Canada’s federal Fisheries Department could be violating its own environmental laws by discharging laboratory waste into two East Coast harbors, according to federal documents.
A January 2004 environmental-compliance audit completed by the department singles out the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Dartmouth and the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre in St. John’s. The review, obtained by The Canadian Press under the federal Access to Information Act, points to “serious potential violations” of the federal Fisheries Act.
Although Environment Canada is responsible for enforcing the environmental provisions of the act, a spokeswoman confirmed that no charges have been laid. In the case of the oceanography institute, laboratory waste is mixed with storm water runoff from the jetty and dumped into the Bedford Basin at the north end of Halifax Harbor.
The report states that “soil sampling has confirmed that all the soil in the vicinity of the sewage system was contaminated with hazardous materials.” The situation in Newfoundland is similar, with the fisheries centre near downtown St. John’s was discharging “laboratory chemicals directly into Quidi Vidi Harbor.”