Oceana Canada applauds the federal government’s announcement of the Banc-des-Américains as a Marine Protected Area - Oceana Canada

Oceana Canada applauds the federal government’s announcement of the Banc-des-Américains as a Marine Protected Area

Press Release Date: March 6, 2019

Today, Oceana Canada applauds Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) on the designation of a Marine Protected Area (MPA) for the Banc-des-Américains, a submarine bank off of Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula.

“We are extremely pleased that, with today’s announcement, one of the country’s most diverse and productive marine areas is formally protected,” said Robert Rangeley, Director of Science, Oceana Canada. “We now look forward to the development and implementation of a management plan that ensures this MPA provides the most effective protection for the species 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 Banc-des-Américains. 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. Evidence of the submarine features and a detailed analysis of the habitats and species living along the Banc-des-Américains will help inform and influence the management and monitoring plans required for the MPA.

The Banc-des-Américains is a highly productive and important area for a wide range of species; from habitat-structuring corals and sponge forests to important forage fishes, like capelin and herring, and large migratory marine mammals. The area also provides critical habitats for commercially important fisheries, such as crab and shrimp, depleted ones, such as redfish and cod, and species-at-risk, including Atlantic wolffish and the North Atlantic right whale.

“The Gulf of St. Lawrence ecosystem is increasingly a busy place and more than ever before is experiencing pressures from human activities and climate change,” says Alexandra Vance, Marine Scientist, Oceana Canada. “The MPA is critically important to safeguard these unique habitats and species, and will contribute to a network of MPAs that, together, will help build a healthier and more resilient marine ecosystem for the benefit of coastal communities for generations to come.”

To learn more about Oceana Canada’s expeditions, go to www.oceana.ca/expeditions.

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For more information, please contact: Kara-Ann Miel, Communications Director, Oceana Canada, 647-535-6326, kmiel@oceana.ca

About Oceana Canada
Oceana Canada is an independent charity and 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 per cent 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.