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Government of Canada, Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Miawpukek First Nation, Qalipu First Nation, and the town of Burgeo will work together to assess the feasibility of creating a new national marine conservation area
From: Parks Canada
June 23, 2023
Today, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed to launch a feasibility assessment to establish South Coast Fjords as a new national marine conservation area (NMCA).
This vital next step in the process to safeguard marine and coastal waters in Canada was taken during a ceremony held in Burgeo, Newfoundland and Labrador, where the Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development and Member of Parliament for Long Range Mountains, Newfoundland and Labrador, on behalf of the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, together with provincial ministers of Environment and Climate Change, and Industry, Energy and Technology, the Honourable Bernard Davis and the Honourable Andrew Parsons, along with Chief Misel Joe, Miawpukek First Nation, Chief Brendan Mitchell, Qalipu First Nation, and Mayor William Bowles, Town of Burgeo, signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
A new national marine conservation area in the South Coast Fjords region would contribute to the Government of Canada’s commitment to protect biodiversity and conserve 25 percent of marine and coastal areas by 2025, and 30 percent by 2030.
The signing of the MOU underlines the shared interest of Parks Canada, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Miawpukek First Nation, Qalipu First Nation, and the Town of Burgeo in protecting the natural and cultural integrity of this globally significant ecosystem. The South Coast Fjords area is among the most productive marine environments in Atlantic Canada and is economically, culturally, and historically important to the region’s Indigenous and coastal communities.
By initiating a formal process to study the biodiversity, economic, cultural, and historic values of the area through Indigenous and Western knowledge systems, these groups can come together and work collaboratively to ensure the health and longevity of the South Coast Fjords region and promote inclusivity for community groups in conservation planning and protected areas forums.
“Establishing new marine protected areas in Canada is vital to reducing biodiversity loss and mitigating the impacts of climate change through nature-based action. Collective and co-operative agreements are crucial to achieving our goals. Today’s announcement underscores the shared commitment of the Government of Canada, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Miawpukek First Nation, Qalipu First Nation, and the Town of Burgeo to assess the feasibility of creating a national marine conservation area in the South Coast Fjords region. By working together, we can make Canada and the world healthier, more climate resilient and rich in biodiversity for the good of all.”
The Honourable Steven Guilbeault
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada
“We are all intimately connected to the ocean. It is part of who we are. It not only provides us with sustenance, recreation, and economic opportunities, but it is also culturally and historically significant to the communities and Indigenous peoples of Newfoundland and Labrador. The launch of a feasibility assessment toward establishing a national marine conservation area here, in the Burgeo region, is great news for all Canadians and is the first step toward protecting the true treasure that is the South Coast Fjords area.”
The Honourable Gudie Hutchings
Minister of Rural Economic Development and Member of Parliament for Long Range Mountains, Newfoundland and Labrador
“In Newfoundland and Labrador, the ocean is synonymous with our way of life. It is home to rich diverse marine ecosystems upon which generations of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians depended on. Conserving and protecting those ecosystems are vital to help address climate change, protect biodiversity and species at risk, and maintain a strong, sustainable economy. Our Government is eager for this important work to begin and look forward to continued collaboration with our partners.”
The Honourable Bernard Davis
Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Province of Newfoundland and Labrador
“The South Coast region of the province offers breathtaking natural beauty with its sandy beaches and deep fjords, and the area is home to many species of marine life. I welcome this MOU to launch a feasibility assessment. I welcome this study and the valuable information it will provide to determine the potential impact of moving forward with these designations.”
The Honourable Andrew Parsons,
Minister of Industry, Energy and Technology, Province of Newfoundland and Labrador
“Miawpukek First Nation is excited to be a participant in the signing of this MOU with all levels of government because these areas are established to protect and conserve marine areas for the benefit, education, and enjoyment of all. As stewards of Mother Earth, we must continue doing our part for there is no greater purpose than protecting and preserving our waters for the next seven generations. Wela’lioq.”
Chief Misel Joe
Miawpukek First Nation
“You have only to stand at the ocean’s edge to appreciate the power, beauty, and significance of water. This commitment to collaborate on the establishment of a new marine protected area in the South Coast Fjords region gives great meaning to me in my role as Chief. I look forward to working together in the spirit of protection and preservation of the world’s oceans.”
Chief Brendan Mitchell
Qalipu First Nation
“We all recognize the importance of being able to provide sustainable food and economic outcomes into the future while protecting the environment that delivers it. Finding a balance opens opportunity to possible future industries and marine and land protection. The end result, based on a feasibility study stemming from the signing of this MOU, should be a well rounded, long-term development that demonstrates a resource business with a focus on conservation worthy of being modeled by others.”
Mayor William Bowles
Town of Burgeo
- The study area outlined in the MOU spans 9,114 square kilometres and includes Sandbanks Provincial Park, located on the southern coast of Newfoundland.
- The area is a biodiversity hotspot due to its wide array of coastal and marine ecosystems including spruce-fir forests, rocky barrens, sand dunes, flat sandy beaches, estuaries, large granite cliffs and deep, glacially carved fjords. The coasts and waters are home to dolphins, porpoises, and many endangered species including Atlantic cod, redfish, leatherback sea turtles and piping plovers and serve as a critical migration route for over 20 species of whales.
- The network of protected areas in Canada plays an important role in helping to mitigate the impacts of climate change by protecting and restoring healthy, resilient ecosystems and contributing to the recovery of species at risk.
- Parks Canada is committed to a system of national heritage places that recognizes and honours the historic and contemporary contributions of Indigenous peoples, their histories and cultures, as well as the special relationships Indigenous peoples have with ancestral lands and waters.
- Parks Canada and Indigenous peoples work together to develop interpretive materials and activities at national historic sites, national parks and national marine conservation areas with the goal of fostering a better understanding of Indigenous peoples’ perspectives, cultures and traditions.
- Parks Canada
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Miawpukek First Nation
- Qalipu First Nation
- Town of Burgeo, Newfoundland
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Constituency Assistant to the Hon. Andrew Parsons
Minister of Industry, Energy and Technology
Director of Communications, Environment and Climate Change
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
Chief Misel Joe
Miawpukek First Nation
Qalipu First Nation
Acting Town Clerk/Manager
Town of Burgeo
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