Marine Protected Areas

Fisheries and Oceans Canada contributes to the Network through the establishment of MPAs under the Oceans ActDFO also focuses on areas of interest that are at various stages of progress towards designation. These areas are ecologically significant, with species and/or properties that require special consideration.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada designates marine protected areas under the Oceans Act in order to protect and conserve:

  • commercial and non-commercial fishery resources and their habitats;
  • endangered marine species and their habitats;
  • unique habitats;
  • marine areas of high biodiversity or biological productivity; and
  • any other marine resource or habitat necessary to fulfill the Minister’s mandate.

MPA Approach and Process

Establishing marine protected areas (MPAs) within the context of integrated oceans management provides a mechanism for taking into account stakeholder input as well as broader ecological, social, cultural and economic considerations. It also provides an opportunity to reinforce conservation measures with complementary management regimes implemented in surrounding areas, including linkages with broader ecosystem objectives, as well as land-based initiatives such as habitat protection and enhancement, pollution control, land use controls and the establishment of coastal terrestrial parks. This approach of nesting MPAs within broader planning initiatives helps maintain the integrity and long-term viability of the MPA and maximize the conservation effectiveness of all MPA planning processes.

Guiding Principles


MPA Management and Monitoring