The establishment of the southwest fjords of Newfoundland as an NMCA will preserve both the endangered communities and the endangered ecosystem - both of which are important criteria in choosing the sites for Canada’s future network of marine protected areas.
National Marine Conservation Area’s (NMCA’s) are essentially national parks found in the marine environment which can include coasts, wetlands, estuaries, islands, and the seabed and the water column above it. It protects the area from oil and gas exploration and development, undersea mining and ocean dumping; however, it does allow for traditional community uses such as fishing. It promotes the sustainable use of the marine environment in recognition that there may be multiple human uses occurring in one marine ecosystem. NMCA’s encourage zoning within the national marine park indentifying which areas are suitable for which human uses and also supports zones of high protection similar to national parks on land.
Parks Canada has divided Canada’s marine regions into 29 sites and has indicated that their goal is to create NMCA’s in all of these 29 regions. The Laurentian Channel region includes the southwest coast of Newfoundland and they have identified the southwest coast fjords as a representative marine area within this region.
Located between Port-aux- Basques and the Burin Peninsula, the southwest fjords of Newfoundland offer a stunning coastal landscape from low sandy beaches in the west to immense granite cliffs and deep fjords in the east. It is the largest undeveloped alpine coastline in Canada. Ice-free year-round, these fjords are a haven for blue, humpback, fin and killer whales in the winter, and are the habitat of endangered leatherback turtles in the summer.
In addition, This biologically rich area is home to:
Already identified by Parks Canada as one of three possible NMCAs in Canada, the groundwork has been laid in establishing its ecological value. The federal and provincial governments have already identified the need for a feasibility study, but the protracted decision-making process for NMCA establishment leaves the area vulnerable to petroleum exploration and overfishing.
The historic culture of the area is also under threat as a result in the decline in fish stocks; and the establishment of an NMCA will offer an economic boost to the area through increased eco-tourism.
Community-driven MPAs in Eastport, Newfoundland have enhanced lobster catches in both quantity and quality. The communities on the Southwest Coast of Newfoundland have the opportunity to be champions of marine conservation and community management in Newfoundland by protecting its fisheries.
Send a letter to the minister demonstrating your support towards the establishment of a National Marine Conservation Area for the southcoast area.
Send a letter to the editor expressing the importance of protecting this valuable marine area.
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