Narwhals © Mario Cyr

Narwhals © Mario Cyr

A milestone in marine conservation

August 1, 2019
Toronto, ON


The Nature Conservancy of Canada applauds protection through partnership in the High Arctic

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) congratulates the Qikiqtani Inuit Association and the Governments of Canada and Nunavut for today’s announcement of two new protected areas covering 427,000 square kilometres in the High Arctic.

The national non-profit conservation organization especially welcomes the news that one of those areas, the Tallurutiup Imanga National Marine Conservation Area (NMCA), is now complete and includes a signed Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement that will support nature and local communities.

This is an announcement of global significance. It is also deeply meaningful to NCC and its partners.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada is proud to have assisted and supported the establishment of the 108,000-square-kilometre Tallurutiup Imanga NMCA.

It is now Canada’s largest protected area, covering an area about twice the size of Nova Scotia.

In 2016, NCC received a voluntary contribution of 30 offshore exploratory permits from Shell Canada, covering more than 8,600 square kilometres in Baffin Bay. NCC subsequently released those permits to the Government of Canada, thereby clearing the way for the government to set larger boundaries for the Tallurutiup Imanga NMCA.  Expanding the boundaries was in keeping with Inuit aspirations to protect their traditional territory.

Tallurutiup Imanga is the eastern gateway to the Northwest Passage, the legendary corridor through Canada’s Arctic Archipelago. It is an area of critical ecological importance to marine mammals, including seal, narwhal and beluga and bowhead whales, as well as walrus and polar bear. The Tallurutiup Imanga NMCA will protect a vital marine ecosystem while supporting the sustainability of coastal Inuit communities for present and future generations.

NCC is pleased that Tallurutiup Imanga NMCA and the soon to be created Tuvaijuittuq Marine Protected Area together will contribute to Canada exceeding its international commitments on marine conservation by 2020.


“This is what successful conservation looks like. A win for nature and a win for people. We applaud all the partners who worked for decades towards ensuring the protection of Tallurutiup Imanga,” said John Lounds, president and CEO of the Nature Conservancy of Canada. “We are also grateful to Shell Canada for its contributions. Together we have supported the conservation of an area of uncommon beauty, incredible biodiversity and deep cultural significance.”


The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the nation's leading not-for-profit, private land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain.

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