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Natural Resources Canada
July 23, 2010

Government of Canada Increasing Knowledge of Canada’s North and Protecting Natural Heritage

OTTAWA — The Government of Canada today announced that it would be proceeding with a marine seismic survey of Baffin Bay after being granted approval to proceed by the Government of Nunavut.  The project will contribute to a greater understanding of the undersea geology of a broad area of the eastern Canadian Arctic and inform the creation of the Lancaster Sound marine conservation area.

“Our scientific knowledge of Canada’s North is still very limited, and we are introducing innovative concepts that will help improve our understanding of this vast area,” said the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Natural Resources. “We’ve made it a priority to map out the North.”

“The Government of Canada is committed to establishing a national marine conservation area in Lancaster Sound,” said the Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of the Environment and Minister Responsible for Parks Canada. “An improved understanding of the area is one requirement of this project in order to determine the boundaries.”

This scientific research dovetails with the Government’s efforts to identify areas for environmental protection, such as the creation in recent years of three new national wildlife areas on and near Baffin Island. In the case of Lancaster Sound, a $5-million study led by Parks Canada was announced in December 2009 as a first step in designating the area as a national marine conservation area.

“The mapping of undersea geology is essential to making better decisions on land use and economic development in the North,” said the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health and Minister responsible for the North.

The project, which is part of a five-year Natural Resource Canada Geo-mapping program, is scheduled to begin this summer. The initiative will adhere to the federal government’s published best-practice guidelines respecting marine seismic surveys. As a result of the community consultation recommended by the Nunavut Impact Review Board, additional measures will be taken to protect the marine environment, including following Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s seismic noise reduction guidelines, increasing the mammal safety zone around the ship to 1,000 metres, and ensuring that two marine wildlife monitors are on duty at all times.

In the 2010 Speech from the Throne, the Government committed to continuing to map our northern resources and waters.


The Government of Nunavut has approved the Baffin Bay/Lancaster Sound project to improve understanding of the undersea geology of a broad area of the eastern Canadian Arctic. The marine seismic survey dovetails with the Government of Canada’s efforts to identify areas for environmental protection, such as the creation of a National Marine Conservation Area in Lancaster Sound.

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