Fredericton -- One year after the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) called on the federal government to create 12 new marine protected areas by December 2012, the good news is that it is making progress in designating many of them as legal entities. However, CPAWS is concerned that the conservation measures the government is proposing once these areas are designated for protection may be too weak to be effective.

Today, CPAWS is releasing a 20-page report, “Is Canada on track to create 12 new marine protected areas by December 2012?” assessing progress over the past 12 months and noting areas of concern.

“We’re giving the federal government low marks on its progress in negotiations with other levels of government, industry and local communities to designate sites in the Bay of Fundy that we’ve highlighted as potential new marine protected areas, “ says  Roberta Clowater, Executive Director of CPAWS New Brunswick Chapter.

Progress on 9 of 12 sites in past year

Out of the 12 marine areas CPAWS has highlighted for action by December 2012, CPAWS has observed significant movement by the federal and other levels of government towards designating three as protected areas, some progress in creating another six, and limited or no progress on the remaining three.

Progress towards designating marine protected areas has been most significant for three sites off the coast of British Columbia – in the Southern Strait of Georgia, in Hecate Strait and surrounding the Scott Islands.  In each of these locations, the federal government has made significant advances in consultations and negotiations to establish formal marine protected areas within the past year, and is moving on to the next stages required to finalize them.

In six more locations, off Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Nunavut and Quebec, some progress towards designating new marine protected areas has been made, although more significant steps are required to move them towards completion rapidly.

No progress on protecting 3 important marine ecosystems, including Bay of Fundy

The areas where no notable progress at all has been made towards protection are in the Bay of Fundy, the South Coast Fjords off Newfoundland, and the “Big Eddy” off the west coast of Vancouver Island.

 “We are very concerned with the lack of protection in the Bay of Fundy, which stands in stark contrast to the incredible ecological richness of the Bay, and its international importance for humpback, fin and endangered North Atlantic right whales, migratory shorebirds and seabirds.  We would like to see Parks Canada come forward with a proposed National Marine Conservation Area that includes strong conservation measures to conserve these values into the future,” says Ms. Clowater.

 CPAWS has assessed progress towards protecting these sites on two sets of criteria: one for steps taken in the process to formally establish them as protected areas, the other for creating meaningful conservation measures to protect the long-term health of these marine ecosystems. The latter measures, based on leading science, include establishment of “no take zones” for fishing and rules against other forms of industrial development such as oil and gas drilling.

In all of the 12 areas CPAWS has identified, rare and important forms of sea life deserve protection, ranging from leatherback turtles, to dolphins, right whales and other types of whales, birds including puffins and Cassins auklets, and fish including cod and Atlantic wolffish.

Canada still has huge catch-up job

“We will be watching progress carefully over the next six months to see how much closer Canada gets to meaningful protection for these 12 marine areas by the end of 2012,” says Sabine Jessen, CPAWS national oceans program manager.

“This will be an important sign of how well we’ve laid the groundwork for more marine conservation in the years ahead. Canada still has a huge catch-up job to reach our international commitment of establishing networks of marine protected areas in all of our oceans,” adds Jessen.

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For media interviews, contact:

Roberta Clowater, 506-452-9902; rclowater@cpaws.org

To view CPAWS’ full progress report, executive summary and more about each of the 12 marine areas, visit www.cpaws.org/daretobedeep

CPAWS is Canada’s voice for wilderness. Since 1963, we’ve played a lead role in protecting over 500,000 km2 of public land and water. With 13 chapters across Canada, over 50 staff and 50,000 supporters, we work with governments, industry, Indigenous people and local communities to conserve our country’s irreplaceable nature. Our vision is that Canada will protect at least half of our public land and water. 

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Action Alerts

Call for nominations for the NBEN Awards - 2017

Monday, 31 July 2017
by Annika Chiasson
Every day people and environmental groups take action to protect and restore New Brunswick’s environment.  

Over this past year, who stands out in your mind? 

