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April 21, 2008
Vancouver, B.C. – Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources, on behalf of Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn, today announced that British Columbia’s Bowie Seamount has been designated as Canada’s newest Marine Protected Area. A formal joint ceremony marking the event took place on Saturday, April 19, 2008 in Skidegate with Parliamentary Secretary Randy Kamp and Guujaaw, President of the Council of Haida Nation.”Bowie Seamount is an oceanic oasis in the deep sea, a rare and ecologically rich marine area, and our government is proud to take action to ensure it is protected,” said Minister Lunn. “By working in partnership with the Council of the Haida Nation and groups like the World Wildlife Fund-Canada, we are ensuring this unique treasure is preserved for future generations.”
Fisheries and Oceans Canada will work together with the Haida Nation, community groups and an advisory team, including the province, to effectively manage Bowie Seamount under Canada’s Federal Marine Protected Areas Strategy, and preserve the health of Canada’s oceans and marine environment.
Named Sgaan Kinghlas, meaning Supernatural Being Looking Outward, by the Haida, who played a key role in its establishment as a Marine Protected Area, Bowie Seamount is located 180 kilometres west of Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) in the northeast Pacific. The new Marine Protected Area will protect a complex of three offshore seamounts – Bowie, Hodgkins and Davidson Seamounts.
“Sgaan Kinghlas represents a shift in recognizing the need for respect and care for the Earth. This is a very significant turning point in reversing the trends that have been leading to the depletion of life in the sea,” said Guujaaw.
Bowie Seamount is one of the most biologically rich seamounts in the world, due to unique oceanographic conditions that support an abundance of microscopic plants and animals, which, in turn, have contributed to Bowie’s diverse, complex ecosystem. It is fragile and vulnerable, however, and protecting it will contribute to its continued survival and that of its marine community.
“For many years, WWF-Canada has been working with partners to protect this unique, ecologically rich seamount,” said Michele Patterson, Director of the Pacific Conservation Program for WWF-Canada. “The designation of the Bowie Seamount Marine Protected Area is an excellent example of how conservation can be achieved through Federal and First Nations’ governments, the province, resource users, and environmental organizations working together to protect important marine habitats both for today, and for our children tomorrow. We look forward to many more of these conservation successes in Canada.”
Marine Protected Areas support conservation and protection of Canada’s ocean and ocean resources. Other MPAs, established under the Oceans Act, include Endeavour Hydothermal Vents, 250 kilometres southwest of Vancouver Island, which represents one of the most exciting deep-water areas in the world, The Gully, on the Scotian shelf, Eastport and Gilbert Bay off Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as Basin Head off Prince Edward Island and Musquash Estuary in the Bay of Fundy.
The federal government continues working together with provinces, territories, First Nations, industry, ENGO’s and communities as part of its commitment to establish a network of marine protected areas.
Background information on Bowie Seamount:
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Strategic Communications Advisor
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
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