(Location of Shell's offshore rights being released/CNW Group - Shell Canada Ltd)

Shell Canada has announced that it will voluntarily release a large chunk of maritime area off of Vancouver Island and coastal BC in support of the creation of a protected marine conservation area.

The company held offshore exploration permits to about 50,000 square kilometres off the coast of British Columbia – area that overlapped with about a third of the newly created Scott Islands National Wildlife Area (SINWA).

SINWA covers 11,546 square kilometres off the coast of Vancouver Island and is a habitat for the islands’ seabirds, species at risk, and other wildlife.

The federal government has also announced significant funding for the management of this protected marine environment.

Over $3.2 million have been allocated to support collaborative management, research, monitoring, and the removal of introduced predators that are harmful to seabirds.

“We are encouraged by the progress the federal government is making toward its conservation commitments in Canadaand are pleased to play a role,” stated Michael Crothers, President and Country Chair of Shell Canada.

“We hope that releasing these exploratory permits is a catalyst to create other protected areas in addition to Scott Islands. We look forward to working with government, Indigenous Peoples, and environmental groups on marine conservation efforts.”

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