Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

October 11, 2005 13:47 ET

DFO: Minister Regan Announces Three New Marine Protected Areas in Eastern Canada

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 11, 2005) - Geoff Regan, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, today announced the designation of three new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Eastern Canada-Basin Head (Prince Edward Island), Gilbert Bay (Labrador), and Eastport (Newfoundland).

"We have now designated five Marine Protected Areas, and are well on our way to fulfilling our international commitment to establish an MPA network," said Minister Regan. "Many thanks to all stakeholders and members of the communities who participated in the consultation process and supported this initiative."

The Basin Head, Gilbert Bay, and Eastport MPAs, along with Musquash Estuary (New Brunswick), entered the final consultation phase in June 2005. Although consultations are still ongoing for Musquash Estuary, it is expected to reach final designation as a Marine Protected Area this fall.

The Basin Head location has been designated primarily for the conservation and protection of a unique strain of Irish moss and its habitat. This particular strain of Irish moss has a unique life cycle and is found only in the Basin Head lagoon.

While Gilbert Bay is home to a wide range of fish, shellfish, aquatic plants, and waterfowl, it is of particular interest because of a genetically distinct species of northern cod. The reddish-brown to golden coloured fish is found only in Gilbert Bay and lives there year-round.

Initiated by local lobster fishermen, the Eastport MPA will help to conserve two prime lobster spawning and rearing grounds. As part of an overall conservation strategy for the area, the Eastport Peninsula lobster fish harvesters requested that DFO close Round Island and Duck Island to all commercial and recreational fishing. Scientific evidence suggests that this action has sustained, and perhaps enhanced, the adjacent lobster fishery. Fisheries and Oceans Canada is continuing to work in partnership with the fish harvesters and the community to protect these lobster stocks.

These three MPAs are being designated as part of the first phase of the Government of Canada's broader Oceans Action Plan, which was released in May 2005. Phase I will continue to be rolled out over the next 18 months, during which time five additional MPAs are expected to be announced. They include:

- Musquash Estuary (New Brunswick);
Tarium Niryutait (Northwest Territories);
- Bowie Seamount (British Columbia);
- St. Lawrence Estuary (Quebec); and
- Manicouagan Peninsula (Quebec).

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is continuing to work towards the designation of another two MPAs: Race Rocks (British Columbia) and Leading Tickles (Newfoundland and Labrador).

DFO, Environment Canada, and Parks Canada each deliver distinct programs to protect marine life, migratory birds, and their habitats. The three departments are working together under Canada's Federal Marine Protected Areas Strategy to establish a network of marine protected areas. This coordinated approach will more effectively contribute to the improved health, integrity, and productivity of our ocean ecosystems for generations to come.

For more information on the MPAs listed above, the Federal Marine Protected Areas Strategy, or the Oceans Action Plan, please visit

Contact Information

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa
    Sophie Galarneau
    Media Relations
    (613) 990-7537
    Office of the Minister
    Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa
    Sujata Raisinghani
    Press Secretary
    (613) 992-3474