of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and responsible for the Coast Guard, asking him to support an underwater investigation of Robson Bight. With your help we can take all steps necessary to protect the whales and the place they call home. Sincerely, Jennifer Lash Executive Director Sidebar: Robson Bight is summer home to the Northern Resident orca whales who frequent the area to feed and rub on the pebble beach. At the time of the spill, seven orcas from “I” Pod were in the reserve, and swam through the diesel spill at least four times. By the next day, 50 whales had spent considerable time swimming through the fuel. Whale researchers believe that up to 25 percent of the entire Northern Resident population have inhaled diesel vapours which could cause lung lesions, pneumonia and other potentially lethal health consequences. There are 230 Northern Resident orcas and they are listed as a threatened species.