Vancouver, BC – Today, the Honorable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, designated Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound Glass Sponge Reefs as the newest Marine Protected Area (MPA). The announcement is part of the government’s ongoing commitment to creating a national network of MPAs and is another step towards meeting domestic and international targets of protecting five per cent of marine and coastal areas by 2017 and 10 per cent by 2020.
“We are encouraged that Minister LeBlanc is delivering on the government’s MPA targets. This demonstrates a real commitment to protecting Canada’s oceans, a natural resource that our economy and people depend on,” said Josh Laughren, Executive Director, Oceana Canada. “This announcement is the result of many years of work by environmental groups in British Columbia, fishers, scientists and the government and we applaud their efforts.”
The new MPA protects marine areas along the Pacific North Coast, southeast of Haida Gwaii, between the northern and southern entrance to the Douglas Chanel. The area is nationally and internationally recognized as unique due to the value and delicacy of the glass sponge reefs.
“By establishing this MPA, we are protecting vital habitat that supports the recovery of Canada’s depleted fisheries and will help restore abundance to our oceans” said Laughren.
Protecting the biodiversity of our oceans is extremely important to ensure that commercial fisheries are successful in the long-term. Our seafood industry is worth $6 billion and employs more than 79,000 Canadians. We need to make science- and ecosystem-based decisions about our fisheries and the habitat that supports them so it can continue to sustain communities and regional economies for generations to come.
To learn more about how Canada can rebuild its ocean abundance, visit oceana.ca/campaigns.
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About Oceana Canada
Oceana Canada was established in 2015 as an independent charity and is part of the largest international group dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Canada has the longest coastline in the world, with an ocean surface area of 7.1 million square kilometres, or 70 per cent of its landmass. Oceana Canada believes that we have an obligation to our country, and the world, to manage our natural resources responsibly and provide a sustainable source of protein for a growing world.
Oceana Canada works with civil society, academics, fishers and government to return Canada's formerly vibrant oceans to health and abundance. By restoring Canada's oceans, we can strengthen our communities, reap greater economic and nutritional benefits, and protect our future. To learn more, please visit www.oceana.ca.