June 8 , 2010
OTTAWA, June 8, 2010 – To mark World Oceans Day, the Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, today announced two Areas of Interest for potential designation as Marine Protected Areas under the Oceans Act. On behalf of the Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of the Environment, Minister Shea also announced three new National Wildlife Areas.
At an event at the Museum of Nature, Minister Shea announced the Hecate Strait/Queen Charlotte Sound glass sponge reefs as an Area of Interest within the Pacific North Coast, and an area of rich biodiversity within the Laurentian Channel as an Area of Interest off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. This represents another key step towards fulfilling the Government’s commitment to establish a national network of Marine Protected Areas by 2012.
“World Oceans Day is a time to acknowledge the vested interest all Canadians have in ensuring the health of our oceans,” said Minister Shea. “The identification of these two new Areas of Interest – one on the west coast and one on the east coast – demonstrates not only our commitment to conservation and protection, but also our commitment to ensuring that ocean resources thrive for the benefit of our communities.”
A Marine Protected Area (MPA) is a protective designation for an area that significantly contributes to the health of marine ecosystems and its resources. As part of the Health of the Oceans Initiative, the Government of Canada has already designated several MPAs, and is committed to establishing a network of MPAs by 2012. The first step in this process is the identification of an Area of Interest. The area will then undergo detailed evaluation, and public consultation before a decision is made to formally designate it as an MPA.
On behalf of the Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of the Environment, Minister Shea also announced the creation of three new National Wildlife Areas in Nunavut: Ninginganiq National Wildlife Area (Isabella Bay), the Akpait National Wildlife Area, and the Qaqulluit National Wildlife Area.
“Working together with the local communities, our Government is taking bold steps to protect Canada’s Arctic,” said Minister Prentice. “By taking action to protect the majestic and iconic bowhead whale, the Government is not only helping to preserve precious natural areas, but we are also asserting Canada’s sovereignty in the High Arctic."
“There is no better day than today, World Oceans Day. And this being, the International Year of Biodiversity, what better day to announce measures that are going to protect sensitive land, water, our oceans and species at risk,” said Minister Shea. “The identification of these two Areas of Interest and the creation of these three new National Wildlife Areas demonstrate the Government of Canada’s commitment to conserving and protecting our country’s unparalleled natural beauty.”
World Oceans Day is celebrated globally on June 8. It follows Canadian Environment Week (May 31 – June 5) and coincides with the start of Rivers to Oceans Week (June 8 -14).
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Office of the Minister
Fisheries and Oceans Canada