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Water Today Title June 29, 2022

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By Cori Marshall

This story is brought to you in part by Biomass Recycle

On August 14, Canada, Nunavut and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association announced that they had come to an agreement on the final boundaries of what will be the country's largest National Maritime Conservation Area (NMCA). The establishment of the NMCA is not final, the process will be finalized when an Inuit Impact and Benefits Agreement is signed, which won't be before March 2019.

Sima Sahar Zerehi, Director of Communications for the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, said that they are "celebrating the announcement about the boundaries of the of the Talluruptip Imanga (Lancaster Sound) National Marine Conservation Area." The agreement on the limits of the area didn't come without local engagement, Zerehi added "Inuit in the region fought hard to secure these expanded boundaries."

Once the Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement is finalized the NMCA "will be the largest protected area ever established in Canada." Zerehi highlighted that "it was Inuit Qauijimajimajatuqangit, or traditional knowledge about Talluruptip Imanga that helped determine the extent of Inuit use of the area and allow for the expanded conservation area."

With a presence in the area from time immemorial, the sound "has a profound significance to Inuit in coastal communities." It was community "elders who helped understand how this ecosystem is connected to Inuit communities in the region." Moreover "the area is thriving marine life, [and] is the cultural heart of the region," Zerehi said.

Zerehi underlined that this agreement ensures "that Inuit today and in the future, would not only be able to hunt and fish in Talluruptip Imanga, as guaranteed through the Nunavut Agreement, but also benefit from its joint management as a protected area."

Parks Canada said in a statement to WaterToday that the sound "is of critical ecological importance to marine mammals, [and] provides the feeding area for some of the most important seabird breeding colonies in the Arctic, with populations totaling hundreds of thousands." They also said that it is "equally important the area is a traditional hunting ground and a place where the vibrant culture and well-being of Inuit is strongly tied to the land and sea." The area "is essential for the maintenance of Inuit way of life."

The 109 thousand square kilometre will help Canada meet almost half if its 2017 conservation targets. The government has set the goal of 2020 for meeting their target of conserving a minimum of 10% of the country's coastal and marine

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