Canada has a responsibility—both nationally and internationally—to protect its extraordinary marine environments for the benefit of present and future generations. The Oceans Act tasks the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans with a leadership and coordination role for the development and implementation of a national network of marine protected areas on behalf of the Government of Canada. Federal marine protected area legislated authorities are committed to working with provincial and territorial counterparts, Aboriginal groups, industry, academia and environmental non-governmental organizations to build a resentative national network of marine protected areas that protects key marine habitats, species and features that are ecologically significant and vulnerable.
An important early step in development of Canada's national network of marine protected areas was a January 2008 workshop entitled “Bringing International Lessons Learned and Good Practices to Bear on Canada's Marine Protected Areas Networks Framework”, hosted jointly by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and World Wildlife Fund-Canada. The proceedings from the workshop are entitled Guidance and Lessons Learned for Canada's Marine Protected Area Networks
To support development of Canada's national network of marine protected areas, the Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat has provided scientific advice including:
In September 2011, a National Framework for Canada's Network of Marine Protected Areas - [PDF Version] was approved in principle by the Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers. This document, developed through federal-provincial-territorial collaboration, provides direction for the design of the national network of marine protected areas that will be composed of 13 bioregional networks. A previous draft of the National Framework was posted online for an 81-day public comment period (December 2010 - February 2011) as a final step in a lengthy consultation process. See Summary of Public Review of draft National Framework for Canada's Network of Marine Protected Areas
The following publication has been prepared for your interest:
Current efforts are focused on development of Technical Guidance for Establishing Canada's Network of Marine Protected Areas and expanding the national inventory of marine protected areas to include “contributory sites”.
A co-operative and collaborative approach is being implemented by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Parks Canada and Environment Canada for planning, establishing and managing federal marine protected areas in a more systematic and efficient way.
Canada's federal marine protected areas network is comprised of three core programs:
In addition to these core marine protected areas programs, migratory bird sanctuaries, national wildlife areas and national parks with a marine component are also important contributions to the marine protected areas network.
The Federal Marine Protected Areas Strategy outlines how these departments and agencies will work together to establish federal marine protected areas within the context of integrated oceans management that will protect and conserve Canada's natural and cultural marine resources.