The proposed area in south-east James Bay is noted for a remarkable biodiversity including the most southern population of polar bears in the world as well as a distinct sub-population of beluga whales.
First proposed to Parks Canada in 2009, the NMCA project is strongly supported by the communities of Wemindji and Eastmain, as well as by the Grand Council of the Crees, as a way of balancing development in the community with protection of their environment. The signing of the offshore land claim agreement in 2011 set the stage for Parks Canada and the Grand Council of the Crees to formally begin talks about the creation of the NMCA. However, no further discussions have been held since 2011.
Photo credit: usfws28