The Eastport MPAs Round Island MPA and Duck Island MPA
The Oceans Act, which came into force on January 31, 1997, provides authority for the development of tools necessary to carry out Canada’s Ocean Strategy, such as the establishment of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
The Eastport initiative was grassroots driven, based on proposals received from local community sponsor groups requesting that the area be considered under the MPA Program. Eastport was officially designated as a MPA in the fall of 2005. The Eastport MPA is comprised of two closed areas, Duck Island and Round Island. The MPAs are part of an overall lobster conservation strategy for the Eastport Peninsula and are located within a 400km2 conservation area known as the Eastport Peninsula Lobster Management Area (EPLMA).
A Management Plan outlining the conservation objectives, management measures, monitoring program, and public education and awareness activities was completed in 2007 and the 5-year Management Plan has been updated to guide the MPAs from 2013 to 2018.
The regulatory conservation objective for the Eastport MPAs is to maintain a viable population of American Lobster through the conservation, protection, and sustainable use of resources and habitats within the Eastport Peninsula Lobster Management Area.
At a glance:
- In response to declining trends in lobster landings along the northeast coast of Newfoundland in the early 1990s, a group of stakeholders in the Eastport area, formed the Eastport Peninsula Lobster Protection Committee (EPLPC) in 1995.
- The aim of the EPLPC was to implement an overall lobster conservation strategy for the Eastport Peninsula. Based on the initial success of various measures implemented for this initiative (such as self-policing and monitoring to reduce illegal fishing, and V-notching to protect egg-bearing females), they continued their work with DFO.
- In 1997, an agreement between the Eastport Peninsula Lobster Protection Committee and DFO was developed to limit local fisheries, and to close two areas known to be productive lobster habitats: Duck Island and Round Island (combined total area of 2.1 km2). These waters were later closed under the Fisheries Act to all commercial and recreational fishing activity.
- Eastport was officially designated as a Marine Protected Area under the Oceans Act in October 2005. The disturbance, damage, destruction, or removal of any living organism or any part of its habitat within the MPAs is prohibited.
- Fishery officers in the area serve as the primary enforcement body and community watch groups to ensure that the proposed management actions and Regulations for the area are respected.
- Scientific monitoring programs have been implemented for the MPAs to assess the effectiveness of management actions to achieve the conservation objectives. Lobster harvesters were trained by DFO staff to carry out the data collection every year, which looks at lobster movement and population structure data, at-sea sampling data, and logbooks.