Protect Canada's Great Inland Sea

Hudson Bay Marine Conservation Area

Hudson Bay is losing ice faster than most parts of the Arctic. That doesn’t just make it harder for polar bears to hunt. It also means there will be more ships in Canada’s great inland sea.

The federal government has identified a huge swath of Hudson Bay that could be protected as a National Marine Conservation Area along the coasts of Manitoba and Ontario.

This could help ensure the survival of polar bears, belugas, sea birds and hundreds of other species which are under increasing pressure from the changes in Hudson Bay.

Federal protection would help maintain and enhance local livelihoods, bolster the region's tourism industry, create new jobs and bring infrastructure investments.

Help protect Hudson Bay! Tell Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew to work with the federal government to establish the Western Hudson Bay NMCA.


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Protect Arctic Marine Habitat

Hudson Bay is losing ice faster than most parts of the Arctic. Help protect polar bears, beluga whales and many other threatened creatures in Canada’s great inland sea.

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What is a National Marine Conservation Area?

National Marine Conservation Areas (NMCAs) can protect ocean habitats from harmful activities, allowing marine ecosystems and species to recover and better withstand the impacts of climate change.

Canada has committed to protecting 30% of its ocean by 2030, working towards protecting 30% by 2030.

Learn more about Canada’s marine protected areas by visiting our Interactive MPA Dashboard and how we can meet the ocean protection targets in our 2021 Ocean Report.

Why Canada Needs to Protect Its Ocean

Canada has the longest coastline in the world, which spans the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, as well as one of the largest ocean territories. Canada’s ocean is home to an incredibly diverse array of species – from great whales and sharks to deep-sea corals and sponges. It is, however, under extreme pressure from industrial activities like oil and gas development, mining, dumping, commercial shipping and bottom trawling. Canada’s marine ecosystems are also being impacted by climate change. 

National Marine Conservation Areas can provide safe spaces in which marine ecosystems can recover, thrive and adapt to a changing climate. NMCAs can also protect culturally important features, such as Indigenous clam gardens, and allow marine ecosystems to help mitigate the impacts of climate change through carbon storage. Marine protected areas support sustainable fisheries and provide new, long-term economic opportunities. The most effective NMCAs have strong protections and are part of a network that allows species to move between protected areas.

Currently, around 13% of Canada’s ocean is being counted towards the country’s Marine Protected Areas and Other Effective Conservation Measures (OECMs).

What CPAWS is Doing to Protect Canada's Oceans

CPAWS has been advocating for Marine Protected Areas in Canada for more than 20 years. Our mission for Canada’s ocean is simple: more MPAs, better MPAs and MPAs in the right places.

Thanks in part to CPAWS supporters who sent thousands of letters to the government , Canada has committed to protecting 30% of its ocean by 2030.

CPAWS is calling on Canada to protect at least 50% of its ocean.

These targets are essential for the long-term resilience of the planet. We are working with Indigenous governments and partners to ensure that Canada’s NMCAs are protected and managed effectively.

Learn More About CPAWS Work to Protect Canada's Oceans


Learn More About Hudson Bay

Western Hudson Bay and Its Beluga Estuaries Oceans North Report

Western Hudson Bay and Its Beluga Estuaries: Protecting Abundance for a Sustainable Future

Western Hudson Bay is a globally significant wildlife habitat, home to some of the largest concentrations of beluga whales and polar bears in the world.

For most of the year, its rugged shoreline is bound by a platform of sea ice where hundreds of polar bears roam and hunt for seals.

As the ice melts, some 55,000 beluga whales (28 per cent of the global population) migrate to the region’s major estuaries on the Churchill, Nelson and Seal rivers, to moult, calve, feed and seek protection from predators, while over 170 species of birds nest on its rocky coast.

Read this report by our partners Oceans North about why we should protect this incredible region.

Read Report

Protecting Manitoba’s Beluga Estuaries

The river estuaries in Western Hudson Bay provide invaluable summer habitat for one-third of the world’s beluga whales. However, climate change and industrial impacts threaten this region’s ecological viability and have the potential to fundamentally impact the economic base and health of coastal communities that rely on its natural resources for sustenance.

Video © The Pew Charitable Trusts and Ducks Unlimited.