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Feasibility Assessment for the Proposed Lancaster Sound National Marine Conservation Area

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On Dec 8, 2009, The Honourable Jim Prentice, Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, announced the beginning of a $5 million feasibility study to create a new national marine conservation area in Lancaster Sound, at the eastern entrance of the Northwest Passage.

At that time, the Minister said: "As global climate change continues and traffic through the Northwest Passage is expected to increase, our government is committed to safeguarding Canada’s Arctic and protecting its most special natural features," said Minister Prentice. "The Government of Canada recognizes the increasing importance of understanding and protecting the Arctic and this project will allow us to significantly advance our knowledge as well as our protection and conservation activities in this area."

On July 23, 2010 on CFRA Radio, the Minister repeated the Government’s commitment to permanently protect Lancaster Sound:

“The government is committed to a national marine conservation area in Lancaster Sound. This is an incredibly rich ecosystem. It's sometimes referred to as the Serengeti of the Arctic. It's an incredibly rich ecosystem for marine mammals, and certainly our intent is to proceed with the national marine conservation area, modeled really on what we've just done in Gwaii Haanas.”

Living in harmony: A Sound and its People

Walrus
Walrus
© Parks Canada/ Mario Cyr

Come explore with us as we move forward in creating a national marine conservation area in Lancaster Sound (“Talluritup Tariunga” in Inuktitut), to forever protect the marine and cultural values of the area and of Inuit communities such as Pond Inlet, Arctic Bay, Resolute Bay and Grise Fiord.

Parks Canada, in close collaboration with the Government of Nunavut and Inuit organisations, along with other federal departments, has begun a feasibility assessment to decide if this area will be included in the of national marine conservation area system. Public consultations and feedback, particularly in local communities, are an important part of the project.

Lancaster Sound is the eastern entrance to the Northwest Passage, the legendary corridor through Canada’s Arctic Archipelago. It is an area of critical ecological importance to marine mammals, including seals, narwhal, beluga and bowhead whales, as well as walrus and polar bears, and it is bordered by some of the most important seabird breeding colonies in the Arctic, with populations totalling in the hundreds of thousands.

A national marine conservation area (NMCA) would conserve a representative portion of this vital marine ecosystem while also allowing human uses to continue in an ecologically sustainable manner. An NMCA could support the sustainability of coastal Inuit communities and protect this marine heritage for present and future generations of all Canadians.

Narwals
Narwals
© Parks Canada/ Mario Cyr

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Send us your questions and we will provide answers! Lancaster@pc.gc.ca