The Canadian Arctic hosts millions of marine birds annually, many of which aggregate in large numbers at well-defined sites at predictable times of the year. Marine habitats in this region will be under increasing threats from anthropogenic activities, largely facilitated by climate change and long-term trends of reduced sea ice extent and thickness. In this review, we update previous efforts to delineate the most important habitats for marine birds in Arctic Canada, using the most current population estimates for Canada, as well as recent information from shipboard surveys and telemetry studies. We identify 349 160 km2 of key habitat, more than doubling earlier suggestions for key habitat extent. As of 2018, 1% of these habitats fall within the boundaries of legislated protected areas. New marine conservation areas currently being finalized in the Canadian Arctic will only increase the proportion protected to 13%.

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Environmental Reviews
Department of Biology

Mallory, M.L. (Mark L.), Gaston, A.J. (Anthony J.), Provencher, J.F. (Jennifer F.), Wong, S.N.P. (Sarah N.P.), Anderson, C. (Christine), Elliott, K.H. (Kyle H.), … Spencer, N.C. (Nora C.). (2019). Identifying key marine habitat sites for seabirds and sea ducks in the Canadian Arctic. Environmental Reviews (Vol. 27, pp. 215–240). doi:10.1139/er-2018-0067