The Nunavut Marine Council is urging Ottawa to delay approval of any seismic testing for oil and gas in Baffin Bay until the federal government’s Strategic Environmental Assessment of Baffin Bay and Davis Strait is complete, a news release said.

The council, which includes representatives from the Nunavut Impact Review Board, the Nunavut Water Board, the Nunavut Planning Commission and the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board, is voicing concerns expressed by several communities on the issue.

Baffin Bay and Davis Strait are believed to contain large amounts of oil and gas. On the Greenland side of the border, exploration for fossil fuels began several years ago.

In January of this year, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development held public consultations on oil and gas exploration in 10 Baffin communities as part of the process leading toward the strategic assessment.

Many in Nunavut oppose seismic testing, arguing that the surveys can scare off fish and wildlife.

The Marine Council stems from the Nunavut Land Claim Agreement and was formalized in February 2012, after meeting on an ad hoc basis before then.