Sable Island, a narrow stretch of globally important bird habitat located approximately 300 km offshore from Halifax, may be granted permanent protection status as either a national park or national wildlife area, when Environment Minister Jim Prentice makes an announcement tomorrow afternoon.
The word “sandbar” cannot convey the majesty of Sable Island’s biodiversity. Over 330 bird species have been sighted here, including virtually the entire breeding population of Ipswich Savannah Sparrows. Thousands of Arctic and Common Tern nest on site, as do thousands of Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls, which prey on the terns’ young with alarming success.
Nature Canada and Bird Studies Canada designated Sable Island an Important Bird Area over a decade ago, and we’ve been trying to secure greater protection for this highly valued natural space ever since. Though the island doesn’t face the same development pressures that many other Important Bird Areas do, uncontrolled access to the island can disturb nesting birds and accelerate erosion of the sandbar.