GASPÉ, QC, March 6, 2019 /CNW/ - The health and protection of our oceans is essential for our environment and our economy. The Government of Canada has made significant progress in protecting its three oceans and its coastlines by ensuring that they are safer, cleaner and healthier for future generations.
The Minister of National Revenue and Member of Parliament for Gaspésie—Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, on behalf of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, today announced the establishment of the Banc-des-Américains Marine Protected Area, which will provide long-term protection for this part of our oceans.
Located off the coast of the Gaspé Peninsula between Cap-Gaspé and Cap-d'Espoir, this Marine Protected Area covers 1,000 km2 where the Gaspé and Chaleur Bay currents meet. This biological crossroads is important for many species of fish and crustaceans, including endangered species such as whales and Spotted and Northern Wolffish.
The highly anticipated establishment of this marine protected area will make the Banc-des-Américains the first project under the Canada-Quebec Collaborative Agreement for the establishment of a network of marine protected areas in Quebec and in the Estuary and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The two governments will work together to protect this marine ecosystem. The newly protected area will have dual status: an aquatic reserve under Quebec law, and a marine protected area under the Oceans Act.
"The Government of Canada's achievements in marine conservation are made possible through close collaboration with all levels of government, local communities and Indigenous peoples, industry and environmental organizations. The government is working to achieve conservation while contributing to the socio-economic sustainability of coastal communities. Canada will continue to play a leadership role internationally as work continues here at home on the protection of oceans and on conservation initiatives."
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
"The Government of Canada is pleased to be working with various partners, including the Government of Quebec, to ensure the Banc-des-Américains Marine Protected Area remains a thriving hub of biodiversity and marine life for generations to come. Canada's coasts are home to some of the world's most extraordinary natural beauty and rich ecosystems. This announcement is a great example of how we can achieve effective ocean management and marine conservation when all interested parties work together towards a common goal."
The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue and Member of Parliament for Gaspésie—Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine
- The designation of the Banc-des-Américains will protect 1,000 km2 of ocean and contribute to the Government of Canada's commitment to protect 10% of Canada's marine and coastal areas by 2020.
- The Banc-des-Américains Marine Protected Area has many important ecological and biological features and supports an extraordinary range of marine habitat and species, including an abundance of commercially fished and forage species.
- The area has significant potential as a feeding ground for various species of fish and marine mammals, and could be an important habitat for groundfish populations.
- The Marine Protected Area is designed to protect seabed habitat and forage species, and to facilitate the recovery of certain species at risk, such as the Blue Whale, Spotted Wolffish and Northern Wolffish.
- The governments of Canada and Quebec are working together to protect this marine area, which will have a dual status, as an aquatic reserve under Quebec law, and as a marine protected area under the Oceans Act.
- The regulations for the Banc-des-Américains Marine Protected Area establish two management areas. Anchoring, commercial and recreational fishing activities are prohibited in Zone 1, the most sensitive area, but Indigenous fishing for food, social and ceremonial purposes will continue to be allowed. In Zone 2, commercial traps, longlines and hand line fishing will be allowed as long as they are not used to fish forage species.
- Oil and gas activities, discharge of sewage and release of grey water from large vessels are prohibited throughout the entire Marine Protected Area.
- Backgrounder – Banc-des-Américains
- Banc-des-Américains Marine Protected Area
- Marine Protected Area Networks: Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence
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SOURCE Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Canada
For further information: Jocelyn Lubczuk, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, 343-548-7863, [email protected]; Media Relations, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 613-990-7537, [email protected]