We invite you to nominate a group or individual deserving of one of the NBEN awards which will be presented in style at Eco-Confluence 2017.  Send an e-mail to nben@nben.ca describing your nominee’s work.  Nominees must be members or associates of the NBEN*.

Nomination deadline is September 13, 2017.

*Current NBEN Steering Committee members are not eligible for awards.

Resquest for letters of support: Proposed name restoration for the Wolastoq

Sunday, 30 April 2017
by Alma
 The Wolastoq Grand Council supports our YOUTH GROUPS on their proposal for changing the name of the Saint John River, back to it’s original and proper name; Wolastoq (the beautiful & bountiful river ). We see this as a good place to begin the process of implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; which was strongly recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  

Proposed Name Restoration: 
  • The name Saint John River back to it’s original indigenous name -  Wolastoq
Purpose: 
  • Wolastoq; (the beautiful river) is the original Indigenous name of the River.
  • Wolastoq is the name sake for the real identity and unique nationality of our People; the Wolastoqiyik.  Respecting the rights of Wolastoqiyik.
  • Scientific studies have now confirmed, what our people have always known; “that water has memory”.    This river will remember its original name.   
  • This deed would begin a process for reconciliation with a show of goodwill on the part of the Government of New Brunswick, and would;
  • Create opportunities for discussions and engagement around indigenous issues.
  • Wolastoqiyik have a right to retain their own names for communities, places and persons. 

The Wolastoq Grand Council is requesting support letters from our Allies; as individuals, organizations, and/or Groups.  For more information, contact Alma Brooks, 506-478-1256, almabrooks.26@outlook.com

Please send support letters to the following addresses:

The Wolastoq Grand Council,
Grand Chief; Ron Tremblay
50 Maliseet Drive
Fredericton, NB, E3A 2V9


David Coon
Office of the Green Party Leader
P.O. Box 6000
Fredericton, NB, E3B 5H1

Additional Information

  1. Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
Carolyn Bennett; Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada; has assured the Wolastoq Grand Council in writing that; - “Canada is committed to a renewed nation to nation relationship with indigenous peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership.”   Carolyn Bennett also stated that ; - “Achieving full reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous people in Canada is at the heart of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada’s mandate, and that the government of “Canada will engage with Indigenous peoples, provinces, territories, and Canadians on how to implement the Declaration in accordance with Canada’s Constitution”.

  1. Andrea Bear-Nicholas
As described in a 2011 article by Andrea Bear-Nicholas, Maliseet historian:  
  1. The first step in the dispossession for the indigenous peoples in the Maritimes began in earnest immediately after the British capture of the French fort at Louisbourg in 1758.   Where place names and names of First Nations in the entire region had been inscribed on earlier maps; both would soon be erased by colonial cartographers in a process described by J. B. Harley as cartographic colonialism.  The justifications for these erasures was found in the doctrine of discovery.   
  2. The second step in the dispossession of indigenous peoples in Nova Scotia began immediately after signing of the Treaty of 1760 by Passamaquoddy and Maliseet Leaders, and later the signing of the Mascarene Treaty.   Although there was no surrender of any lands in either of these Treaties; 1.5 million acres of Maliseet land which outlawed the surveying and expropriation of lands not yet ceded by the indigenous inhabitants or purchased by the Crown.    


  3. United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples:   Articles 1, 2, 6, & 13   support and provide a guide for the implementation leading to reconciliation.

As a distinct ‘people,’ we have a right to our accurate identity and nationality.
  • Indigenous Peoples have the right to the full enjoyment as a collective or as individuals of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as recognized in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and international human rights law. 
  • Indigenous peoples and individuals are free and equal to all other peoples and individuals and have the right to be free from any kind of discrimination, in the exercise of their rights, in particular that based on their indigenous origin and identity. 
  • Every indigenous individual has the right to their own nationality. 
  • Indigenous people have a right to retain their own names for communities, places and persons.  “States shall take effective measures to ensure that this right is protected”.