5 reasons to protect the Bay of Fundy
A deep breath of salty air, the shimmer of schooling sardines, the unmistakable sound of a whale’s blow: this is what comes to mind when I think of the Bay of Fundy. My Bay of Fundy. Our Bay of Fundy. As New Brunswickers, many of us have warm memories of the Bay, from enjoying the delicious catch of the day to exploring the ocean floor at low tide. We can all agree that the Bay of Fundy is a special place in our province, which is just one of many reasons why it should be protected! Read on as I highlight just five of the reasons why CPAWS-NB is advocating for a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in this favourite New Brunswick place.
- The Bay of Fundy is a rich ecosystem that is teeming with wildlife thanks to a phenomenon called “upwelling”. The strong tides of the Bay create intense mixing from the water’s surface to the deep depths, bringing nutrients that have settled on the ocean floor back to the surface where photosynthesizing plankton and algae can combine nutrients with the sun’s energy to grow. Upwelling triggers a chain reaction in the food web, creating new life and supporting the migratory wildlife that we welcome home to the bay each summer. Protecting habitats in this ecosystem means ensuring that year-round resident wildlife and visiting fish, sharks, whales, and birds can all thrive into the future.
- The impacts of climate breakdown are becoming more apparent each year as Fundy waters warm . Changes in temperature, ocean currents, and ocean chemistry are being driven by climate breakdown, impacting ecosystems at multiple scales from the growth and development of individual organisms, like fish and corals, to large-scale changes in the food webs of the Atlantic Ocean . These changes are concerning not only for ecosystems, but for the many families and communities in our region who depend on oceans for work and wellbeing. MPAs, especially a network of MPAs, are our strongest tool for ensuring oceans remain healthy and resilient to climate breakdown .
- The heritage, culture, and economy of New Brunswick are entwined with the Fundy coastline. Many New Brunswickers develop strong ties to the coast through family traditions: visiting Hopewell Rocks each summer, enjoying lobster on special occasions, taking a stroll down the St. Andrews wharf. The Fundy coastal region spans the traditional territories of the Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, and Passamaquoddy Peoples who relied and continue to rely on oceans for cultural practices. The ocean sector in New Brunswick provides tens of thousands of jobs in diverse industries from fisheries and aquaculture to tourism to shipbuilding . It is undeniable that healthy oceans are important to the prosperity of our province, and we need MPAs to protect our futures.
- The Bay of Fundy is exposed to many threats and faces building pressure from industrial activities. Talk of tidal turbines, LNG terminals, and expanded aquaculture put this important ecosystem at risk of negative impacts affecting the wildlife that make the Bay of Fundy special and unique. Despite these growing concerns, the Bay of Fundy still has just one small coastal MPA in Musquash Estuary supporting conservation! As industries look to expand and climate continues to breakdown, a network of MPAs that strongly protect the ecosystem from harmful impacts should be a top priority for the Bay of Fundy.
- The Bay of Fundy is internationally recognized as a unique ecosystem where balancing conservation and sustainable use is essential. Since 2007, the Bay has been designated as a Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). In 2011, the Bay of Fundy featured as Canada’s only candidate in a worldwide campaign to name the New 7 Natural Wonders of Nature! New Brunswickers, Canadians, and people from all around the world know that the Bay of Fundy is a special place that not only deserves protection, but one that offers many benefits by being strongly protected.
The new CPAWS 2019 Report on Protecting Canada’s Oceans calls on Canada to “dare to be deeper” by protecting 30% of our oceans by 2030. With Canada on track to achieve the 10% protected area target for oceans by 2020, in the coming decade we need to work harder than ever to set aside an additional 20% for nature. Scientists around the world agree that 30% protected area is the minimum needed to ensure that plants, animals, and ocean ecosystems thrive into the future . At CPAWS-NB, our aim is to see that the Bay of Fundy is included in Canada’s 30%.
Read our recent news release on progress for protected areas in New Brunswick and listen to a CBC Shift interview with our Executive Director, Roberta Clowater here.
Join us this Saturday, June 8 on UNB Fredericton campus to celebrate World Ocean’s Day with a free viewing of Blue Planet II. Let us know you’re coming here!
Check out the new CPAWS 2019 Report on Protecting Canada’s Oceans here.
Learn more about the Bay of Fundy through beautiful photos in a storymap here.
Add your voice to our campaign to protect the Bay of Fundy here.
Header photo by Nick Hawkins.
 Markey, M. (2018). Impact of warming seas felt by northeastern fisheries. The Blade. Retrieved June 3, 2019 from https://www.toledoblade.com/MattMarkey/2018/02/26/Climate-change-Impact-of-warming-seas-felt-by-northeastern-fisheries.html.
 Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). (2019). Canada’s Oceans Now: Atlantic Ecosystems, 2018. Retrieved June 3, 2019 from http://dfo-mpo.gc.ca/oceans/publications/soto-rceo/2018/atlantic-ecosystems-ecosystemes-atlantiques/index-eng.html
 International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). (2017). Issues Brief: Marine Protected Areas and Climate Change. IUCN: Gland, Switzerland. Retrieved June 3, 2019 from https://www.iucn.org/sites/dev/files/mpas_and_climate_change_issues_brief.pdf
 Gardner Pinfold Consulting Economists Ltd. (2010). Economic Impact of the New Brunswick Ocean Sector 2003-2008. Prepared for Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the New Brunswick Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries. Retrieved June 3, 2019 from https://www2.gnb.ca/content/dam/gnb/Departments/10/pdf/Publications/Fish-Peches/ocean.pdf
 Dinerstein, E., Vynne, C., Sala, E., Joshi, A.R., Fernando, S., Lovejoy, T.E., . . . & Wikramanayake, E. (2019). A global deal for nature: guiding principles, milestones, and targets. Science Advances, 5, eaaw2869.
Julie Reimer is a PhD student at the Memorial University of Newfoundland and a Board Member of CPAWS-NB. Having worked in the whale watching industry in New Brunswick and conducted her Masters research on conservation planning for the North Atlantic right whale, Julie is an advocate for MPAs in New Brunswick. Julie’s current research attempts to see the “bigger picture” of conservation, reaching beyond protected areas to understand the synergies between conservation actions and ocean industries. To connect with Julie, visit http://juliereimer.wixsite.com/hello.