Declare Head Harbour Passage and West Isles an Emergency Marine Protected Area

  • by: Art MacKay
  • recipient: Minister, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
The Quoddy ecosystem is threatened by 3 proposed LNG terminals in Passamaquoddy Bay and the Passage of Tankers through summer feeding and breeding areas of Endangered  Right Whales, Finbacks and Porpoise, other cetaceans, important marine birds and fishes, and nearly 3,000 invertebrate species. Ship strikes took 6 right whales this year, some in this area. If industrial port development in Passamaquoddy Bay continues, ship strikes will continues to climb.

A vital Canadian resource can be protected with an Emergency MPA. Existing social assets such as traditional fishing, tourism, aquaculture, etc. are maintained by this process. New industrial developments , however, would be forestalled until it is shown that they will not negatively impact the existing natural and social environments.

The Government of Canada has publicly opposed the passage of tankers through Head Harbour Passage which is internal Canadian waters, but there are other pressures for industrial development in Passamaquoddy Bay and the threat will continue. Under the Oceans Act, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans can declare the area an "Emergency Marine Protected Area". This will prevent unsuitable development until a proper management plan can be established that will protect this unique and vital whale habitat.

Please urge the Minister to declare an Emergency MPA by signing this petition.
A vital Canadian resource can be protected with an "Emergency MPA".

The Quoddy Region of the Bay of Fundy is an astoundingly productive area that centres on Head Harbour Passage. It is vital to endangered right whales, finback whales and harbour porpoise as well as other marine mammals, birds, and invertebrates. Parks Canada has designated it "An Area of National Significance" and it is considered to be an area of "global significance for marine birds". The uniqueness of the area has been well documented scientifically. Socially, Quoddy is at the centre of tourism, fisheries, aquaculture, and other resource-based enterprises that approach a billion dollars annual revenues. There are 2 proposals for LNG terminals on the Maine shore of Passamaquoddy Bay that are currently before the FERC and time is now of the essence. Huge LNG tankers must navigate the dangerous waters of Head Harbour Passage, pass through areas of shearing and upwelling and, if they get it wrong, The Old Sow, the second largest whirlpool in the Northern Hemisphere.

The Government of Canada has publicly opposed passage of LNG tankers through Head Harbour Passage. However, this can be challenged in international court and there should be no uncertainty since the future of right whales, in particular is of grave concern.

There is a simple and quick solution that will allow us to give the future of the Quoddy Region and Head Harbour Passage more sober thought. Under the Oceans Act, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans can declare the area an "Emergency Marine Protected Area". This can be done departmentally and will prevent unsuitable development and provide the time for drafting and implementation of a proper coastal management plan that will protect this unique and vital whale, bird, and marine habitat.

Please urge the Minister to declare an Emergency MPA at Quoddy, centred on Head Harbour Passage, by signing this petition.
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