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Quebec Bulletin
April-May 2016/Volume 19/Number 2

Coral and Sponge Conservation Strategy

Sea pens
DFO M. Thorne and C. Savenkoff

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is undertaking the implementation of the Coral and Sponge Conservation Strategy for Eastern Canada. To do this, a departmental working group was created to identify the important areas in need of protection and to propose management measures.

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

The strategy was created by Fisheries and Oceans Canada's Centre of Expertise in Cold-Water Corals and Sponge Reefs, in Newfoundland and Labrador. The strategy suggests a more comprehensive approach for conserving this fragile ecosystem based on departmental conservation, management and research objectives shared by the Atlantic Canada and in the Arctic regions. It aims to:

  • Increase knowledge on corals and sponges.
  • Analyze the national and international coral conservation contexts.
  • Describe the research and conservation efforts in Eastern Canada's waters.
  • Harmonize current legislation and policies.
  • Focus on ecosystem-based management.

The Coral and Sponge Conservation Strategy will be implemented in such a way that minimizes its socio-economic impact on fisheries. Fisheries and Oceans Canada will also hold meetings with the fishing industry and First Nations to seek their collaboration.

To learn more on the subject, see the Coral and Sponge Conservation Strategy for Eastern Canada 2015, published in June 2015.

Sylvie Sirois
Ecosystems Management
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