VICCIFN Expresses Disappointment at the Closure of National Contaminants Program

Peter is holding a seal

In late May, the Department of Fisheries made the decision to close their national contaminants program. Staff of this program, most notably Dr. Peter Ross, have been instrumental to the forming of the Vancouver Island & Coastal Communities Indigenous Foods Network. Dr. Ross has worked to study and inform Canadian governments, communities, and area First Nations of the levels of contamination of local are seafood and the intake safety of consuming these foods.   His research has also focused on the disastrous impact of contaminants on marine environments.

More specifically, Dr. Ross has provided a breadth of knowledge and understanding to VICCIFN and area First Nations on identifying traditional foods that are safe to eat, and has encouraged their benefits over western foods. In the past, Dr. Ross has played a large role in the formation of VICCIFN’s annual Traditional Foods Conference. He has shared his experiences and knowledge, supporting the cross section of traditional knowledge and scientific understanding of what ocean-based foods are safe to eat, and on the impact of the western lifestyle on traditional food systems.

Dr. Peter S. Ross was laid off from his job as a Research Scientist (Marine mammal toxicologist) with the Institute of Ocean Sciences (Fisheries and Oceans Canada) in Sidney, British Columbia, Canada. He had a research program on (1) the effects of persistent environmental contaminants on the health of marine mammals and (2) the sources, movement and fate of persistent environmental contaminants in marine food chains. He conducted his research in collaboration with colleagues at universities and government laboratories in Canada and internationally. Dr. Ross is an Adjunct Professor at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Burnaby, B.C., and supervises graduate students at SFU, the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria. Dr. Ross obtained his PhD from the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences (Utrecht University, the Netherlands), MSc from Dalhousie University (Halifax, Nova Scotia), and BSc (Honours) from Trent University (Peterborough, Ontario).

Peter Ross will be presenting at the 5th Annual Indigenous Foods Conference on Protecting Traditional Foods From Pollution; What Can We Do?. The Conference will be held on September 28th and 29th in Port Alberni, BC with support from Tseshaht First Nation, Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, Vancouver Island Health Authority, and VanCity.

For more information please contact

Nitanis Desjarlais