NAIN, N.L.- Ottawa and the Nunatsiavut Inuit government have formed a partnership to protect and manage the waters around northern Labrador.
The marine management plan is expected to protect a stretch of coastline that is longer than the state of California and is home to the highest concentration of polar bears in the world.
A news release from Parks Canada says the “Imappivut” initiative will create co-management of marine protected areas and “recognize and respect Labrador Inuit rights and interests.”
It says the statement of intent signed today will explore new solutions, such as Indigenous Protected Areas to maintain healthy oceans and healthy coastal communities.
Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says the partnership will protect the area from the impacts of climate change, but also strengthen the local economy through environmental stewardship, training and employment.
The waters around Labrador support a diverse array of birds, fish and whales.
“The Imappivut initiative is about recognizing Labrador Inuit connection, knowledge and rights to our ocean,” said Johannes Lampe, president of the Nunatsiavut Government.
“It is about respecting our history and current needs by partnering with the Government of Canada to develop a management plan that ultimately improves the lives of those who depend on the water and the ecosystem itself.”