Canada's Ocean, Freshwater & US

Location: Arctic Marine Coastal/Offshore
Approximate Area: 31,941,136 hectares
Date of Designation: 2019
Conservation Objectives

To contribute to the preservation, protection, and knowledge of the High Arctic sea ice ecosystem’s natural diversity, functions, and dynamism.


No new or additional human activities are permitted to occur in this area for the next five years with certain exceptions. These expectations include the exercise of Inuit rights respecting wildlife harvesting, marine scientific research consistent with the conservation objectives of the MPA, or safety, security and emergency activities.

Why (environmental context for protection)

Tuvaijuittuq is a marine protected area in the Arctic Ocean off the coast of Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, whose Inuktut name translates to “the place where the ice never melts.” As its name suggests, Tuvaijuittuq is characterised by the presence of multi-year pack ice, and this region has the oldest and thickest sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. This ice is an important part of Arctic ecosystems as it provides habitat for ice-adapted organisms, such as microscopic algae, that form the basis of the Arctic marine food webs that feed everything from fish to polar bears. With rising temperatures due to climate change, polar ice is at risk. But the ice found within Tuvaijuittuq is thicker and older than other ice in the Arctic, meaning it is expected to last even as the climate warms. This could make this area a unique and potentially important future summer habitat for ice-dependent species, including walrus, seals, and polar bears.