Nature Canada

Government announces official protection for the Banc-des-Américains

Nature Canada is pleased to share some fin-tastic news: the Banc-des-Américains on Quebec’s east coast is now officially protected habitat for whales, fish and other marine life.

On Wednesday, the regulations for the newest marine protected area were officially made into law under Canada’s Oceans Act.

That means an additional 1,000 km2 (0.02%) of Canada’s ocean habitat will have long-term protection, bringing us a step closer the goal of protecting 10 per cent of Canada’s marine and coastal areas by 2020.

Located in the far eastern tip of Quebec – on the Gaspé Peninsula – the Banc-des-Américains is a unique habitat on Canada’s east coast.

The bank stretches off the coast underwater, where the Gaspé and Chaleur Bay currents meet. The combination of unique rock formations, along with rich nutrients brought in by the currents, supports an unusually rich population of sea life.


The abundance of fish and crustaceans found here (including herring and krill) makes it an valuable feeding ground for big marine mammals like the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale and the Blue Whale.

Nature Canada especially applauds that the regulations prohibit oil and gas activities, discharge of sewage and release of grey water from large vessels throughout the entire area. Designating protected areas helps safeguard habitat and biodiversity. We need effective protections like this and we hope for similar results for protection of the Laurentian Whale Passage.

The creation of the Banc-des-Américains marine protected area was a cooperative effort between the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Quebec government. Important consultations also took place with the Mi’gmaq First Nation of Gespeg, Gesgapegiag and Listuguj as well as fishing associations, local communities and conservation organizations. Together we can make a difference for Canada’s wildlife!

*The photo at top of page supplied by Gee Pena/Creative Commons 2.0.

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