Northern Labrador has been an area of continuous human use and settlement for nearly 10,000 years. Inuit have been stewards of this region since time immemorial and they continue to practice their traditions on its lands and waters. The Nunatsiavut Government has developed Imappivut (Our Oceans): A Nunatsiavut Marine Plan Initiative for the purpose of protecting and managing Labrador Inuit interests and traditional usage of the coastal and marine areas of northern Labrador.
This is an area of high conservation and cultural value and it presents an excellent opportunity for Inuit, federal and provincial governments to work together toward a shared and important goal. The Torngat Area of Interest (“Torngat-AOI”) has been identified as a strong candidate to contribute to Parks Canada’s representation and protection goals through cooperative management.
The study area for the Torngat-AOI includes coastal habitat along the shores of northern Labrador adjacent to Torngat Mountains National Park called the Labrador Shelf Marine Region. The Labrador Shelf is one of 29 marine regions that constitute Parks Canada’s system of national marine conservation areas which is currently unrepresented. The area identified as the Torngat-AOI is considered among the best candidates to represent this marine region.
The study area contains an Ecologically or Biologically Significant Area (EBSA) called the Northern Labrador EBSA, known for its importance as:
- a unique migratory area for endangered Eastern Hudson Bay belugas;
- an important area for visiting narwhals (listed as a species of Special Concern by COSEWIC);
- a breeding area for harlequin duck and Barrow’s goldeneye (listed as species of Special Concern under the Canada Species at Risk Act);
- habitat for ivory gulls and Leach’s storm petrels, listed by COSEWIC as endangered and threatened, respectively;
- summer/fall nearshore feeding habitat and migration corridor for polar bear;
- feeding and summer haul out area for ringed seal (listed as Special Concern by COSEWIC);
- rearing and feeding areas for Arctic char in both freshwater and marine habitats; and
- habitat for Atlantic wolffish (listed as Threatened by COSEWIC and SARA Schedule 1)
In addition to important concentrations of breeding and migrating seabirds and waterfowl, two Important Bird Areas (IBAs)—Seven Islands Bay and Galvano Island— are found within this EBSA.
About the region
Located at the northeastern extremity of North America, where the Davis Strait meets the Labrador Sea, Nunatsiavut covers 72,520 km2 of land (similar in size to New Brunswick) and 44,030 km2 of sea, as identified in the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement.
Torngat Mountains National Park (Tongait KakKasuangita SilakKijapvinga), which encompasses 9,700 km2 at the northern tip of the Labrador Peninsula, was established under the Canada National Parks Act as part of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement. On December 1, 2005, when Nunatsiavut was created, the new national park was presented by the Labrador Inuit as their gift to all Canadians.
Northern Labrador is home to the cold offshore Labrador Current, which is famous for carrying a steady stream of icebergs to lower latitudes and mixing with the Gulf Current off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. This sub-Arctic area is a transition between the Arctic and Atlantic habitats and communities ranging from highly scenic fjords to long beaches and mud flats.
It represents an area of significant ecological, geological and cultural importance deserving of protection for Inuit and Canadians – now and for future generations.
- Government of Canada and Nunatsiavut Government working together to protect Northern Labrador Coast
- Governments of Canada and Nunatsiavut Launch Partnership to Protect Ocean in Northern Labrador
- Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act
- Imappivut – Nunatsiavut Marine Plan
- Sea to Sea to Sea - National Marine Conservation Areas System
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