Ecological Reserve

Funk Island Ecological Seabird Reserve

Newfoundland and Labrador is richly endowed with a magnificent network of Ecological Seabird Reserves.  They are located in nutrient rich ocean nourished by the cold arctic water of the Labrador Current.

Ecological Seabird Reserves of Newfoundland and Labrador

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 in 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 features within their boundaries.  The Ecological Reserves are administered by the Natural Areas Program in the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources.      

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 changes.  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.  And we use them in risk analyses of the influences of climatic and anthropogenic stressors and perturbations.


The dawn of a new day on Funk Island