|June 27, 2019, Îles de la Madeleine, Quebec. - Nature is an important part of the Canadian and Quebec identity. For this reason, the Governments of Canada and Quebec have each committed to preserving marine biodiversity and thus entered into a collaborative arrangement in March 2018 for the establishment of a network of marine protected areas in Quebec.
Today, Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, and Benoit Charette, Quebec Minister of the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change, announced the launch of a joint feasibility study to evaluate the potential for creating a marine protected area in Îles de la Madeleine.
This study, which will extend over a few years, will help to identify the benefits and limitations related to the designation of a potential marine protected area, as well as sectors of interest, conservation measures and possible management methods adapted to the needs of the region. The various stakeholders involved in the creation of a potential marine protected area in the archipelago will be consulted, including the community.
The islands of Îles de la Madeleine are representative of a unique natural and cultural heritage in Quebec where the population holds a special relationship with the marine environment. The fisheries sector is an example of good practices that have been at the forefront of implementing sustainable resource management measures.
The Governments of Canada and Quebec will continue to work together to develop this iconic site, to better protect nature and to address climate change.
The feasibility study will not modify any law, regulation, current marine environment activities or existing fisheries in Îles de la Madeleine.
“Canada is working to double the amount of protected nature in Canada’s lands and oceans. By working with Quebec, the establishment of a marine protected area in Îles de la Madeleine would protect a region of ecological and cultural richness. Îles de la Madeleine holds a special place in the hearts of Canadians and Quebecois, and this collaboration represents a fundamental step toward the protection of nature and the culture of this iconic place.”
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada
“By ensuring the expansion of Quebec's network of protected areas, the Government of Québec is trying to save representative samples of all of its biological diversity, including from the marine environment, and is interested in preserving fragile or exceptional environments as well as the habitats of threatened or vulnerable species. For all of these reasons, the Îles de la Madeleine archipelago is particularly worthy of interest. This is one of the jewels of our great territory.”
Minister of the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change
“The establishment of a joint marine protected area in Îles de la Madeleine would serve to represent the Magdalen Shallows region, whose oceanographic characteristics are unique to Quebec and Canada, while helping to preserve its cultural and ecological importance for future generations.”
The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier,
Minister of National Revenue and Member of Parliament for Gaspésie — Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine
- The feasibility study stems from the Canada-Quebec Collaborative Agreement to Establish a Network of Marine Protected Areas in Quebec.
- The study covers an area of approximately 17 000 km² in the heart of the Gulf of St. Lawrence which is a representative sample of this vast region. The territory covers a large part of the Magdalen Shallows, a vast shoal composed of sedimentary rocks and sandy sediments. This plateau is delineated to the north by the Laurentian Channel which is up to 500 metres deep in some areas. The coastal waters are home to many species of invertebrates (lobster, rock crab and various molluscs), while deeper habitats are particularly important for toad crab and snow crab.
- The boundaries of a potential marine protected area have not been determined. The study area is used as a starting point to identify activities and determine areas of ecological, socio-economic and cultural importance. In the event that certain activities are found to be inconsistent with the conservation objectives of a marine protected area, these areas would not be included in a proposal for a marine protected area. These decisions will be made in consultation with Magdalen Islanders and stakeholders, while upholdingprotection of the marine environment and the maintenance of economic and cultural activities in the region, including fishing.
- A pre-feasibility study conducted between 2012 and 2014 by Parks Canada and Quebec’s Ministry of the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change concluded that the creation of a marine protected area in Îles de la Madeleine has potential.
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