Anguniaqvia niqiqyuam MPA


The maps, diagrams and coordinates on this website are provided for general information and are not to be used for fishing, navigation and other purposes. Please consult the MPA Regulations or contact your regional DFO office for official coordinates.


Anguniaqvia niqiqyuam (Ung-u-niak-via Ni-kig-e-um) was designated on November 16, 2016 as a Marine Protected Area under the Oceans Act. The Anguniaqvia niqiqyuam Marine Protected Area (ANMPA) is located in Darnley Bay, within the Amundsen Gulf, near the community of Paulatuk, NT. The ANMPA borders the east coast of the Parry Peninsula and surrounds Cape Parry, NT. The ANMPA is located within the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR), as defined by the Western Arctic Claim - Inuvialuit Final Agreement. The ANMPA is part of the Western Arctic bioregion network of marine protected areas (in development).

Anguniaqvia niqiqyuam MPA
Anguniaqvia niqiqyuam MPA

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Anguniaqvia niqiqyuam Marine Protected Area


Anguniaqvia niqiqyuam Marine Protected Area is located in Darnley Bay, Near the community of Paulatuk, Northwest Territories. It is the first Marine Protected Area with conservation objectives based on traditional and Indigenous knowledge.

The area provides a critical habitat for many important marine species, and it is culturally significant for the Inuvialuit, who fish, hunt, and travel in the area.

Ecological Importance
Illustration by DFO

Illustration by DFO

The Anguniaqvia niqiqyuam Marine Protected Area (ANMPA) has been identified as an ecologically important area that provides critical habitat for Arctic char, cod, beluga whales, ringed and bearded seals, polar bears, as well as sea birds.

In the open-water season, near shore waters in the ANMPA provide migratory and feeding habitat for Arctic char and other fish species that migrate from the sea to fresh water to spawn. Offshore waters in the ANMPA support a variety of marine invertebrates, fish, marine mammals and birds.

During winter, the sea ice in the ANMPA provides breeding and feeding habitat for polar bears and seals. Areas of open water within the sea ice (polynyas) offer critical feeding areas and promote aggregations of marine mammals and their prey.

The ANMPA is also culturally important for the Inuvialuit, as it supports subsistence harvesting of Arctic char, beluga, birds and other species by the community of Paulatuk, Northwest Territories (NT). The community also utilizes portions of the ANMPA for travel, education and other traditional activities.

The Arctic climate is experiencing rapid environmental changes resulting in new socio-economic opportunities and challenges for the Arctic region. For example, warming may result in an extended shipping season or create new shipping routes. This may make access to mining, oil and gas exploration and development, increased commercial fishing opportunities, research, and tourism easier across the Arctic. Increased accessibility for these types of activities poses a risk to the habitat, biodiversity and ecosystem functions within the Arctic, generally, and within the ANMPA, specifically.

The ANMPA has been identified as ecologically important by both science and Inuvialuit traditional knowledge. MPA designation provides early, long-term and comprehensive protection to this ecologically important marine area, consistent with the purposes of Section 35 of the Oceans Act. It will allow for the proper management of human-induced pressures that would otherwise adversely impact the ecologically significant components of the area.

Ecological Assessment and overview report [PDF]

Photo credit: Ringed seal, RJ Stewart, DFO

Photo credit: Ringed seal, RJ Stewart, DFO

Photo credit: Polar bear, R. Smith, DFO

Photo credit: Polar bear, R. Smith, DFO

Management & Conservation

The Anguniaqvia niqiqyuam Marine Protected Area (ANMPA) was established collaboratively by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and the Inuvialuit, together with stakeholders from industry, environmental non-government organizations (ENGOs) and the government of the Northwest Territories. DFO and the Fisheries Joint Management Committee, along with the community of Paulatuk co-manage the area and, together, provide guidance on management, monitoring and research decisions for the ANMPA.

The conservation objectives of the MPA are:

  • To maintain the integrity of the marine environment offshore of the Cape Parry Migratory Bird Sanctuary so that it is productive and allows for higher trophic level feeding. The MPA will do this by making sure that the Cape Parry polynyas and associated sea-ice habitat, and the role of key prey species (e.g., Arctic Cod), are not disrupted by human activities;
  • To maintain the habitat to support populations of key species (such as beluga whales, Arctic char, and ringed and bearded seals).

An ANMPA management plan is being developed to guide the day to day management, governance, and monitoring of the ANMPA. It will also guide reporting on the area. The management plan will describe public education and outreach, enforcement and compliance initiatives, as well as regulatory and non-regulatory measures. The inclusion of regulatory and non-regulatory measures is essential to ensuring the continued support of other legislation, regulations and policies that contribute to the protection of this area.

The management plan will address needs identified by the community of Paulatuk, co-management partners, DFO, additional partners and proponents on aspects related to the governance and the management responsibilities of the area. The plan will also describe and define the roles and responsibilities of the advisory committee that will provide advice to DFO regarding the management of the ANMPA. This will include guidelines and work plans related to the non-regulatory management components.

As the lead federal authority for the ANMPA, DFO has the overall responsibility for ensuring compliance with, and enforcement of, the Regulations. This will be undertaken through the Department’s enforcement responsibilities under the Oceans Act and the Fisheries Act, and other departmental legislation regarding fisheries conservation, environmental protection, habitat protection and marine safety. Enforcement officers designated by the Minister according to Section 39 of the Oceans Act would enforce the management actions and Regulations for these areas. Enforcement of the Regulations would be dealt with under Section 37 of the Oceans Act, as would any offences.

Activity applications

In Marine Protected Areas established under the Oceans Act, it is prohibited to carry out any activity that disturbs, damages, destroys or removes any living marine organism or any part of its habitat or is likely to do so. There are exceptions to these prohibitions that recognize Indigenous rights and matters of public safety. Activities that may be allowed to occur in the Marine Protected Area are listed under the ‘exception’ section of the Marine Protected Area regulations and include:

  • Inuvialuit fishing for subsistence purposes and recreational fishing;
  • Navigation activities; including if necessary dredging for the purpose of community resupply of goods; and
  • Activities carried out for public safety, public health, national defence, national security, law enforcement or in response to an emergency.

In addition, certain types of activities may be allowed to occur within the MPA if a proponent submits an activity plan to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) for Ministerial approval. The conditions for approval are outlined in the MPA regulations. Activities requiring an activity plan include:

  • Scientific research and monitoring;
  • Educational activities; and,
  • Marine tourism.

If you are interested in conducting one of these activities within the ANMPA, you must complete and submit an application form to DFO at least 60 days prior to the planned start date for the activity.

For more information on the activity plan process, please contact

Research and Publications
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