March 12, 2007

NB gains its first marine protected area

SAINT JOHN, NB-Canada's newest marine protected area (MPA) is New Brunswick's first. The Musquash Estuary, formally designated under the federal Oceans Act, is one of the last ecologically intact estuaries in a region where human activities have modified most of the original salt marshes. Situated along the Bay of Fundy coast, approximately 20 kilometres southwest of Saint John, Musquash is unique among the bay's estuaries, notable for its large size and relatively undisturbed condition. It provides a rich habitat for a variety of commercial and non-commercial fisheries and wildlife. The New Brunswick government has transferred 1,150 hectares (11.5 square km) of Musquash Crown lands to the federal government, marking is the first time a provincial government has transferred property to the federal government for this purpose. Designation as an MPA entitles the area to special management and protection under the Oceans Act. With the Musquash designation, there are now six MPAs throughout Canada. Plans are also in progress for the preservation of the Musquash Head lighthouse adjacent to the new MPA.

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