On this past World Oceans Day (June 8, 2022), the Honourable Joyce Murray, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, announced the establishment of the Eastern Canyons Marine Refuge off the coast of Nova Scotia. Eastern Canyons was identified in 2018 as a proposed Marine Refuge to help protect sensitive species and habitats, including cold-water corals and a large deep-sea frontier area.
The Eastern Canyons Marine Refuge is located in the deep waters off the Eastern Scotian Shelf, approximately 70 km east of Sable Island. The Marine Refuge is approximately 44,000 km2 in size and is adjacent to the Gully Marine Protected Area.
Through engagement with the Province of Nova Scotia, Indigenous organizations and local First Nations communities, the fishing industry, and environmental non-government organizations, the government is creating a Marine Refuge that will minimize impacts on fisheries while achieving conservation goals for the area. All commercial bottom-contact fisheries are prohibited from operating in the Marine Refuge, with the exception of a specific management zone for longline gear.
The establishment of this new Marine Refuge is part of the Government of Canada’s commitment to conserve 25 per cent of Canada’s oceans by 2025 and 30 per cent by 2030. The Eastern Canyons Marine Refuge contributes approximately 0.76% to Canada’s marine conservation targets. With the establishment of this new marine refuge, Canada has now protected approximately 842,821 km2 of marine and coastal areas – a total of 14.66 per cent.
Read more about the Eastern Canyons Marine Refuge here.