From Science Daily:

Seabirds exposed to even a dime-sized amount of oil can die of hypothermia in cold-water regions, but despite repeated requests by Environment Canada, offshore oil operators are failing when it comes to self-monitoring of small oil spills, says new research out of York University.

Chronic pollution from many small oil spills may have greater population-level impacts on seabirds than a single large spill, suggest researchers Gail Fraser and Vincent Racine of York U’s Faculty of Environmental Studies. However, seabirds are rarely considered in the monitoring of small spills from offshore oil production projects in Newfoundland and Labrador even though Environment Canada has asked that they be included.

In an article published in the international journal, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Fraser and Racine looked at how offshore oil operators monitored and responded to small spills (less than 1,000 litres) for three production projects off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador.

In three high-profile environmental assessments Environment Canada repeatedly requested that impacts on seabirds be monitored following small spills, but this has not happened.

“Industry self-monitoring of spills has failed to collect information that would allow researchers to understand the impact of chronic oil spills on seabirds,” said Fraser, who along with Racine is calling for independent observers on the offshore platforms. “Many seabird populations are declining and understanding sources of mortality is critical to their conservation.”

Fraser and Racine looked at reporting and monitoring of spills between 1997 and 2010. The researchers obtained operator spill reports under an Access to Information request.…

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