OTTAWA, June 23, 2017 /CNW/ - Resilient and healthy ecosystems help to support sustainable industries, local economies and coastal communities across Canada. That is why the Government of Canada is taking more action to help conserve, protect and restore marine biodiversity and ecosystem function by proposing the Laurentian Channel off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador as a Marine Protected Area (MPA) under Canada's Oceans Act.
The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, today announced the launch of a 30-day public consultation period on this proposed Marine Protected Area. This consultation is part of the pre-publication of the proposed regulations in Canada Gazette Part I on June 24, 2017. The Government of Canada will consider comments provided by the public during the consultation period when formulating the final regulations that will establish and govern the new MPA.
Located off the southwest coast of Newfoundland, the Laurentian Channel is a unique habitat within Newfoundland and Labrador waters thanks to complex circulation and oceanographic conditions. This proposed MPA aims to protect important aquatic species and the habitats that support them. This area is home to the highest concentration of black dogfish in Canadian waters and is the only place where pupping occurs. It is an important spawning, nursing, and feeding area for a variety of species including porbeagle shark and smooth skate. It is a critical migration route for marine mammals moving in and out of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and two Species at Risk – the Northern wolffish and Leatherback sea turtle – are found in this area. The Laurentian Channel also has one of the highest concentrations of sea pens, which are soft feather-shaped corals, within the Newfoundland and Labrador Bioregion.
The establishment of the proposed MPA will help replenish depleted fish stocks by creating a refuge for them and protecting their habitat within the designated area. As fish populations increase within the proposed MPA, they will spill over into surrounding areas, allowing for their sustainable harvest and associated economic benefits in the future.
The proposed MPA is the result of collaboration with Indigenous communities, the fishing industry, the oil and gas industry, environmental non-government organizations, local stakeholders and governments at all levels.
"Our government is committed to protecting 5% of Canada's marine areas by this year and 10% by 2020. This target will be achieved through sound science and transparent decision-making, and in meaningful consultation with Canadians. We look forward to listening to what Canadians have to say about this proposed Marine Protected Area, which aims to protect and conserve important species and habitat so that they can be enjoyed by generations to come. "
The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
- The Regulations establish two management zones, offering the most stringent protection to the areas that need it most. Together the zones ensure the conservation and protection of biological diversity, habitat, and biological productivity of the Laurentian Channel area.
- The Regulations will be published on June 24, launching a 30-day consultation period where all Canadians are invited to review the regulations and provide their comments to the Government of Canada.
Laurentian Channel Proposed Marine Protected Area
Leatherback Sea Turtle
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SOURCE Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Canada
For further information: Media Relations, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 613-990-7537, Media.firstname.lastname@example.org; Laura Gareau, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 613-992-3474, Laura.Gareau@dfo-mpo.gc.ca