A protected marine park will be built near Anticosti Island, Quebec

Ottawa and Quebec have announced their intention to protect waters near a picturesque area of ​​the Gulf of St. Lawrence recently designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault and his provincial counterpart, Benoit Charette, said Friday they were taking the first steps toward creating a protected marine park off Anticosti Island.

They say the proposed site, which extends north of the island to the Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve, is home to marine mammals, including the North Atlantic right whale, a endangered species, as well as seabird colonies and significant fish populations.

Anticosti Island was added in September to the United Nations list of places of outstanding universal value to humanity, and is said to contain the best-preserved fossil record of marine life covering 10 million years of Earth’s history.

Charette says the process of creating the marine park could take several years and will include consultations with local and regional authorities, research groups and indigenous communities.

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Charette and Guilbeault say the park will help their governments meet the goal set last year at the World Biodiversity Summit in Montreal of protecting 30 percent of land and water by 2030.

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