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At the Fundian Channel-Browns Bank, the Bay of Fundy spills out – via an undersea channel – into the larger ocean. As the largest entrance to the Gulf of Maine from the open Atlantic Ocean, many species, including basking sharks, use this migration corridor to pass through some of the region’s most diverse and productive marine ecosystems.

The northeast channel portion, for example, contains the densest known concentrations of large gorgonian corals in Atlantic Canada, and unique glass sponge populations can be found within the proposed boundary. Local communities have long sought to implement protection measures for this unique ecosystem, says Susanna Fuller, vice-president, conservation and projects, Oceans North. “This area is vital to connecting many other protections of deep sea corals and sponges across the Scotian Shelf.”

Because of the high level of ecosystem productivity with vibrant sea floor communities, forage fish, seabirds, whales and commercially important species, “the area has been an important fishing ground over the centuries,” she explains. “When fishermen first raised concerns about the impacts of fishing on corals, this was the place they were most concerned about.”

Conservation efforts have already contributed to the establishment of the first deep sea coral protections in Canada in 2002. And in 2018, Browns Bank was announced by Fisheries and Oceans Canada as an area of interest, with “recent work being undertaken to finalize boundaries and conservation objectives,” says Fuller. “As the process comes to completion, having support of all stakeholders will be foundational to its success.”

The Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia, as represented by the Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn, are also expressing concerns about the health and longevity of traditional lands and waters and look to long-held Mi’kmaw principals, such as Netukulimk, which speaks to conservation and resource management. The Mi’kmaq recognize a responsibility to protect our oceans and all the life within them, advanced by a marine protected area in the Fundian Channel-Browns Bank.

Advertising feature produced by Randall Anthony Communications with SeaBlue Canada. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.