Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area - One Step Closer

By Rosaline Canessa
Mon, 2010-06-07 (All day)

Ottawa, June 7, 2010 – The Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, took a historic step in Parliament today to formally protect the spectacular marine ecosystems of Gwaii Haanas in southern Haida Gwaii, located in the province of British Columbia. The Minister tabled an amendment to the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act to formally establish the Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida Heritage Site. This will be the first national marine conservation area established under the Act.

The Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida Heritage Site will extend about ten kilometres offshore from the existing Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, and encompass approximately 3,500 square kilometres of the Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Shelf natural marine regions. In total, the combined existing park reserve and new marine conservation area will protect over 5,000 square kilometres of spectacular wilderness from alpine mountain tops to the deep sea beyond the continental shelf – a first for Canada, North America and the world.

Today’s milestone follows the signing of the Gwaii Haanas Marine Agreement on January 16, 2010, by Minister Prentice, Guujaaw, and the Honourable Gail Shea, Minister for Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The agreement commits Parks Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Haida Nation to share in the planning, operations and management of the marine conservation area, including fisheries.