Sections of the Bay of Fundy could come under federal protection as the Trudeau government increases protected marine and coastal areas from 1.3 per cent to 5 per cent by 2017 and to 10 per cent by 2020.
Maxine Westhead, section head for the marine protected areas program for the Maritimes under Fisheries and Oceans Canada, says those targets are driving current consultations.
She says the fisheries department has been talking with communities and industry groups on the Nova Scotia side of the bay, and now it`s New Brunswick's turn and the possibilities are wide-ranging.
"The tidal range of the Bay of Fundy is the largest in the world and that drives and shapes the ecosystems you find here," said Westhead, speaking to Information Morning Fredericton.
She says the Musquash estuary is the only area of the Bay to have marine protected area status now, but that could expand to include areas such as Head Harbour and the West Isles and the whole Quoddy region, which she says has high biological diversity and productivity.
"Over 2,000 species in that area have been identified and it has the highest biodiversity range in the Bay of Fundy," said Westhead.
Fifteen areas within the Bay of Fundy have been identified so far as areas of interest. Westhead says consultations are taking place with community and industry groups, as well as scientists, and "we`re open to anyone who wants to have a say."
Once consultations are complete it can take between one and five years for the designation of a protected area to take effect.
Westhead says anyone interested in taking part in the discussions can contact her directly at Maxine.Westhead@dfo-mpo.gc.ca.