Environment

Stakeholder Involvement

The Board maintains an open working relationship with stakeholders with an interest in petroleum activities offshore Nova Scotia. The following are examples of how the Board works to ensure open and transparent relationships with stakeholders in the Nova Scotia offshore area.

Minimizing Impacts to Fisheries

The CNSOPB requires operators to conduct offshore activities in a manner that minimizes the impact on fisheries, marine fish resources, and fish habitat. The presence of vessels associated with offshore petroleum exploration and development activities may require the use of space which may also be occupied by commercial fisheries.

Standard marine protocols to communicate and avoid collision with other vessels, including a Notice to Mariners, are required for all offshore activities under CNSOPB jurisdiction. The CNSOPB requires a 500m safety zone around drilling and production installations, where non-project vessels are restricted from entering. Outside of this zone, petroleum operators are required to work with commercial fishing vessels to minimize interactions. As well, if interference with fishing equipment occurs, operators are required to adhere to the CNSOPB Compensation Guidelines Respecting Damages Related to Offshore Petroleum Activity (March 2002).

In addition to the above protocols, the CNSOPB requires a fisheries liaison officer to be present on all seismic vessels using airgun arrays, to minimize navigational interactions with active fisheries present in the area. Knowledgeable fisheries liaison officers help ensure effective communication between petroleum operators and fishers. The CNSOPB also evaluates other offshore activities during the environmental assessment process to determine if there is a need for a fisheries liaison officer. As a secondary role, the fisheries liaison officer may also monitor and record marine mammal and seabird observations.

Fisheries Advisory Committee

The Board's Fisheries Advisory Committee (FAC) includes representatives from various fishing groups, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Natural Resources Canada, and the Nova Scotia Department of Energy. FAC members provide advice and suggestions to the Board for consideration in work authorization applications, regulations and guidelines. Meetings are held quarterly and briefings are sent out to inform and engage members in discussion of upcoming projects and other petroleum related activities. Committee members are provided with notice of all environmental assessments and are invited to submit comments to the Board for consideration during the review processes.

For a list of Fisheries Advisory Committee members, please click here.