End of Plastic Grocery Bags on Fogo Island

May 29, 2015 (Fogo Island, NL) – The Shorefast Foundation, in cooperation with the Town of Fogo Island, is pleased to announce that as of August 1, 2015, the grocery stores in the ten communities on Fogo Island will offer alternatives to the use of disposable plastic bags to their customers.

Fogo Island will be the first town in the province to adopt this important conservation initiative to benefit the marine environment, the creatures that live in and around our ocean as well as the general human environment. Today’s announcement follows a successful pilot project launched in 2014 by Dawe’s Store in Seldom. It is estimated that some 30,000 plastic bags each year will no longer find their way into the ocean or our landfills or pollute our communities on Fogo Island because of this effort.

“Plastic bags pose a serious threat to the animals and seabirds that depend on the ocean for their food,” says Gordon Slade, Chair of the Shorefast Foundation and its Ocean Advisor. “To a sea turtle such as the leatherback, a plastic shopping bag looks like a jellyfish – their primary source of food. Plastic pellets from which plastic is made look like fish eggs to seabirds. Scientists tell us there could be hundreds of Leatherback turtles migrating to our shores in the summer and early autumn each year.”

The Archipelago of Islands around Fogo Island, including Change Islands, Little Fogo Islands, Funk Island, Wadham Islands and Indian Islands, are the nesting grounds for hundreds of thousands of seabirds. “We congratulate the grocery stores on Fogo Island for their support and cooperation” says Slade. “We also want to thank the Marine Institute, the provincial Department of Environment and Conservation and Scotiabank for their encouragement and generous support.”

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About Shorefast Foundation: Shorefast Foundation is a registered charity and social enterprise that uses business approaches to achieve social ends. Shorefast’s major project includes the multi-award-winning Fogo Island Inn, Fogo Island Arts and Fogo Island Shop. These diverse projects draw upon the traditional skills of Fogo Islanders to help generate the social, cultural and economic capital necessary for Fogo Island to thrive in the 21st century and beyond.

Shorefast’s multi-part Ocean Ethic Program focuses on encouraging protection of the marine environment and the sustainable use of its resources. The Program is community-based and fosters collaboration among fishers, scientists, academic researchers and government departments. Current projects range from ocean education to user-centered research to a cod potting technique to harvest high quality fish and a marine interpretation centre.

For further information, please contact: Gordon Slade, Board Chair, at gordonslade@shorefast.org or (709) 682-4131.

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