Conservation of marine area near Torngat national park deemed ‘feasible’

Study deems conservation of 16,700 square kilometers in the Labrador Sea desirable for Nunavik and Nunatsiavut Inuit

The Saglek Fjord in the Torngat Mountains sits near a proposed marine conservation area that has just been deemed feasible. (Photo by Rodd Laing, Group CNW/Parks Canada)

By Nunatsiaq News

A new feasibility study is a step forward in creating a 16,700 square-kilometre protected area in the maritime region near the Torngat Mountains National Park.

The proposed area, which is three times bigger than PEI, is situated in the Labrador Sea, near the northern tip of where Nunavik and Nunatsiavut meet.

It has been approved to be come a proposed national marine conservation area, announced federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault and Nunatsiavut president Johannes Lampes on March 15.

The plan is part of Parks Canada’s engagement to make a network of national heritage sites that honours the history of Indigenous Peoples. 

A feasibility study aims to determine if a certain region should be a conservation area. It does not guarantee its creation. 

The region was delineated in collaboration with the Government of Nunatsiavut and the Makivvik Corp.

The region boasts unique migratory areas for eastern Hudson Bay belugas, a habitat for visiting narwhals, a breeding area for multiple migratory bird species, a feeding grounds for both polar bears and Arctic char, and more.

Plans to conserve the area date back to 2017, when the Nunatsiavut government put forward Imappivut, its marine plan initiative. 

In 2019, it launched the feasibility assessment to establish an Inuit Protected Area under the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act. 

Now that the study is completed, negotiations will begin to establish the Inuit protected area. According to Lampe, this announcement is important “not only for the protection of our territory, but also for the preservation of our culture, traditions and Inuit identity.” 

No timeline was provided regarding when the negotiations would end. But it is part of the Government of Canada’s plan to conserve 30 per cent of the country’s maritime areas and shores by 2030.

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