Strong regulations make St. Anns Bank a model for Canadian marine protection

World Oceans Day announcement protects leatherback turtle habitat

HALIFAX, June 9 2017 /CNW/ - WWF-Canada welcomes the federal government's World Oceans Day announcement that St. Anns Bank has been officially designated as a marine protected area (MPA) under the Oceans Act. It's the first new MPA of 2017 as Canada works toward a goal to protect five per cent of waters by the end of this year.

The bank, an area off the coast of Cape Breton about the size of Lake Manitoba, is an important habitat for leatherback sea turtles and at-risk Atlantic wolfish, and the regulations, proposed in December 2016, meet international standards for strong marine protection.

Protections for the St. Anns Bank MPA include: 

  • 75 per cent of the area closed to commercial fishing.
  • Destructive fishing gear, such as bottom trawl nets, banned in the entire MPA, with low-impact fishing still allowed in specific zones.
  • A total ban on oil and gas exploration.

David Miller, president and CEO of WWF-Canada, says:
"St. Anns Bank should be seen a model for all future marine protected areas, with its limits on commercial fishing and a total ban on oil and gas exploration. WWF-Canada worked for years to bring protections to St. Anns Bank, and we are very pleased by the official designation, which will give meaningful protection to species such as leatherback turtles and wolffish. It will provide a haven for ocean wildlife and a place for struggling populations to recover with less pressure from human activities."

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


For further information: Catharine Tunnacliffe, communications specialist,, +1 647 268 9686


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