SkeenaWild Conservation Trust

SkeenaWild Conservation Trust

October 09, 2014 17:55 ET

Prince Rupert Port Authority Puts $11 Billion LNG Project At Risk

TERRACE, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Oct. 9, 2014) - The Prince Rupert Port Authority courted Petronas to place one of the largest LNG projects in the world directly over top of some of the most sensitive and important salmon habitat in Canada. Widespread concerns from local communities, First Nations, academics and conservation groups means the Port Authority may have set-up Petronas to fail the social license test.

"It is hard to understand why the Prince Rupert Port Authority asked Petronas to site their facility there" said Greg Knox, "they were told by the Department of Fisheries & Oceans back in 1972 that port development on Lelu Island was a bad idea, and to find another site".

Stalling of the environmental assessment process, and recent changes by Petronas to reduce the amount of dredging, highlight the severity of potential impacts.

A new video and declaration (links below) opposing development of an LNG facility on Lelu Island highlight concerns and opposition.

"The project would destroy critical eel grass habitat, fill and eliminate shoreline ecosystems, and dredge up toxic chemicals buried in the sediment from a decommissioned pulp mill", stated Barb Faggetter, Oceanographer, Ocean Ecology. "These toxins, which are known to accumulate in food chains to dangerous levels, would be re-released into the environment, impacting fish, crabs, and the people who eat them".

Research undertaken by Simon Fraser University, First Nations, and local conservation groups show the area proposed for development is also where the majority of juvenile Skeena salmon spend the first few weeks when they exit the Skeena River each spring.

"This is the time when salmon are most physiologically challenged and vulnerable; having to adjust to the ocean environment, find new foods, and avoid a suite of new predators", said Michael Price, Salmon Ecologist, SkeenaWild Conservation Trust. "This will impact everyone in the Skeena watershed who depends on salmon".

While Petronas has proposed to create new fish habitat in other areas of the estuary, "Research shows this to be ineffective most of the time, and potentially destructive", stated Michael Price.

SkeenaWild Conservation Trust has requested Petronas find a more suitable site for their project.

For more information:




Conclusion from DFO's (then called Fisheries Service, Department of Environment) 1972 estuary study:

The present data indicate that Flora Bank is the most important shallow water area of the Skeena River estuary in terms of rearing juvenile fishes. The proposed port development would completely destroy the complex Flora Bank ecosystem and damage to the fisheries resource of the Skeena River and its estuary would be immense. Since the fishing industry contributes 30-40 percent of the base income in Prince Rupert it is probable that the construction of port facilities in this important tidal flat area would be economically unsound, and it is suggested that water areas away from estuaries should be investigated as alternate port development sites.

Contact Information

  • SkeenaWild Conservation Trust
    Greg Knox
    250 615 1990 or 250 638 0998

    SkeenaWild Conservation Trust
    Barb Faggetter
    (250) 622-2501 or Cell (250) 622-4128

    SkeenaWild Conservation Trust
    Michael Price
    250 847 1519

    For B-Roll and Images Contact:
    Quinn Barabash
    250 638 0998