WWF-Canada welcomes new Marine Protected Area

Strong protections announced for Anguniaqvia niqiqyuam

TORONTO, Nov. 16, 2016 /CNW/ - WWF-Canada applauds today's announcement by the government of Canada and Northern partners establishing a new Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the Beaufort Sea near the community of Paulatuk, N.W.T. Anguniaqvia niqiqyuam (Darnley Bay) is home to a variety of Arctic wildlife, and is the first MPA in Canada where conservation objectives will be guided by Indigenous traditional knowledge. This MPA prioritizes the conservation of species and their habitats and will prohibit oil and gas exploitation, mining and activities such as commercial fishing.

Paul Crowley, director of WWF-Canada's Arctic program, said:
"Darnley Bay is a critical western Arctic habitat for several marine species, including belugas, polar bears, Arctic char, whitefish and seabirds. We are pleased to hear it is being protected for the health of species and the coastal communities that depend on them. This designation is an example of how governments and communities can work collaboratively, using both science and traditional knowledge to define meaningful boundaries and protections."

David Miller, president and CEO of WWF-Canada, said:
"Globally, oceans have suffered a 36 per cent decline in wildlife populations since just 1970. Healthy oceans depend on a network of marine protected areas, and these areas are most effective when they have high ecological standards. We are especially pleased that the new Anguniaqvia niqiqyuam (Darnley Bay) Marine Protected Area includes strong protections that will prevent commercial fishing and exploration for oil, gas and minerals within its boundaries. As Canada works to fulfill its commitment of five per cent marine protection by 2017, and 10 per cent by 2020, it's crucial that new MPAs meet these standards, as Anguniaqvia niqiqyuam will."

About World Wildlife Fund Canada
WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more information, visit wwf.ca.

SOURCE WWF-Canada

For further information: Sarah MacWhirter, senior manager, strategic communications, smacwhirter@wwfcanada.org, +1 416-347-1894.

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