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Feds include western Nunavut hub within shipping assessment

Project aims to develop tools “to assess the effects of existing and future vessel movements on the environment”

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

You can find lots of marine shipping activity around Cambridge Bay, which will now be part of an impact assessment project. (PHOTO BY JANE GEORGE)


You can find lots of marine shipping activity around Cambridge Bay, which will now be part of an impact assessment project. (PHOTO BY JANE GEORGE)

Cambridge Bay in western Nunavut is one of six sites listed in a new federally-funded project that plans to assess the cumulative effects of marine shipping on coastal marine ecosystems.

Under the Oceans Protection Plan, Transport Canada has awarded a contract to ESSA Technologies Ltd. to look at how best to assess the cumulative impacts of marine shipping on coastal marine ecosystems.

Data will be collected in Cambridge Bay and five other pilot sites: northern British Columbia, southern British Columbia, the St. Lawrence River (Quebec), the Bay of Fundy (New Brunswick), and the south coast of Newfoundland.

Transport Canada and the consultants will work together to review different options for the assessment of cumulative effects, a news release said.

They’ll also continue engagement with Indigenous peoples, local stakeholders and coastal communities “to understand their key concerns related to marine shipping,” the news release said.

“This collaboration will ensure the decision on which assessment tool to use is based on facts,” it said, noting that the assessment will aim to identify “regionally specific tools to assess the effects of existing and future vessel movements on the environment.”

This $95,000 project is part of the $9.3-million Cumulative Effects of Marine Shipping Initiative under the Oceans Protection Plan.

Cambridge Bay, at the western end of the Northwest Passage, has seen an increasing amount of marine traffic in recent years.

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