FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, March 22, 2018
KJIPUKTUK (Halifax, NS) – Today, Fisheries and Oceans Canada declared two new areas for potential protection as marine protected areas under the Canada’s Oceans Act. The areas include the Fundian Channel, known for its deep sea coral concentrations and depleted groundfish species and an inshore area on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore. In addition, a new offshore area will be designated under the Fisheries Act to protect deep sea canyons and associated ecosystems.
This is the latest step towards meeting international commitments under the Convention of Biological Diversity to protect 10% of marine and coastal areas by 2020. Canada has been well behind other coastal countries in protecting marine areas, however significant progress has been made over the last two years in advancing a conservation agenda for our coasts and oceans.
“We welcome this progress and look forward to working with the fishing industry, coastal communities as well as the federal government on the next steps,” says Susanna Fuller, Senior Marine Coordinator. “There is an incredible opportunity to develop a meaningful bottom up process for the Eastern Shore area, particularly considering all of the groundwork that has been laid by the 100 Wild Islands Initiative.”
Canada has also committed to establishing networks of protected areas to ensure connectivity between sites. Atlantic Canada is also highly dependent on ocean-based resources, particularly fisheries, and stewardship and protection of the marine environment, including increasing protection to enable resilience from climate related impacts is an important aspect of ensuring that the marine environment continues to provide for coastal livelihoods.
“The Eastern Shore community has worked hard to protect its natural environment from open net pen aquaculture and has already done significant work to restore wild salmon populations,” says Travis Aten, Marine Conservation Officer for the EAC. “It will be imperative that communities and the fishing industry are a key part of determining the objectives and ultimate management and monitoring of this area.”
The offshore sites selected will continue the efforts to protect deep sea ecosystems and vulnerable coral communities, providing connectivity between areas protected outside the 200-mile limit by the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) and efforts to protect subsea canyons within US waters.
“Nova Scotia is known as Canada’s Ocean Playground – and it is important that part of our legacy be protecting the incredible biodiversity and ecosystems that are behind this name,” says Fuller. “Increased use of the ocean by multiple industries needs to be met with an equivalent amount of protection as oceans are under threat from centuries of use and neglect.
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For further information, please contact:
Susanna D. Fuller
Senior Marine Coordinator
Marine Conservation Officer