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 have certain restrictions due to the significance and sensitivity of the site. Access to Middle Lawn Island is by special permit only, in order to limit disturbances to seabirds during breeding, and their burrows year-round. During the breeding season (March 15 - October 30), access to Swale and Colombier Islands is also by special permit only. At that time only those conducting approved scientific research, people with valid access permits, and authorized government personnel can visit the seabird nesting areas. There are no access restrictions for hiking on Swale and Colombier Islands outside of the breeding season.

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

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

In addition, at Lawn Bay Ecological Reserve:

  • No hunting is allowed in the reserve.
  • Motorized or non-motorized boats can approach to the islands up to a distance of 100 metres from all islands in the reserve during the breeding season (March 15-Oct 30). During the rest of the year, there are no distance restrictions for boats in the marine portion of Lawn Bay Ecological Reserve.
  • Boaters approaching the islands must do so carefully, so as not to disturb the birds.
  • Tankers or other vessels longer than 20 metres are not permitted within the marine portion of the reserve.
  • Restrictions also apply to cruise ships or tour boat operators - see Permits & Forms.
  • 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 October 30.

More information on rules and regulations for scientific researchers, fishers, local residents, commercial tour boat operators, Coast Guard staff, and other potential visitors are available online or by contacting the Natural Areas Program.

Read the official reserve regulations:

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