CPAWS Welcomes Progress on Lancaster Sound National Marine Conservation Area

OTTAWA – Today, CPAWS welcomed the announcement by the federal government that existing leases held by Shell Canada would be relinquished to allow the opportunity for expanded ocean conservation in Canada’s arctic. “We are very pleased to learn that Shell Canada has recognized ecological and cultural significance of Lancaster Sound and has relinquished its leases in areas of importance for the Inuit people and for conservation of wildlife” said Sabine Jessen, CPAWS National Oceans Program Director. “It demonstrates the value of working together to find solutions”. “This development makes larger conservation outcomes and boundaries possible, coming much closer to what the Qikiqtani Inuit Association had been looking for in their 2012 report on Lancaster Sound, Tallurutiup Tariunga Inulik”, said Jessen. “CPAWS appreciates the important role of the Nature Conservancy of Canada towards this outcome,”, said Éric Hébert-Daly, CPAWS National Executive Director. “When conservationists come together with indigenous partners to pool our resources and our ingenuity, we can accomplish great things.” Last week, CPAWS released a report on marine conservation progress in North America which highlighted the weak performance of Canada on the world stage when it comes to protecting our oceans. Lancaster Sound is a region of high biodiversity and a critical passageway for narwhals, belugas and bowhead whales as well as millions of seabirds. “Protecting this precious area could contribute significantly to the government’s goal of protecting at least 10% of Canada’s oceans by 2020” suggested Hébert-Daly, “but the work on this site still needs focused attention if we’re going to make it happen”. CPAWS is a nation-wide conservation charity with a vision to protect at least half of Canada’s oceans and land. It works collaboratively with indigenous, provincial, territorial and federal governments, industry, and local communities to achieve its goal. For more information Sabine Jessen, National Director, Oceans Program, CPAWS [email protected] or 604-657-2813 or for interviews Alexandra Barron Ocean Conservation Manager, CPAWS-BC [email protected] or 604-685-7445 ext. 32