Newfoundland and Labrador is richly endowed with a magnificent network of Ecological Seabird Reserves. They are surrounded by the nutrient rich coastal waters of the Labrador Current.
In 1980, the government of Newfoundland and Labrador passed the Newfoundland and Labrador Wilderness and Ecological Reserves Act (WER Act) to establish and protect natural areas with wilderness and ecological reserves. The WER-Act is considered one of the best examples of wilderness-protection legislation in Canada. It allows the public to give input into reserve creation and management. The Act can designate high levels of protection to ensure that protected areas will safeguard the unique natural qualities within their boundaries. The Ecological Reserves in Newfoundland and Labrador are administered by the Natural Areas Program in the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Funk Island Ecological Seabird Reserve is situated about 40 km off the northeast coast of Newfoundland and is the province’s smallest and most easterly reserve. Nine species of seabirds breed on Funk Island – Northern Fulmar, Northern Gannet, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake, Common Murre, Thick-billed Murre, Razorbill and Atlantic Puffin.
While our Ecological Seabird Reserves protect a diverse assemblage of seabird species, they also provide a platform of essential ecological benchmarks for understanding wildlife and environmental change. Research with seabirds is focused on how they respond to environmental change. Their behavior and ecology reveals changing fish and ocean conditions, that is, they are studied as bio-indicators of the marine environment.
Highlights of Funk Island Ecological Seabird Reserve
- Unique cemetery of the extinct Great Auk
- Largest Common Murre colony in the world
- Largest southernmost colony of Thick-billed Murres in the world
- One of 6 Gannet colonies in North America
- Largest Fulmar colony in Atlantic Canada