CPAWS is encouraging the federal government to speed up action on protecting our oceans. This includes adding new marine protected areas in the internationally important Bay of Fundy. We believe there is a need to ensure protection into the future for the internationally important wild ocean treasure that is the Bay of Fundy.
The federal government has committed to establishing networks of marine protected areas (MPAs for short) covering at least 10% of our oceans by 2020. Progress by all of our governments on creating new marine protected areas needs to speed up if we are going to meet that commitment.
As a step to meeting that goal, CPAWS is encouraging governments to establish a network of marine protected areas in the Bay of Fundy. The Bay of Fundy, located between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in the Atlantic Ocean, has the world's highest tides and an abundance of wildlife. In 2011, the Bay of Fundy was Canada’s only candidate in the global campaign to declare the New 7 Natural Wonders of Nature. Over 12 species of whales are drawn to the Bay’s rich upwelling zones, including humpback, fin and the endangered North Atlantic right whale. Millions of shorebirds flock to the salt marshes and mudflats on the Bay of Fundy shores each year on their long migrations, to fatten up on mud shrimp.
The outer Bay is known for its incredible variety of bottom-dwelling wildlife, from upright sponges, anemones, and sea squirts to cold-water corals. It is also home to large reefs formed by horse mussels. Only a few horse mussel reefs are known to exist in the world and the Bay of Fundy reefs are the largest yet to be documented. The corals and horse mussel reefs provide protection from currents and predators for thousands of species of fish and invertebrates. This is critically important for protecting our haddock, winter flounder, lobster and herring fisheries.
The Bay of Fundy holds a special place in the hearts of Canadians. You might assume that such a magnificent place, supporting so many fishing communities and tourism businesses, would be properly protected. It’s not.
In the whole Bay of Fundy, there is one small coastal marine protected area (MPA), located around the Musquash Estuary in southern New Brunswick. Even though there is no region-wide ocean conservation plan, the Bay of Fundy is facing increasing new industrial pressures, from coastal mega-quarry proposals and tidal turbines, large open-net aquaculture pens, LNG terminals, and the proposed construction of an oil export terminal.
All of this activity is threatening the Bay of Fundy’s ecological health before any marine protection measures have been implemented.
To bring fairness to the use of the Bay, a network of MPAs would need to conserve the most ecologically significant areas, with a combination of larger sites in the outer bay and smaller coastal sites closer inland. These would include areas where whales congregate as well as important bird areas, rich mudflats, corals and reefs, and some estuaries.
The federal government has made a commitment to create networks of MPAs in our region. This would help protect an ocean legacy for the Bay of Fundy. Governments need to know they have your support for creating strongly protected Marine Protected Areas in the Bay of Fundy. To find out how you can add your voice to those calling for a network of Fundy MPAs, please visit http://www.protectbayoffundy.ca/, and click the “Add Your Voice” button.
So far, over 13,000 people have signed the Dare to be Deep pledge to support advancing marine conservation in Canada. Add your voice to help us reach our goal of establishing 12 new marine protected areas (including one for Bay of Fundy) and networks of marine protected areas in all of our oceans! Sign on here.
If you've already signed on to help protect our oceans, write a letter now to tell governments that you want our oceans protected!
CPAWS New Brunswick is also working with CPAWS Nova Scotia on getting a marine protected area in the Bay of Fundy. You can find their page here.