First phase of Indigenous-led National Marine Conservation Area a critical step in fight against biodiversity loss and climate change


Protecting the Hudson-James Bay Lowlands will have a globally significant impact in mitigating climate change


AUG. 9, 2021 – WWF-Canada applauds today’s announcement from the Mushkegowuk Council and Parks Canada of the first step toward the designation of an Indigenous-led National Marine Conservation Area (NMCA) in the western James Bay and southwestern Hudson Bay region.

Grand Chief Solomon and Minister Wilkinson sign a MOU to assess the feasibility of a National Marine Conservation area in western James Bay and southwestern Hudson Bay.
Grand Chief Solomon and Minister Wilkinson signing the MOU (c) Megan Leslie

The assessment is another important contribution in meeting Canada’s goal to protect 30 percent of its land and waters by 2030, in a region that will benefit both biodiversity loss and climate change. The traditional territories of the Omushkego cover a large portion of the Hudson-James Bay Lowlands, the largest carbon-holding wetland in North America.

“With increasing pressures from climate change and industrial development, it’s essential that we protect the ‘right’ places for wildlife and people,” says Megan Leslie, WWF-Canada president and CEO. “Protecting the Western James Bay and Hudson Bay, which is the traditional marine territory of the Omushkego people and habitat to beluga, polar bears and shorebirds is a critical step in securing their future while protecting an important ecosystem for carbon storage. WWF-Canada is honored to be supporting Indigenous-led conservation in this globally important region.”

Indigenous-led conservation is the most effective and equitable way to safeguard species and habitats. In addition to protecting nature, embracing traditional knowledge and addressing community needs, studies have shown Indigenous-managed lands also boast higher biodiversity. WWF-Canada is proud to support the Mushkegowuk Council and celebrates the efforts that led to this important milestone.

For more information or interview requests, contact:
Rebecca Spring, senior communications manager, WWF-Canada, [email protected]

About World Wildlife Fund Canada 
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