New Fisheries Closures Mark Progress in Canada’s Ocean Protection Agenda

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, December 21, 2017

[KJIPUKTUK (Halifax)] – Today, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced seven new fisheries closures stretching from the Newfoundland Shelf all the way to the Eastern Arctic and totaling 145,598 km squared. All bottom fishing activity, including traps, longlines, gillnets and bottom trawls will be prohibited. These measures protect just over 2.5% of Canada’s ocean habitat and bring us closer to reaching our international commitment of 10% by 2020.

“The Eastern Arctic closures provide critical protection to sensitive deep water coral and sponge aggregations,” says Trevor Taylor Vice President of Conservation at Oceans North. “The closure of these areas demonstrates how collaboration between environmental organizations, the fishing industry and DFO can lead to robust marine protection and ensure continued opportunity for Inuit communities to benefit from the fishery.”

This announcement marks the first protection of sensitive areas within Canadian waters on the Newfoundland and Labrador shelf. In the past, large areas have been protected from bottom fishing outside the 200-mile limit in the Northwest Atlantic, through measures agreed to by the Northwest Atlantic Fishing Organization (NAFO).

“These closures mark significant progress in an evolution of how we manage our fisheries and oceans,” says Susanna Fuller, Senior Marine Coordinator with the Ecology Action Centre. “The closures were based on scientific evidence, and all parties involved were able to bring their expertise to the table.”

DFO science advice recommends that at least 70% of known areas of corals, sponges and seapens be protected through implementation of the 2009 Sensitive Benthic Areas policy. As DFO progresses to meet the international targets and ensures meaningful conservation of important marine areas, it is expected that some current fisheries closures will be enhanced by full protection through other legal measures. 

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For further information, please contact:

Trevor Taylor | Oceans North, Vice President of Conservation | trevortaylor@oceansnorth.ca | 613-290-4498

Susanna Fuller | Senior Marine Coordinator, Ecology Action Centre | marine@ecologyaction.ca | 902-483-5033

 

      

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