Today, Oceana Canada applauds Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) on taking an important step towards the designation of a Marine Protected Area (MPA) for the American Bank, a submarine bank off of Quebec's Gaspé Peninsula.
“We are pleased that, with today’s announcement by the governments of Quebec and Canada, one of the country’s most diverse and productive marine areas is closer to being formally protected,” said Robert Rangeley, Director of Science, Oceana Canada. “The next step is the adoption of clear and effective regulations and management plans that protect the biodiversity and species-at-risk that depend on this important area.”
In 2017, Oceana Canada and DFO partnered to conduct an expedition in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, including the American Bank. The wealth of biodiversity in the area was captured through the use of a robotic submersible, which enabled the expedition team to take samples and high-definition photos and videos of the diverse wildlife on the seafloor. Evidence of the submarine features and a detailed analysis of the habitats and species living along the American Bank will help inform and influence future management and monitoring plans for the MPA.
The American Bank is highly productive, making it an important feeding and refuge area for a wide range of species such as cold-water corals, whales, sharks, turtles, groundfish, and seabirds – it is also adjacent to the largest Northern Gannet colony in North America. The area provides critical habitat for commercially and culturally important fisheries such as crab and lobster, depleted ones such as redfish and cod, and other species-at-risk including North Atlantic right whales and Atlantic wolffish.
“Effective management plans, including rigorous monitoring, will be required to ensure conservation and societal benefits are achieved. The local communities, indigenous people, and industries who rely on the area need to be part of the plan’s development, so it is well understood, accepted and successful,” said Rangeley. “When established, this new MPA will be an important contribution to a protected areas network that will ensure the ecological function of the entire region is maintained and protected.”
The data collected on Oceana Canada’s expeditions, including last year’s collaboration with DFO in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, helps inform how to best protect the oceans in Canada. Oceana Canada campaigns for the protection of ecologically important habitat for the health of the oceans, the recovery of depleted fish populations, and to support coastal communities that depend on abundant marine ecosystems.
To learn more about Oceana Canada’s expeditions, go to www.oceana.ca/expeditions
For more information, please contact: Kara-Ann Miel, Communications Director, Oceana Canada, 647-535-6326, firstname.lastname@example.org
Oceana Canada was established as an independent charity in 2015 and is part of the largest international advocacy 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% of its landmass. Oceana Canada believes that Canada has a national and global obligation to manage our natural resources responsibly and help ensure a sustainable source of protein for the world’s growing population. Oceana Canada works with civil society, academics, fishers, Indigenous Peoples and the federal 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.