National Marine Conservation Areas, or NMCA for short, are marine areas managed for sustainable use and containing smaller zones of high protection. They include the seabed, the water above it and any species which occur there. They may also take in wetlands, estuaries, islands and other coastal lands. (from Parks Canada)


The steps in the establishment of a new are as follows:


1.  Identifying representative marine areas (candidate sites) takes into  consideration:

  • geologic features (such as cliffs, beaches, and islands on the coast; and shoals, basins, troughs and shelves on the seabed)
  • marine features (tides, ice, water masses, currents, salinity, freshwater influences)
  • marine and coastal habitats (wetlands, tidal flats, estuaries, high current areas, protected areas, inshore and offshore areas, shallow and deep water areas)
  • biology (plants, plankton, invertebrates, fish, seabirds and marine mammals)
  • archaeological and historic features
  • Selecting a potential from the candidate sites identified involves looking at:
  • quality of regional representation
  • relative importance for maintaining biodiversity
  • protecting critical habitats of endangered species
  • exceptional natural and cultural features
  • existing or planned marine protected areas
  • minimizing conflict with resource users
  • threats to the sustainability of marine ecosystems
  • implications of Aboriginal claims and treaties
  • potential for education and enjoyment
  • value for ecological research and monitoring

2.  Assessing the feasibility of a requires the cooperation and support of (this is where the Point to Point PEC proposal is standing. The proposed location had previously been identified as a suitable candidate for a NMCA in 2001):

  • other federal departments and provincial or territorial governments
  • local communities, regional stakeholders and Aboriginal peoples


3.  Extensive local consultations are undertaken. Working groups or advisory bodies may be set up to develop and assess proposals. Proposals may also be considered within other appropriate planning processes.

4.  Negotiating an agreement. If the feasibility study demonstrates support for the initiative, a federal/provincial or federal/territorial agreement will be negotiated to set out the terms and conditions under which the will be established and managed.

5.  Establishment of a NMCA


In addition to the ecological significance of marine and terrestrial species and habitat, the many shipwrecks within the waters around the South Shore, Main and False Duck Islands, makes this area a very rich part of Canadian heritage and culture.


"Archaeological heritage is an essential element in the affirmation of our Canadian identity and a source of inspiration and knowledge. It is the policy of the Government of Canada to protect and manage this heritage. (from Archaeological Heritage Policy Framework, Department of Canadian Heritage, Ottawa, 1990)


Parks Canada is a federal agency and the custodian of national parks, many national historic sites and the national marine conservation areas of Canada. It is committed through its mandate and charter to enabling Canadians to have memorable experiences but in a way that ensures the protection of the natural and cultural heritage (which includes archaeological heritage) of these special places. Our work is based on integrating protection, education and unforgettable experiences. (from Parks Canada)