04/24/2013 01:57 EDT | Updated 06/24/2013 05:12 EDT

Nova Scotia tables bill to protect Sable Island, helps make it a national park

HALIFAX - Nova Scotia is introducing legislation to protect Sable Island and help make it Canada's 43rd national park.

Energy Minister Charlie Parker says the legislation mirrors what the federal government tabled in the Senate in February.

Amendments to the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act would prohibit oil and gas drilling from the surface of Sable Island and out to one nautical mile from shore.

The 42-kilometre-long island, about 300 kilometres southeast of Nova Scotia, is home to 400 wild horses, several bird species and a breeding population of grey seals.

Nova Scotia and Ottawa agreed in October 2011 to make the island the country's newest national park.

Parker says it's hoped the process can be completed sometime this year with the passage of the provincial and federal legislation.