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"Sea turtles wait for waters off the coast of Nova Scotia to warm up before coming up to hunt down the elusive jellyfish."
Canadian News | Wildlife & Nature

Federal government makes historic move to protect ocean

Daksha Rangan
Digital Reporter

Friday, June 9, 2017, 12:28 PM - Nova Scotia's St. Anns Bank has officially become the province's largest ever marine-protected area (MPA) — a first step in conservation efforts, as Atlantic Canada's waters are one of the world's most important feeding areas for leatherback sea turtles.

"Sea turtles wait for waters off the coast of Nova Scotia to warm up before coming up to hunt down the elusive jellyfish," Kathleen Martin, executive director of the Canadian Sea Turtle Network, told The Weather Network.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Minister Dominic LeBlanc made the announcement on Thursday, as part of World Oceans Day 2017. The area has officially been given designation under the Oceans Act.

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Covering 4,364 square-kilometres of water, the area will be protected from offshore mining and drilling, commercial fishing, and bottom-trawling (the practice of dragging a fishing net across the ocean floor.)

Activities exempt from the protection regulations include Aboriginal fishing, marine transportation, national security public safety, and — if unapproved by the DFO — scientific research.

According to Global News, a cost-benefit analysis of the impact to fishing pursuits produced an estimated $160,000 in lost landings due to the new regulations; however, as DFO senior economist Cory Large told the publication, "[t]hat’s less than one per cent of the total activity that goes on on eastern Cape Breton."

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Nova Scotia's latest MPA is part of the country's commitment to 5 per cent marine protection by 2017, and 10 per cent protection by 2020 — a figure that includes "all of Canada's ocean real estate."

"It's a larger part of the leatherback turtles habitat in our region where the turtles can find and feed on the jellyfish without worrying about getting caught in or interacting with rope," Martin tells The Weather Network's Nathan Coleman. "[S]o it's protecting their feeding habitat, and also [it] will provide some protection for the actual turtles."

Watch Below: Celebrating World Oceans Day

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