New Brunswick

Bay of Fundy protection urged

A national environmental group is accusing the federal government of dragging its feet in establishing a marine-protected area in the Bay of Fundy.

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society accuses Ottawa of dragging its feet

The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society says a balance must be struck between protection and development in the Bay of Fundy. (Kara Mahoney Robinson/New England Aquarium)

A national environmental group is accusing the federal government of dragging its feet in establishing a marine-protected area in the Bay of Fundy.

The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society issued a report on Monday on Ottawa's progress in meeting a challenge issued 18 months ago to establish 12 new marine protected areas by the end of 2012.

The society's executive-director, Roberta Clowater, believes a study was done about a year ago, but has yet to be made public.

She says rules are needed quickly to monitor business projects that can threaten the delicate environment in the Bay of Fundy.

"It's really important to protect it from the large-scale industrial activities and to make sure all those different activities happening — dragging, aquaculture, and shipping, and LNG [liquified natural gas] terminals — that they all don't come together to impact negatively the fish habitat, the whales and the other natural systems," said Clowater.

A balance must be struck between protection and development in the Bay of Fundy, she said.

"The next step would be a feasibility study that would actually examine what the implications might be for protection in the Bay of Fundy," Clowater said.

"And work with the stakeholders, the provincial government and communities to talk about those issues and figure out how do we actually protect those values that are so important to everybody, and at the same time, not detrimentally impact the economic activities that are going on."

Clowater says only one third of the 12 recommended protected areas have been acted upon.

The federal government has committed to protecting 10 per cent of its marine areas by 2020.

now