Purpose and Goals

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) 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.

Within Canada, two other federal agencies — Environment Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service) and Parks Canada Agency — are working in collaboration with DFO to establish and manage federal marine protected areas.

Environment Canada

  • Marine Wildlife Areas — established to protect and conserve habitat for a variety of wildlife, including migratory birds and endangered species.

Parks Canada

  • National Marine Conservation Areas — established to protect and conserve representative examples of Canada’s natural and cultural marine heritage, and to provide opportunities for public education and enjoyment.