Landscape of the northern shore of Baffin Island, where the Lancaster Sound Conservation Area is located. Image: Enric Sala
While news about the Arctic has rarely been positive in recent years (just this week extreme heat in Greenland lead to the rapid melting of its ice sheet) a bright spot of hope emerged this week out of Canada. A far northern Canadian Arctic region named Tuvaijuittuq is on the path to becoming a Marine Protected Area (MPA) after an agreement was reached between the Canadian government and Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA).
What This Will Mean: Although different countries have different definitions of the specifics of an MPA, this designation (as NatGeo reported) “closes off water from mining, oil, and gas extraction, dumping, and fishing with a method called trawling. Canada’s MPA standards are new, published this past April after official recommendations were made by a panel of experts.” By barring Tuvaijuittuq from industrial activities, environmentalists explained that the region will become a refuge for walruses, polar bears, seals, and narwhals as the Arctic ice becomes increasingly unstable.
The Process: While the process to make Tuvaijuittuq hasn’t been finalized, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau has been a public advocate for the MPA. NatGeo explained that “the Canadian government creates MPAs by first placing the selected region under an interim protected period while it finalizes terms of the protected space. In addition to the plan to conserve Tuvaijuittuq, Trudeau also announced the official establishment of the Tallurutiup Imanga National Marine Conservation Area.”
Now the far northern Canadian Arctic region is set to remain pristine thanks to an agreement reached between the Canadian government and Qikiqtani Inuit Assocation (QIA).