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CPAWS welcomes an important step forward on new marine protected areas in Quebec:

Federal Government and Quebec to explore new ocean protection around les îles de la Madeleine

December 5th,2011

Ottawa -- CPAWS welcomes today’s announcement by the federal and Quebec governments that they will jointly launch a feasibility assessment for a new marine protected area in les îles de la Madeleine. The last marine protected area the two governments jointly created in Quebec was the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park -- established 13 years ago in 1998.

“Last June, CPAWS put forth a challenge to the federal government to establish 12 new marine protected areas by the end of 2012. Les îles de la Madeleine were identified as one of our priority sites. We congratulate Parks Canada and the Quebec Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks on this announcement and hope it’s one of many more to come,” says Sabine Jessen, CPAWS National Oceans Conservation Manager.

With only 1% of Canada’s oceans protected, Canada lags far behind other countries in marine conservation.  Seven years ago, Canada made a commitment under the International Convention on Biological Diversity to establish a comprehensive network of marine protected areas. Today’s announcement helps to advance the commitment made by both governments to work together in establishing a network of marine protected areas.

“This also represents a positive step in meeting the ambitious commitment by Pierre Arcand, Quebec Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks, to protect 10% of the province’s marine areas by 2015,” adds Jerome Spaggiari, ocean conservation manager at CPAWS’ Quebec chapter. 

Situated in the center of the Gulf of St-Lawrence, les îles de la Madeleine offer a stunning diversity of marine ecosystems and are home to important populations of Roseate Tern and Piping Plovers. “After years of political differences over the establishment of marine protected areas in Quebec waters, we now have reason to be optimistic about the progress to be made in Quebec and nationally,” says Spaggiari.  “We look forward to working with the Quebec and federal governments, as well as with local communities on les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, to conserve this important ocean ecosystem.”


For interviews, contact Holly Postlethwaite (613) 569-7226 x 232
Learn more about CPAWS 12 by 2012 challenge at
CPAWS is Canada’s voice for wilderness. Since 1963, CPAWS has played a lead role in creating over two-thirds of Canada’s protected areas. Read more at:


Parks Canada's official press release

 Quebec Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks' official press release, agreement and map for les îles de la Madeleine