Oak Island

There are many theories about what exactly is buried on Oak Island, including pirate treasure, gold buried by the Knights Templar and missing French jewels. (CBC)

Nova Scotia's New Democrats are proposing stronger protections for Oak Island, the long-time focal point of treasure hunters searching for a yet-to-be-discovered fortune.

Interest in the Mahone Bay island has grown over the years, with the latest jump coming from a new television series on the History Channel that follows two brothers from Michigan and their hunt for treasure.

The NDP says their bill will preserve the "legacy" and "mystery" of Oak Island. The bill could only become law if it gets Liberal government support.

The New Democrats say under their bill current treasure hunting permits would be rolled into a new heritage permit. Holders will have six months to transition their permits.

Heritage permit holders would have two years to dig for treasure and the province could appoint an archaeologist to oversee the work.

There are several theories about what's hidden on the island, including pirate treasure, a golden trove buried by the Knights Templar and the missing French jewels once belonging to Marie Antoinette.

No treasure has been found.

Six people have died in pursuit of the treasure, either in collapsed excavation pits or other accidents.