CPAWS-NL is thrilled of the establishment of Canada’s newest MPA:
Banc-des-Américains, Quebec! Please read below the statement from CPAWS’ Quebec Chapter (SNAP) about its release and information of the area.
Montreal, March 6, 2019 – The Society for Nature and Parks (SNAP Québec) is pleased with the official announcement of the establishment of the Banc-des-Américains Marine Protected Area (MPA) in Gaspésie, the result of several years of consultation and consultation between various actors. This is the first Marine Protected Area (MPA) set up in Quebec under Canada’s Oceans Act.
An area of ecological and biological importance
Located off the Gaspé Peninsula and covering an area of 1,000 km2, the Banc-des-Américains Marine Protected Area aims to promote the protection of an exceptional and fragile marine habitat that is home to a rich biodiversity, including species at risk such as the leatherback turtle and the Atlantic right whale.
The area is indeed frequented by many species of waterfowl, marine mammals and fish such as blue whales and Atlantic wolves. The American Bank also offers significant potential as a refuge for several populations of economically valuable fish, including the southern Gulf cod stock.
The regulations include significant restrictions on fodder fish, which are prey to carnivorous species, which should assist in the recovery of species at risk that frequent the MPA.
An encouraging announcement for the achievement of conservation targets
With this new marine protected area, Québec is moving up to 1.9% of its protected marine territory and is taking a first step towards creating an integrated and representative network of marine areas. protected areas in the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence region.
“With a Canada-Quebec Agreement on Marine Protected Areas now signed and many fine plans underway, we are confident that Quebec and Canada will meet their commitments by the end of 2020”says Alain Branchaud, biologist and director general of SNAP Quebec. “A few months ahead of schedule, we invite governments to involve community organizations and create the conditions for collaboration. “
While there is still some way to go to achieve the international target of 10% of marine protected areas by 2020, this announcement sends a very positive signal about the determination of governments to respect their commitments and to put in place a network of effective marine protected areas.
The St. Lawrence still threatened by oil activities
The protected marine area of Banc-des-Américains becomes the only place, across the entire Gulf of St. Lawrence, to permanently prohibit any oil and gas activity. While industrial activities pose many risks to the health of marine ecosystems, the St. Lawrence is still under threat.
“The protected marine area of Banc-des-Américains will prohibit, within its perimeter, any activity of exploration or exploitation of oil and gas. This good news should not make us forget that an exploration license is still in effect at the Old Harry site, not far from the Magdalen Islands, and could potentially endanger the integrity of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. . Only a complete moratorium on oil and gas activities on the entire Gulf could ensure long-term protection, “ says Sylvain Archambault, biologist at SNAP Quebec and spokesperson for the St. Lawrence Coalition.
Communications Manager, SNAP Québec
Office: 514-278-7627 # 221