ST. JOHN'S (CP) - Millions of seabirds have vanished since offshore oil production started off Newfoundland 20 years ago, and researchers say there's an urgent need to better monitor related environmental effects.
They say a colony of small nocturnal birds called Leach's storm petrels has shrunk dramatically.
Biologist Gail Fraser of York University says there's a glaring lack of consistent scientific monitoring and independent oversight.
She says the federal-provincial regulator for offshore sites doesn't require all operators to assess how often the birds are killed when they fly into artificial light.
She says the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board should require all operators to use light deflectors and allow independent observers.
Seabird specialist Bill Montevecchi of Memorial University of Newfoundland says there's a conflict of interest as operators self-report environmental incidents for which they're liable.