Bay of Fundy

The Bay of Fundy is a global treasure in need of greater protection. Despite its ecological significance, the Bay lacks a national marine conservation area.

This puts wildlife at risk, drawn to the Bay for its rich upwelling zones, including the endangered North Atlantic right whale, and the millions of shorebirds that flock to the salt marshes and mudflats on the Bay of Fundy each year on their annual migrations.  The Bay is becoming increasingly industrialized, with proposals for tidal turbines and coastal mega-quarries, all before key conservation zones have been identified and protected.  Conservation must come before industrialization, or the most important places in the Bay of Fundy will be jeopardized.

Conservation Significance

  • World's highest tides and associated rich upwelling zones
  • Concentrations of whales, including humpback whales and fin whales
  • Important population of North Atlantic Right whales, one of the most threatened species in the world
  • Long stretches of undeveloped shoreline supporting over a million migratory shorebirds each year
  • Rich tidal salt marshes, some of the most productive ecosystems on Earth
  • Deep-sea coral occurrences
  • Some of the largest known Horse Mussel reefs in the world

The threat

Government inaction

Despite existing commitments to establish a National Marine Conservation Area in the Bay of Fundy, the federal government has made little progress over the years in establishing this marine protected area.  This leaves the Bay, and its populations of whales, vulnerable to industrialization.

What CPAWS is doing

CPAWS is working to establish a network of marine protected areas in the Bay of Fundy to protect its important natural features.  This includes establishing a National Marine Conservation Area near Digby Neck and Islands to protect an important marine zone where a wide diversity of whales congregate each year.  Here, you will find humpback whales, fin whales, and endangered North Atlantic right whales, as well as porpoises and puffins.  Parks Canada has now completed a scientific study of the Bay of Fundy to identify sites of ecological importance and the outer Bay of Fundy where most of the whales congregate comes up as the highest priority for protection.  The release of this report is a key first step in establishing a National Marine Conservation Area in the Bay of Fundy. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans should also commit to undertaking MPA network planning within the Bay of Fundy to protect the full range of conservation features that occur in this globally-significant marine ecosystem.

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