Thursday, July 9, 2009

The SEDNA IV Moves To Gaspe

According to the president of the organizing committee for the Gaspe festivities, Claudine Roy, the presence of the ship represents a veritable blessing. “It’s extraordinary. All in all, we are pleased in having her attached here for the summer financially. Then we will have free visits for the Gaspesians and the visitors who come,” said Mrs Roy.

The legendary ship will go into dry dock of the Maritime Shipyards Forillon in order to prepare for a two year scientific voyage around the world.

The man responsible for the Sedna IV’s missions, Jean Lemire, wishes to give leave to his crew, “The Sedna IV has become an ambassador who sails the world and we like that the scientific crew has a regional base. Why not the Gaspesia?”
The foundation of the Sedna IV has considered buying a house in Gaspe to create a museum. “There are many projects. We hope that we will be able to announce something soon. But the idea is to have a base port in the region,” commented Jean Lemire.

The Sedna IV is a steel sailing ship with three masts, which is 51 meters long. She was constructed in 1957, in Germany and underwent a complete refit in 1992 to respond to the needs of her private owner.

Acquired in June 2001 by a group of Canadian men of action, it has traveled the northern oceans and the Australian waters and has accumulated oceanographic missions, of which the Antarctic in the most popular.

The next mission, which will take on the loss of biodiversity and the access of potable water, is foreseen for 2010.

This is a surprise! The Sedna IV was supposed to be based in Grand Entry harbour. In fact, the new section of the harbour built in 2003 was made to accommodate the ship's berth. The company had bought the bar at Grand Entry Point to retain the records of the scientific escapades of the ship. Then they tore the historic bulding down after moving several small businesses out, all of which never recuperated. To my knowledge the ship was never brought to Grand Entry, not even for a visit. Occasionally she would appear in Grindstone harbour and tours would be given by the crew. The Sedna IV is a beautiful tall ship!

The ship sailed the Northwest passage in 2003.

Coast Guard Removed 650 bags of Contaminated Sand From Islands Dunes

The Canadian Coast Guard discretely unearthed 650 bags of sand that had been contaminated with PCB’s from the west beach of the Magdalen Islands last May.

These bags had been the waste of heavy oil that had been released into the Gulf when the oil barge Irving Whale sank in September 1970.

In December 2008, one of the islanders had found one of the bags on the West Beach, but because of snow and high tides, the work to recuperate the bags had been postponed until May 2009.

The recuperation of the bags left a large hole of around 25 square meters in the dune. More work will be necessary to restore the site, explained the superintendent of the Coast Guard, Martin Blouin, “The work has cause a cavity but not a breach, very near the area of the lagoon, therefore there will be some consolidation of the dune to do.”

It has been 39 years since the barge, Irving Whale sank to the north of Prince Edward Island, causing black sea on the beaches of the west side of the Archipelago. At that time, the authorities had decided to bag the contaminated sand that had been soaked with the oil and bury the bags in the dunes of the islands.

Some 200,000 bags in all had been buried. The burial sites had not been recorded. Since the ship wreck, 7000 bags have been found.

The Coast Guard will present it’s action plan to the municipality of the Iles-de-la-Madeleine this fall.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Parasite Affected Crab Has DFO Minister Worried

On June 29th, 2009, in a press communication it was said, that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) was worried about the presence of a microscopic parasite that is both contagious and deadly which attacks the meat of the crab. The parasite has been identified in Nova Scotia and the Minister wishes to avoid a propagation in other fishing zones, such as the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.

The sickness developed by the parasite hits the crab during the molting season, when the carapace is changing. Then the parasite infects the blood, modifying the texture and the taste of the meat of the crab, before it finally kills the crab.

“It is not really a meat that is very interesting to eat. It’s texture and taste properties have been profoundly altered by the parasite,” indicated biologist, Bernard Ste-Marie.

The illness of the infected crab does not pose a danger for human health. However, it lowers the commercial value of the catch and the fishers of the crab are affected. The federal minister want therefore to stop the propagation, but also avoid an epidemic resembling that of the Alaskan infestation, where the parasite costs are approximately 5 million dollars a year for the fishermen.

“The fishermen are warned that if they find an infected crab, they are not to throw the crab back into the water, where it can infect other crabs in the area. They must bring it to shore,” explained the biologist.