The Tarium Niryutait Marine Protected Area (MPA) was officially announced on August 26th 2010. It is Canada’s first arctic MPA and consists of three individual areas called Niaqunnaq, Okeevik, and Kittigaryuit. Together these three areas cover approximately 1,800 square kilometres of the Mackenzie River Delta and estuary in the Beaufort Sea.
The Tarium Niryutait MPA was created through a collaborative effort by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Inuvialuit people, private industry, local stakeholders and governments. The MPA is part of Canada’s expanding network of protected ocean areas, it also plays an important role in fulfilling Canada’s commitments to managing Canada’s oceans resources.
The purpose of the Tarium Niryutait MPA is to conserve and protect the biological resources within the MPA and to support the viability of a healthy population of beluga whales. This area is particularly important to the Beaufort Sea beluga whale stock that travels to the Mackenzie Estuary during the summer months. These whales come to this area for feeding, rearing calves, moulting, socializing, and for energetics (i.e. thermal advantage).
The Tarium Niryutait MPA has traditionally been used by the Inuvialuit and is important from a cultural, subsistence and economic perspective. The MPA protects harvesting traditions central to the Inuvialuit culture in the communities of Aklavik, Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk. It balances the cultural and economic aspirations of northerners, while advancing the Government’s environmental conservation plans.
The key objectives of the Tarium Niryutait MPA are:
To conserve and protect beluga whales and other marine species (anadromous fish, waterfowl and seabirds), their habitats and their supporting ecosystem.
To ensure the long-term sustainable management of one of the world’s largest summering stock of beluga whales and their habitat.
To preserve the harvesting traditions of the Inuvialuit people in the ISR (Inuvialuit Settlement Region).
To prohibit specific activities or classes of activities that could potentially negatively impact beluga or any part of the ecosystem in the areas upon which they depend.
For more information regarding management and monitoring in the TNMPA, please visit the following links: