The Gouvernement du Québec approved the designation of the Réserves de territoire aux fins d’aire protégée de Tursujuq-Nord, Tursujuq-Centre et Tursujuq-Sud following the submission in the fall of 2020 of a joint brief from the Minister of the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change, the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, and the Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks. The legally protected status contemplated for this territory is that of a “biodiversity reserve,” which is governed by the Natural Heritage Conservation Act.
The Réserves de territoire aux fins d’aire protégée de Tursujuq-Nord, Tursujuq-Centre et Tursujuq-Sud are adjacent to the Parc national Tursujuq, established in 2013. The three territories are of considerable conservation interest to the communities of Umiujaq and Kuujjuarapik, especially because they round out the territory of the national park for strictly conservation purposes and enhance the protection of the essential habitat of the freshwater Harbour seal, Lacs des Loups Marins subspecies. This sub-species of harbour seal is deemed “likely to be designated a threatened or vulnerable species” pursuant to the Act respecting threatened or vulnerable species (chapter E-12.01) and “endangered” by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). It is confined to landlocked freshwater and is probably the only population of the species to have adapted exclusively to a freshwater environment and to remain entirely isolated from the marine environment. These protected territories, combined with the national park, will also protect the entire drainage basin of the Nastapoka River, which is important to Inuit communities. Two operating territories of outfitting operations are found in the territories.
No natural resource exploration or exploitation activity (mining, energy and forests) is allowed in the territory of the territorial reserve for protected area purposes. The Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and the Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks will ensure the maintenance of the administrative and legal provisions that their prohibition requires.