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Finally, Scott Islands Marine National Wildlife Area Established
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Finally, Scott Islands Marine National Wildlife Area Established

[caption id="attachment_37532" align="alignleft" width="150"] Stephen Hazell, Director of Conservation and Legal Counsel.[/caption] Literally decades after being first proposed, the Scott Islands marine National Wildlife Area (mNWA) adjacent to the northwestern tip of Vancouver Island was established on June 27, 2018, protecting vital habitat for millions of seabirds. Congratulations to Catherine McKenna, federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and her officials for persevering to achieve protection of the 11,546 square kilometers of marine environment surrounding the five Scott Islands (which are already protected under British Columbia law). These islands, and their surrounding marine waters, are one of the most diverse marine ecosystems on Canada’s Pacific coast. The Scott Islands area, an Important Bird Area (IBA), supports the highest concentration of breeding seabirds on Canada’s Pacific coast and provides key ecological breeding and nesting habitat for 40 per cent of BC’s seabirds, including: 90% of Canada’s Tufted Puffin; 95% of Pacific Canada’s Common Murre; 50% of the world’s Cassin's Auklet; and 7% of the world’s Rhinoceros Auklet. The area attracts 5 to 10 million migratory birds each year. Many travel vast distances across the Pacific to feed in the area. Some, such as the Sooty Shearwater, are at risk globally. Others are federally listed species at risk (e.g., Short-tailed Albatross, Black-footed Albatross, Pink-footed Shearwater, Marbled Murrelet, Ancient Murrelet). Environment and Climate Change Canada leads the planning and management of the NWA in collaboration with other federal departments as well as the Province of British Columbia, Tlatlasikwala First Nation, Quatsino First Nation and stakeholders. For more information see the following. UPDATE: On Thursday, September 13, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, spoke on behalf of the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, making the official announcement related to the protection of the 11,546 square kilometers of marine environment surrounding the five Scott Islands.


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Scott Islands Marine Area proposed for protection
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Scott Islands Marine Area proposed for protection

[caption id="attachment_22697" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Stephen Hazell Stephen Hazell
Director of Conservation
and General Counsel[/caption] The federal government has published a notice of intent and proposed regulations to protect the Scott Islands and surrounding waters just north of Vancouver Island as a Marine National Wildlife Area. These islands and waters are one of the most productive and biodiverse marine ecosystems on Canada’s west coast with the highest concentration of breeding seabirds. The area is an internationally recognized Important Bird Area, hosting over one million nesting seabirds annually, and providing important habitat for 40% of BC’s seabirds, including 90% of Canada’s Tufted Puffins, 95% of Pacific Canada’s Common Murres, 50% of the world’s Cassin’s Auklets, and 7% of the global population of Rhinoceros Auklets. The Marine National Wildlife Area would include 11,546 km² of marine area, but not the provincially protected lands of the Scott Islands. Public comments received during a 30-day period following December 31, 2016 will be considered in finalizing the regulations.

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