Today, we celebrate a victory for marine habitat protection! A newly created Marine Protected Area (MPA) encompasses 1,000 square kilometres of the Banc-des-Américains, a submarine bank off of Quebec's Gaspé Peninsula. The new MPA was announced today by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Government of Quebec. We partnered with Fisheries and Oceans Canada in 2017 to conduct an expedition in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, including the Banc-des-Américains. During the expedition, the wealth of biodiversity in the area was captured through the use of a robotic submersible. This enabled the expedition team to take samples as well as high-definition photos and videos of the diverse wildlife on the seafloor.
The Banc-des-Américains is characterized by steep cliffs and sheer drop offs that extend from the coastline down to depths of over 150 metres. It is a highly productive and important area for a wide range of species including corals, sponges, forage fishes and large migratory marine mammals. The area also provides critical habitats for species-at-risk, including Atlantic wolffish and the North Atlantic right whale.
Learn more about how Oceana Canada is working to protect marine habitat here or read the press release here.