A win for Migratory Birds and other wildlife in Nunavut!
With the constant threat and impact of Climate Change, our Canadian Federal Government stepped up to the plate. They did a great thing by protecting "Tallurutiup Imanga" or "Lancaster Sound." This area is one of the most ecologically diverse areas in the world. This area is home to polar bears, belugas, walruses and 75% of the world's Narwhal population, plus millions of migratory aectic seabirds.
The "Tallurutiup Imanga/Lancaster Sound National Marine Conservation Area" will contribute 2% towards Canada’s stated goals of protecting 5% of our marine and coastal areas by 2017 and 10% by 2020. This is an important step in the right direction to save our most endangered animals and arctic habitat.
This area is very rich in biodiversity. With cooperation and help from the government of Nunavut and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association.This National Marine Conservation Area will protect this area that is under serious threat from Climate Change/Global Warming. All ecologically unsustainable activities will cease immediately and be illegal.
The federal protection will also ensure that the Inuit population there can survive through subsistence hunting. The Canadian Arctic represents 2/3rds of our Coastline (which is the longest coastline of all countries in the world).
The "Tallurutiup Imanga/Lancaster Sound National Marine Conservation Area" is Canada's largest protected are The Inuit people have been begging for this area to be protected since the 1960's. Ithas taken decades for the Federal Government to move on this. The area will be formally in place once the 5 Inuit communities in the area come together in the next 18 months, to implement the Inuit Impact Benefit Agreement. This agreement will allow the Inuit to hunt for subsistence and tradition, while ensuring the conservation and stewardship of the area.
The new national marine conservation area, together with Sirmilik National Park, Prince Leopold Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary and the Nirjutiqavvik National Wildlife Area protect an area that is more than 131,000 square kilometres. "Tallurutiup Imanga/Lancaster Sound" will cover 110,000 square kilometres of oceanas well.
The marine protected area is so large because it will allow for the large movement and protection of migratory species and ones that forage long distances for food.
Shell Canada even agreed to give up 30 oil and gas exploration leases covering 8,600 square kilometres of arctic waters in the area! Kudos to them.
What a truly incredible conservation feat for birds, wildlife, the ocean and the environment! Thank you Canada!
It is nice to write about some good environmental news for a change.
You can see a cool interactive map of the area that shows all the animals (including birds) that will be protected HERE.
You can watch a video about this incredible protected area below:
While speaking about the ocean I wanted to bring up the topic of Whale |Depredation. This is a growing problem in British Columbia and around the world. For those who aren't aware depredation is the practice of whales stealing catch from commercial fisherman. This is dangerous for the whales as they can get hooked and hurt and caught in fishing nets (especially the young). Also, frustrated fisherman are shooting at the whales and harpooning them or throwing explosives in the water which are maiming and killing them (even if it is illegal). The whales are destroying some of the fishermen's livelihoods as a whole pod can quickly deplete a whole catch and cause great financial losses (as much as ten thousand dollars a day). In BC it is Orcas (Killer Whales) and Sperm Whales that seem to be learning to hunt in this dangerous manner. Whales are forced to do this because their natural prey is depleted as well. This is why it is so important to conserve our wild salmon stocks. If whales learn to do this bad behavior, they can stop hunting normally all together, creating a massive problem including starvation in the long run.
It is very hard to reverse this behavior once started and it is getting more and more of a problem here in BC. Commercial Sockeye and Chinook Salmon fisheries are the most effected.
If you see this happening please report it to BC Cetaceans Network and DFO. This problem is much more easy to prevent than to reverse. More research is needed but acoustic devices and changing fishing gear from hook and line gear to pots and traps can help curb this problem.
With healthy oceans, we are all healthier... from the fish, to birds to marine mammals and back to us again, we are all connected. Let's not forget it!