Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

June 10, 2005 09:11 ET

DFO: Final Consultations Launched for Four Marine Protected Areas

CHARLOTTETOWN, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND--(CCNMatthews - June 10, 2005) - Parliamentary Secretary Shawn Murphy, on behalf of Geoff Regan, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, today announced the launch of final public consultations for four new marine protected areas in Atlantic Canada.

"We have been working closely with Canadians throughout the development of these marine protected areas," said Minister Regan. "Now, with the launch of the final consultations process, we are moving that much closer to designating four new MPAs in Canada, bringing our national total to six, and I look forward to the establishment of more new sites in the future. Our goal of creating a network of marine protected areas is truly becoming a reality."

The four regions being considered as marine protected areas include Basin Head (Prince Edward Island), Musquash Estuary (New Brunswick), Gilbert Bay (Newfoundland and Labrador) and Eastport (Newfoundland and Labrador). It is anticipated that final MPA designation should occur during the Fall, 2005.

"As an Islander, I understand first hand the importance of developing and protecting our oceans for future generations," said Mr. Murphy. "By moving ahead with these, and other marine protected areas, the Government of Canada is fulfilling its commitment under the Oceans Action Plan to ensure the improved health of our oceans."

The Basin Head location is being considered 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.

The Musquash Estuary is one of the last ecologically intact estuaries in the Bay of Fundy. It is in a rare, undisturbed condition and is an outstanding example of a fully functioning estuary and salt marsh complex.

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 colour fish is found only in Gilbert Bay and lives there year-round.

Initiated by local lobster fishermen, the Eastport MPA seeks 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.

This final consultation phase relates to regulations designating these regions as marine protected areas. Canadians will have 30 days to provide comments once public notice appears in the Canada Gazette Part I on June 18, 2005.

Further information about this announcement and Canada's oceans agenda are available on the DFO Internet site at

Contact Information

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Gulf Region
    Noella Richard
    Communications Manager
    (506) 851-7747
    Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa
    Sujata Raisinghani
    Press Secretary, Office of the Minister
    (613) 992-3474