Canadian marine reserve with a difference

Canada's landmark Gwaii Haarnas National Marine Reserve will protect not just the seabed but the mountains that tower above it.
08 July 2010


The environmental and cultural protection group Parks Canada have made history by creating a Marine Conservation Area with a difference.

The difference is that it doesn't just cover the ocean, but also includes the mountains stretching 4000 feet above it.

Queen Charlotte Islands, CanadaThe Gwaii Haanas National Marine Reserve, off the coast of British Columbia in Western Canada, is a project that has been 25 years in the making. Now the 3500 km area will be protected, with only limited human use, like small-scale fishing, allowed.

Parks Canada's aim for the reserve is to 'balance protection and sustainable use' and to 'increase public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of the marine heritage of the area'.

With a multitude of links between dry land and wet sea, such as nutrient and sediment runoff, the most forward-thinking conservation plans like the Gwaii Haanas reserve encompass both land and ocean habitats.

Currently only around 1% of the oceans are protected from damaging human activities, so this is another step in the right direction.


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