Health of Gulf of St. Lawrence keynote at World Oceans Week Symposium
'For human beings it is a very productive area that we have to take care of'
The Gulf of St. Lawrence laps P.E.I.'s north shore and is a way of life for many people providing for industries such as fishing.
But you might not know about what makes it unique — and the threats it faces.
Biologist Sylvain Archambault will be in P.E.I. this weekend to tell Islanders all about the St. Lawrence at the World Oceans Week Symposium.
"It's a small inland sea six times smaller than the Gulf of Mexico and it has complex currents," said the biologist with the Quebec chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.
Archambault said the Gulf of St. Lawrence is the longest gulf estuary and river ecosystem in the world, and allows travel for gigantic animals like whales.
"For human beings it is a very productive area that we have to take care of. Hundreds of communities across the five provinces surrounding the gulf depend on the health of the gulf for their well being."
Impact in one area, far reaching
For everyone in the area it is a way of life, he said, but especially P.E.I. who is right in the middle of it.
"Impacts in one area could have far reaching impacts across the gulf, so we have to really get a sense of the interactions across this gulf."
He said there are multiple threats to the gulf right now. It is getting warmer and acidity is increasing due to climate change.
"This has a direct impact on shellfish, on animals that have an exoskeleton."
Pollution from effluents is also a top concern when it comes to the health of the gulf, it is sensitive to all environmental impacts, Archambault said.
"The gulf is very sensitive to any oil spill."
Marine protected areas
Archambault said marine protected areas will help in preserving the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
"Marine protected areas do not solve all problems, they're not a cure all. But they are an excellent way to manage an important space."
His keynote address called The Gulf of St. Lawrence, An Ecosystem Under Threat, In Need of Love takes place on Saturday at the P.E.I. Farm Centre in Charlottetown.
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With files from Island Morning