British Columbia

Petronas LNG terminal set in salmon's 'Grand Central Station'

New data on salmon that are reared along Flora Bank in the Skeena River raise concern that a new LNG terminal will hurt salmon stocks harvested by first nations who were not consulted.

New data shows LNG terminal in middle of nursery for 40 salmon populations

A new study warns of the risks of putting an LNG terminal into the Skeena river estuary. (submitted by Tavish Campbell)

A new study appears to support arguments by B.C. First Nations that the Petronas LNG project on the Skeena River could hurt salmon stocks.

Simon Fraser University Professor Jonathan Moore's study looked at the genetics of juvenile salmon from Flora Bank, the area where the new LNG terminal is planned along the Skeena River.

Among its findings: The salmon originate from 40 different populations, spanning more First Nations territories than those consulted.

SFU researchers say 100 million to 1 billion juvenile salmon migrate through the estuary every year.

A series of pipelines are proposed through the area, with off-loading terminals in the estuary, including the Pacific NorthWest LNG project, by Petronas.

"It poses huge risks to people and salmon," Moore told CBC Friday. "I'm not a decision maker. I can't say if those risks are acceptable, but those risks are huge."

Moore says given time salmon can adapt to change, but a project this big, built this fast, would be impossible for them to adapt to.

"It's not a great place to build a plant like that," said Moore

First Nations claim young salmon in the Skeena River estuary are at risk from a proposed new LNG Terminal. (submitted by Tavish Campbell)

"The Flora Bank region of the Skeena estuary is like Grand Central Station for salmon." said Allen Gottesfeld of the Skeena Fisheries Commission.

The Skeena supports Canada's second-largest salmon run and lies at the crossroads between oil reserves in Alberta and ocean access to overseas markets.

The Chiefs of the four Skeena River-area First Nations have long fought the siting of the proposed facility and maintain failure to seek First Nations' approval has put the $11 billion project at risk.

Petronas, Malaysia's state-owned oil company is planning to supercool natural gas to its liquid state for export to Asian markets.

B.C. Ministry of Environment and the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans were contacted, but have not commented yet.