Guiding Principles

Integrated Management

Integrated management (IM) is a collaborative, flexible and transparent planning and management process that respects the legislative mandates of individual departments and agencies sharing responsibilities for supporting the sustainability of Canada’s marine resources. Marine protected areas (MPAs) will be established within an IM context to increase the effectiveness and health of the MPAs and networks by ensuring that surrounding areas are managed in a complementary manner.

Ecosystem-Based Management Approach

Ecosystem-based management is an adaptive approach aimed at managing human activities based on best available scientific knowledge and traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) of ecosystems to meet ecosystem objectives and achieve desired conditions. Ecosystem-based management ensures that linkages among key ecosystem components are considered when identifying, establishing, planning and managing MPAs on site-specific and network bases.

Adaptive Management Approach

New scientific knowledge and TEK gathered from monitoring and reporting programs will enable management activities to be adjusted in order to continue meeting the conservation objectives of the MPAs or more effectively achieve those objectives. Such an approach requires integration of scientific monitoring and reporting to inform management decisions.

Precautionary Principle

The precautionary principle recognizes that in the absence of scientific certainty, conservation measures can and should be taken when there is knowledge of a risk of serious or irreversible harm to the environment and/or resources using best available information.

Flexible Management Approach

Fisheries and Oceans Canada has adopted a flexible management approach for managing MPAs in the sense that multiple use within a MPA is supported provided the activities are compatible with the MPA’s conservation objectives and are managed in compliance with the regulatory requirements of the MPA. This flexible approach maintains a balance between the specific conservation needs of the MPA and broader sustainable development objectives.

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