NCC helps accelerate a marine conservation initiative of global significance
Pond Inlet, Lancaster Sound, NU © Parks Canada/Diane Blanchard
There is no place on earth quite like Tallurutiup Tariunga, or Lancaster Sound. It is a place of uncommon beauty and natural richness.
The ocean nurtures populations of marine mammals, including polar bears, narwhal, beluga and bowhead whales. It is home to a spectacular abundance of fish and seabirds. It sustains coastal Inuit communities, whose people have relied on these abundant waters and lived in harmony with nature for thousands of years.
Walruses, Lancaster Sound (Photo by Mario Cyr)
On June 8, 2016, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) announced a new collaboration that will help accelerate a marine conservation initiative of global significance and support Canada in meeting international commitments to marine protected areas. Canada has a commitment to protecting 10 percent of our oceans and coasts. This project will help achieve that goal.
What is a National Marine Conservation Area?
Parks Canada defines National Marine Conservation Areas as:
“Marine areas managed for sustainable use and containing smaller zones of high protection. They include the seabed, the water above it and any species which occur there. They may also take in wetlands, estuaries, islands and other coastal lands.”
Lancaster Sound at a glance
- Lancaster Sound is at the eastern entrance to the Northwest Passage, the legendary corridor through Canada’s Arctic Archipelago.
- This habitat type is called polynya – it’s a place where open water remains into the winter.
- The coastal area features cliffs 300-400 metres high and is interspersed with inlets, bays and fjords that carve into the coast.
- The area supports hundreds of thousands of seabirds; species include dovekies, black-legged kittiwakes, thick-billed murres and the endangered ivory gulls.
- Lancaster Sound contains an Important Bird Area and is adjacent to Bylot Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary.
- The area has the world’s second-most-dense population of polar bears (5.26 polar bears per 1,000 square kilometres).
- Three-quarters (70,000 individuals) of the world’s narwhals return to Lancaster Sound each year.
- Many bowhead whales and one-third of North America’s beluga whales transit the region each summer to reach feeding and nursing grounds in the southwest.
- Ringed and bearded seals are residents in the region. Between 20,000 to 50,000 harp seals summer in Lancaster Sound.
- Nine haul-out sites, where walruses gather by the thousands during summer, have been recorded in the area.