Fisheries and Land Resources

Rules & Regulations

Biodiversity protection and habitat conservation are two of the key purposes of ecological reserves, so certain rules apply within all the reserves in the province.

The public can visit most ecological reserves for educational purposes or low-impact recreational activities, such as hiking or sightseeing. These activities are not allowed at the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve due to the significance and sensitivity of the site. Only people holding valid permits can land on the islands. Regulations also govern vessel activities in the marine component of the reserve.

The following activities are strictly prohibited in all wilderness and ecological reserves:

  • Disturbing, destroying, or removing plants or animals
  • Introducing plants, animals, or anything else to the reserve landscape
  • Forestry, mining (including exploration), hydro development, agriculture, new roads, tracks, or building construction
  • Driving off-road vehicles including all-terrain vehicles (ATVs)

In addition, in the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve:

  • No hunting is allowed in the reserve
  • Motorized boats are not permitted within 20 metres of the shore (100 metres for Green Island) during the breeding season (April 1-September 1)
  • Non-motorized boats can approach to 15 metres (50 metres at Green Island) from April 1-September 1
  • Licenced tour boat operators are exempt from the distance restrictions
  • Tankers or other vessels longer than 20 metres are not allowed in the marine portion of the reserve
  • Boaters approaching the islands must do so carefully, so as not to disturb the birds
  • Kayakers who paddle in the marine area of the reserve are not allowed to land on the islands
  • Commercial and recreational fishing in accordance with other applicable legislation is permitted within the marine waters of the reserve
  • Aircraft are not permitted to fly lower than 300 metres, take off, or land within the reserve from April 1 to September 1.

Read the official reserve regulations:

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