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Nature Conservancy Of Canada And Shell Applaud Historic Announcement On Marine Conservation In Tallurutiup Imanga/Lancaster Sound

Aug 31, 2017

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The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and Shell Canada (Shell) welcome the news of an agreement on a final boundary for a proposed national marine conservation area encompassing Tallurutiup Imanga/Lancaster Sound. When completed, it will be the largest marine conservation area in Canada.

The joint announcement by the Qikiqtani Inuit Association and the Governments of Canada and Nunavut is the result of many years of hard work by all involved. Nature Conservancy of Canada president and chief executive officer John Lounds attended the event to offer congratulations.

NCC and Shell are pleased to see that the boundaries for the proposed conservation area have expanded in keeping with Inuit aspirations to protect their traditional territory, which has sustained them for millennia. The two organizations salute the collaboration that underpins this announcement. The efforts of many have set the stage for the long-term protection of an important piece of Canada’s natural and cultural heritage.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada congratulates the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, the Governments of Canada and Nunavut, and all the organizations that have contributed to this marine conservation initiative,” said Lounds. “This is a positive milestone, and a key step towards conservation and Canada’s target of protecting at least 10 per cent of our coastal waters by 2020.”

In 2016, Shell voluntarily released 30 offshore exploratory permits near Tallurutiup Imanga/Lancaster Sound to NCC. Those permits covered more than 8,600 square kilometres (860,000 hectares) north of Baffin Island, at the eastern entrance to the Northwest Passage. NCC subsequently released the permits to the Government of Canada, thereby facilitating expansion of the marine conservation area.

“Establishing Canada’s largest protected area is no small feat, and we congratulate the many people from the Nunavut Inuit, government and environmental organizations who helped make this achievement a reality,” said Michael Crothers, Shell Canada president and country chair. “We are grateful that Shell and the Nature Conservancy of Canada had the opportunity to be a part of this journey through our contribution. We can achieve great things when unlikely allies find common ground, and the designation of this wonderful conservation area is a testament to that.”

Tallurutiup Imanga/Lancaster Sound is home to marine mammals, including seal, narwhal, beluga and bowhead whales, walrus and polar bear. The surrounding shores are home to some of the Arctic’s most important seabird breeding colonies, with populations in the hundreds of thousands.

“At almost 110,000 square kilometres, Tallurutiup Imanga / Lancaster Sound will be the largest protected area ever established in Canada, more than twice the size of Nova Scotia. This means Canada will more than double its protected waters, moving closer to attaining our overall goals”, said Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna. “This announcement is the result of years of collaboration and collective efforts toward a common goal by Nunavut Inuit and the governments of Canada and Nunavut. Together, we are taking a significant step to create a legacy for future generations.”

The Nature Conservancy of Canada and Shell have a 30-year history of working together on conservation initiatives. During this time, Shell has contributed more than $6.5 million in financial resources, land and mineral rights to NCC, including rights to the Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida Heritage Site and the Mount Broadwood Heritage Conservation Area in BC.