The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) commends the Governments of Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador for coming together to identify measures to protect not only the livelihood of provincial residents but also the ecologically rich region of the Laurentian Channel.
The joint decision to not allow oil and gas activities in the proposed Laurentian Channel marine protected area (MPA) shows the government took into consideration the overwhelming public view, expressed by over 70,000 people, that oil and gas should not be permitted in this area.
While the final regulations from the Government of Canada have not yet been released, CPAWS is optimistic about what this agreement means for the Laurentian Channel, which could be the largest fully protected MPA in Canada.
CPAWS has been striving for the protection of the Laurentian Channel since it was first announced as an Area of Interest on World Oceans Day in June 2010. It is a biodiversity hotspot, located off the southwest coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, covering an area of 11,619km2.
The Laurentian Channel also provides a critical migration route for many species – including 20 species of whales, including endangered North Atlantic right whales and blue whales – is an important spawning, nursery and feeding area for species such as Atlantic cod, redfish and smooth skate, and habitat for rare species such as porbeagle sharks, leatherback sea turtles and Northern wolffish.
CPAWS will continue to advocate for the full protection of this incredibly important area and welcomes the opportunity to work with governments as the final regulations are developed.