The governments of Canada and Québec agree that it is in their mutual interest to ensure adequate protection of marine biodiversity in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, specifically the Magdalen Shallows plateau, within their respective jurisdictions.

However, before any action is taken in this regard, especially with respect to marine protected areas, more information is needed on biodiversity conservation issues in relation to social and economic activities in the region. It is in this vein that the governments of Canada and Québec have signed the Agreement to conduct a study on the establishment of a marine protected area around the Îles de la Madeleine.

The study will be done over two years. It will be equally funded by the two governments and has five objectives:

  • Characterize the study Area from an ecological, economic, social, and cultural perspective;
  • Provide an assessment of the natural resources (mineral, fisheries, oil and gas) and their potential for development, as well as the degree of representativeness of the marine environment in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence;
  • Analyze the conservation issues in the area,  the impacts in terms of economic spin-offs, and the conservation and development objectives to be put forward;
  • Identify and describe sectors of interest for the conservation of marine biodiversity and cultural resources;
  • Assess opportunities for development, education, and the enjoyment of the marine environment as well as challenges to the establishment of a marine protected area.

Within two years of the signing of the agreement, the study’s final report will be submitted to Parks Canada’s Executive Director, Quebec Region and the Assistant Deputy Minister of Sustainable Development of the Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement, de la Faune et des Parcs du Québec.

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