Peter Ross

Failure to Monitor Ocean Pollution Risks Health of First Nations

traditional smoked salmon makes up a part of coastal first nations' diets

A decade ago a group of First Nations communities on Vancouver Island approached Health Canada and asked whether it was safe to eat the foods, like wild salmon, or harbour seals, that make up a traditional diet. Health Canada did not have the answer, but introduced these communities to a Department of Fisheries and Oceans scientist named Peter Ross who made it his mission to find out.

Dr. Ross worked his last day as a government employee in late August, which officially brings his study on the contamination of traditional seafoods to an end. At the sixth annual Vancouver Island Traditional Food Conference, Ross expressed the significance of this: coastal aboriginal peoples will be the first to feel the effects of the DFO’s reduced capacity study ocean pollution in Canada.

An elder named Ipswa Mescacakanis described the cutbacks to DFO and ocean pollution research in particular as a broken trust. “The government of Canada has promised us access to food, to safe food, and culturally appropriate food. We can no longer be sure if the food we eat is safe.”

Retreat from Science: Interview with Federal Scientist Peter Ross Part 2 of 2

On April 1, 2013 Canada will lose its sole marine contaminants research program. The loss comes as a part of a massive dismantling of science programs at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced in May of 2012. 

Peter Ross, lead researcher at Vancouver Island’s Institute for Ocean Sciences, is a recent casualty of the sweeping science cuts moving across the country.
In this second installment of DeSmog Canada’s interview with Ross, he discusses the importance of the scientific method as a bulwark against bias in policy-making, the danger of industrial pollutants in marine habitats, and what killer whales can tell us about our society.

Retreat from Science: Interview with Federal Scientist Peter Ross Part 1 of 2

When the Harper government announced deep funding cuts to science programs across the country, the Institute of Ocean Sciences, one of Canada's largest marine institutes located in Sidney, B.C., was among those research outfits hurt as a result. Lead research scientist Peter Ross is one of more than one thousand Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) employees who discovered their position had been terminated.

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