Nova Scotia has asked the federal government to stop setting aside new marine protected areas off Nova Scotia — at least for now.
The province says it’s had more than its fair share of offshore set aside and is concerned about the economic impact of a designation, which can restrict activities like fishing or offshore energy development.
“We’re all for protecting marine areas. It’s important for the country. We just want to ensure there is fairness and equity,” said Nova Scotia Energy Minister Geoff MacLellan.
The province made its request in an April 5 letter from Nova Scotia’s ministers of energy, fisheries and natural resources to federal Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc.
“Nova Scotia has reached the right balance for now. We suggest that the federal government now work with other jurisdictions to reach the high level of protection that has been achieved in Nova Scotian waters before Nova Scotia is asked to make further contributions,” the letter states.
‘Focus on other areas’
Nova Scotia Fisheries Minister Keith Colwell was more blunt in an April 27 letter to the province’s fish processors.
“We are concerned about the economic impacts and have indicated to the federal government that we are not presently supporting the designation of additional areas around Nova Scotia,” Colwell wrote.
“The federal government focus should be on other areas that have contributed far less than Nova Scotia.”
Colwell has written his own letter to LeBlanc asking that marine protection designations include a means to consider future access.
He said the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has not responded to the Nova Scotia request and the department did not respond to a CBC inquiry Thursday.
The federal government has committed to protecting five per cent of Canada’s oceans by this year and 10 per cent by 2020. So far, it has protected one per cent.
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