The Government of Canada and the Mushkegowuk Council recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to assess the feasibility of creating a national marine conservation area in western James Bay and southwestern Hudson Bay.

Located in northern Ontario offshore of Treaty 9 Cree lands, the study area for the proposed national marine conservation area (NMCA) in western James Bay and southwestern Hudson Bay covers approximately 91,000km², almost twice the size of the province of Nova Scotia. Since time immemorial, western James Bay has played an important role in the cultural and economic history of the Omushkego Cree People.

The proposed NMCA in western James Bay and southwestern Hudson Bay encompasses an immense array of biodiversity. The coasts and waters are home to a number of threatened or endangered species, including beluga whales and polar bears, and serve as an important global stopover for billions of migratory birds. Enhancing the protection of these ecosystems would not only help to conserve biodiversity and assist with the fight against climate change, but would also help maintain the culture, traditions, and well-being of Omushkego Cree communities who have long been stewards of these lands and waters.

A new NMCA in this culturally important and biodiversity rich area presents an opportunity to strengthen a nation-to-nation relationship with First Nations, and will contribute to Canada’s growing network of protected and conserved areas. These protected areas help safeguard Canada’s biodiversity and provide opportunities for Canadians to experience the outdoors, learn about our environment, and significantly contribute to the protection and preservation of Canada’s most vulnerable ecosystems.

Did you know?

The Mushkegowuk Council represents seven First Nations along the James Bay coast: Attawapiskat First Nation, Chapleau Cree First Nation, Fort Albany First Nation, Kashechewan First Nation, Missanabie Cree First Nation, Moose Cree First Nation, Taykwa Tagamou Nation. Weenusk First Nation and Fort Severn are also participating in the NMCA project.

  • Map (Cree version)

    Map of National Marine Conservation Area Study Area - western James Bay

    Long description: This map identifies the study area for the proposed National Marine Conservation Area in western James Bay and southwestern Hudson Bay. The study area is offshore of Treaty 9 Cree lands, beginning to the northeast of Moosonee and extending to the northwest of Fort Severn.

     


  • Map (English version)

    Map of National Marine Conservation Area Study Area - western James Bay

    Long description: This map identifies the study area for the proposed National Marine Conservation Area in western James Bay and southwestern Hudson Bay. The study area is offshore of Treaty 9 Cree lands, beginning to the northeast of Moosonee and extending to the northwest of Fort Severn.