The Bay of Fundy is a natural treasure, containing the world’s highest tides, an abundance of marine biodiversity, and rich coastal areas that support two million migratory shorebirds each year. It holds a special place in the hearts of many Canadians.
You might assume that a place as magnificent as this, that’s featured in so many tourist campaigns in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, would be properly looked after. It’s not.
The rich upwelling zones of the Bay of Fundy provide crucial habitat for over a dozen species of whales. Humpbacks, fin whales, endangered North Atlantic right whales, and minke whales all travel great distances each year to feed and raise their young in the Bay of Fundy. Nearly two million shorebirds rely on Fundy’s rich coastal marshes and tidal mudflats as a vital stopover area on their annual migrations.
Communities along the shores of the Bay of Fundy depend upon the marine environment for their livelihoods. Creating marine protected areas within the Bay of Fundy must be designed in a way that supports the local inshore fishery and benefits the local ecotourism industry.
It’s our collective responsibility to protect the Bay of Fundy and ensure that this amazing piece of the planet is not jeopardized by our activities. For too long, the federal and provincial governments have avoided making necessary decisions to establish marine protected areas in the Bay of Fundy. That needs to change, now.
The Bay of Fundy is facing increasing industrial pressures, from coastal mega-quarry proposals to large-scale tidal turbine projects to the construction of an export terminal for oil from the Tarsands. This increased push for industrial activity is taking place before a proper conservation plan is in place for the Bay of Fundy. This is unacceptable.
Choosing sites for conservation must be done based on leading scientific research. Fortunately, a wealth of knowledge already exists for the Bay of Fundy and a number of ongoing scientific studies are underway. A study recently completed by Parks Canada identifies marine conservation opportunities within the Bay of Fundy ecosystem, and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has a requirement to undertake marine protected area network planning in the area.