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Conservationists welcome Canada’s largest marine protected area & call for strong protection of site

  • Published on Aug 24 2017 |
  • This article is tagged as: oceans

Conservationists welcome Canada’s largest marine protected area and call for strong protection of site

Ottawa, ON – The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) congratulates the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, Government of Nunavut, and Parks Canada on the recent announcement of the new and larger final boundary for the proposed Tallurutiup Imanga/Lancaster Sound National Marine Conservation Area.

“Tallurutiup Imanga is an area of incredible ecological and cultural importance to the people of Nunavut and all Canadians. We are glad to see the final boundary expanded to capture much more of this significant and vulnerable area, and we hope that all 109,000 square kilometers will be strongly protected,” said Sabine Jessen, CPAWS National Ocean Program Director.

Tallurtutiup Imanga is often referred to as the “Serengeti of the Arctic,” because of the incredible diversity of marine life that lives here - from polar bears, to beluga and narwhal, and seabirds. “The area is home to an incredible diversity of marine life and those animals and ecosystems are facing increasing pressure from climate change and the increased industrial access that will come with receding sea ice,” said Jessen.

Prior to this agreement, the proposed boundary covered an area of 43,000 square kilometers and was bordered to the east by a large area of seafloor covered by Shell Oil and Gas exploration permits. In 2016, Shell Canada relinquished these exploration permits, allowing for the expansion of the proposed boundary.

“We have long supported the Qikiqtani Inuit Association’s desire for a larger area to be protected,” said Éric Hébert-Daly, National Executive Director of CPAWS. “The previous boundary omitted some important areas for both wildlife and indigenous communities, and having oil and gas exploration on its doorstep would have put this marine protected area and the wildlife and communities that depend on it at risk,” adds Hébert-Daly.

CPAWS is now looking to the governments of Canada and Nunavut and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association to make sure that this area is strongly protected.

“There is still the potential for oil and gas exploration elsewhere in the arctic, as well as increased industrial shipping and commercial fishing. Arctic ecosystems and wildlife are already struggling to cope with climate change,” said Jessen. “We hope that not only is this Canada’s largest marine protected area, but also one of its most strongly protected, with all harmful activities clearly prohibited,” Jessen adds.

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For More Information Contact:
Sabine Jessen, National Ocean Program Director, CPAWS
(604) 657-2813, sabine@cpawsbc.org