OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Nov. 16, 2016) - Canada is home to several unique marine environments that, due to their sensitive ecosystems and increasing amounts of human pressure, need to be conserved and protected for the benefit of our natural aquatic wildlife and all Canadians.
Today, Michael McLeod, Member of Parliament for Northwest Territories, together with the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, announced the establishment of a new Marine Protected Area in the Arctic. Located in the Beaufort Sea near the community of Paulatuk, Northwest Territories, the Anguniaqvia niqiqyuam Marine Protected Area was created in collaboration with the Inuvialuit, as well as partners from industry, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders.
This newly recognized Marine Protected Area was designated based on the best available scientific information, which shows that the area is highly ecologically productive and provides an important habitat for a number of marine species, such as Arctic char, cod, beluga whales, polar bears, ringed and bearded seals, and various birds. Further, the area is home to the only thick-billed murre bird colony in the western Canadian Arctic, and is a feeding ground for the nearby Cape Parry Migratory Bird Sanctuary. This is Canada's first Marine Protected Area with conservation objectives based specifically on Indigenous traditional knowledge.
To help maintain and safeguard the marine environment and species of the Anguniaqvia niqiqyuam Marine Protected Area, activities within the area that could disturb, damage, or destroy these living organisms and their habitats will be prohibited, with the exception of some activities that are vital for the long-term prosperity of the local community, such as navigation activities and dredging for the purpose of resupplying goods to the community. The designation of this new Marine Protected Area marks an important step in Canada's commitment to reaching its conservation targets of protecting 5% of marine and coastal areas by 2017, and 10% by 2020.
"Today's designation of the Anguniaqvia niqiqyuam Marine Protected Area is a concrete example of the Government of Canada's commitment to achieving our conservation targets of protecting 10% of our marine and coastal areas by 2020. It is also an example of the integral partnerships needed with local coastal communities to accomplish meaningful conservation objectives. I look forward to sustained collaboration with the Inuvialuit as we continue the important work of marine conservation in the Canadian Arctic. "
- Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
"The commitment of the Inuvialuit to this Marine Protected Area reflects our culture and priorities to sustain the marine ecosystem. This reaffirms the Inuvialuit and Canada's obligation to work collaboratively to implement the Inuvialuit Final Agreement: 'To preserve Inuvialuit cultural identity and values within a changing northern society.'"
- Duane Smith, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation
"As with the Tarium Niryutait Marine Protected Area, the FJMC will be very involved in Anguniaqvia niqiqyuam Marine Protected Area (MPA) management to support the goals of maintaining and safeguarding the marine environment and species, as per the third principle of the Inuvialuit Final Agreement: 'to protect and preserve the Arctic wildlife, environment and biological productivity'. The FJMC supports the Anguniaqvia niqiqyuam MPA designation, and would like to complement the efforts of the Paulatuk Hunters and Trappers Committee, the Paulatuk Community Corporation, the citizens of Paulatuk, the IGC, the IRC, the Western Arctic MPA Steering Committee, and the DFO and FJMC staff who worked so hard to make the Anguniaqvia niqiqyuam MPA a reality."
- Gerald Inglangasuk, FJMC Inuvialuit Member, Fisheries Joint Management Committee
"It's good to see that the we (the Inuvialuit) can collaborate with partners, in this case DFO, to work toward protecting areas that have been identified by our people and that are important to us, the wildlife, environment and marine ecosystem."
- Patrick Gruben, The Inuvialuit Game Council
"Anguniaqvia niqiqyuam is an important step in helping us as Inuvialuit people of the land, water and the skies, living with what the creator has provided us, protect and conserve tradition, culture, biodiversity and all that sustains us."
- Lawrence Ruben, The Paulatuk Hunters and Trappers Committee
"The Government of Canada is excited to take this important step to ensure the protection of this critical habitat which is home to a rich array of fish, marine mammals and other species. Collaboration with local communities is essential in continuing to protect our ecosystems and marine species."
- Michael McLeod, M.P., Northwest Territories
- The Government of Canada has committed to increasing environmental protections for Canada's marine and coastal areas and is working to see the total area conserved grow to 5% by 2017, and to 10% by 2020.
- Budget 2016 proposed $123.7 million over five years to support marine conservation activities, including the designation of new Oceans Act Marine Protected Areas and to continue work on developing new national parks and National Marine Conservation Areas (NMCAs), including the Lancaster Sound NMCA, Nunavut and Thaidene Nene National Park, Northwest Territories.
- Anguniaqvia niqiqyuam is named in honour of Nelson Green, a highly respected former Inuvialuit elder from Paulatuk, Northwest Territories.
- Collaboration with local communities for the proposed Anguniaqvia niqiqyuam Marine Protected Area has been facilitated through the Beaufort Sea Partnership and included participation from the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, Fisheries Joint Management Committee, the Inuvialuit Game Council, the Paulatuk Hunters and Trappers Committee and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
- Anguniaqvia niqiqyuam is the second official Marine Protected Area in the Arctic, following Tarium Niryutait's designation in August 2010.
Anguniaqvia niqiqyuam Marine Protected Area
For more information on Canada's existing Marine Protected Areas and Areas of Interest: http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/oceans/mpa-zpm-aoi-si-eng.html
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