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Quebec Bulletin
December 2013 - January 2014/Volume 16/Number 6

Consultation on Eastern Canada's Corals and Sponges

Sea strawberry
Sea strawberry

Fisheries and Oceans Canada will soon hold a consultation on the Eastern Canada Coral and Sponge Conservation Strategy. For this consultation, the Department will target different stakeholders from the fishing, shipping, mining and oil industries, as well as non-governmental organizations, First Nations, and federal and provincial departments.

Initiated by the Newfoundland and Labrador Region's Centre of Expertise in Cold-Water Corals and Sponge Reefs, the Strategy aims to define current knowledge on corals and sponges, specify the national and international context of coral conservation and describe current research and conservation efforts in Eastern Canada's waters. The Strategy suggests a more comprehensive approach for conserving this fragile ecosystem, based on better coordination of management and research efforts. It defines, for Eastern Canada, departmental conservation, management and research objectives shared by the Newfoundland and Labrador, Central and Arctic, Maritimes, Gulf and Quebec regions. This Strategy also aims to harmonize existing laws and policies by emphasizing ecosystem-based management.

The various coral and sponge communities play a critical role in the health of certain ecosystems. They serve as a shelter and as nursery, spawning and breeding grounds for numerous aquatic species. Corals and sponges grow slowly, live a long time and are sensitive to human activities. It is therefore important that the Government of Canada implement measures to protect this vulnerable marine ecosystem.

The Eastern Canada Coral and Sponge Conservation Strategy will be available on Fisheries and Oceans Canada's regional website in December.

Sylvie Sirois
Ecosystems Management

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