Protect the Great Bear Sea
The Great Bear Sea is an ecological treasure. From the vast array of invertebrate species that cover the sea floor, to some of the world’s largest marine mammals, and everything in between, its biodiversity is unparalleled. It borders Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest – part of the world’s largest remaining coastal temperate rainforest – and helps to sustain it by supporting an entire web of terrestrial life.
Today less than 1% of British Columbia’s marine environment is fully protected.
Tankers, unsustainable fisheries, pollution, and climate change all threaten to destabilize this coastal ecosystem and economy. Now, building on the work of First Nations and the Province of B.C., the federal government has committed to design a system of marine protected areas. If it is designed and implemented properly, this MPA network is a conservation strategy that will help to protect and rebuild threatened species, populations, and ecological communities and bolster local co-management by First Nations. It will offer coastal communities greater economic opportunities and help to protect their way of life for generations to come.
Scott Islands National Wildlife Area
Extending from the northwest tip of Vancouver Island right out to the edge of the continental shelf, the Scott Islands are home to B.C.'s largest seabird breeding colony. In addition, millions of migratory birds, thousands of sea lions, and hundreds of other marine mammals come to these waters to feed on the abundance of forage fish and zooplankton. Environment Canada, together with several stakeholders, has proposed the waters around the Scott Islands for National Wildlife Area designation. While we applaud the intent to improve management of the marine environment, the proposed regulations provide virtually no protection from shipping, commercial fishing, or marine pollution, all of which could have a range of impacts on the intense concentration of life found there. In addition, it sets a very poor precedent for upcoming Marine Protected Areas proposals for the Great Bear Sea.
For more information about the Scott Islands proposal please go to:
- Environment Canada's The Scott Islands: A Proposed Marine National Wildlife Area
- Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society's article "Recommendations to Improve Protection of the Scott Islands Marine National Wildlife Area".
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