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Research Document - 2012/133

Significance of the Maritimes Region Ecosystem Research Initiative to Marine Protected Area network planning within Fisheries and Oceans Canada

By P. Lawton, M. Westhead, M.E. Greenlaw, S.J. Smith, C.J. Brown, S. Quigley, and D. Brickman


This research document outlines the relevance to Marine Protected Area (MPA) network planning of scientific work recently completed under Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Maritimes Region Ecosystem Research Initiative (ERI). Domestic legislation and international commitments that underpin MPA network planning within Canada, as well as recent policy developments that influence Canadian fisheries management are reviewed to help clarify definitions surrounding the use of the term MPA. Five component elements that the Department is required to consider in overseeing the process for implementing a network of MPAs are then described. For each network planning element, the anticipated science support needs are identified. Emerging ERI research results are described, including new methodological approaches that can contribute to this planning requirement. Similarly, anticipated requirements for ongoing science support for MPA network management, monitoring, review and evaluation, as well as implementation of the Department’s Sensitive Benthic Areas policy, are briefly reviewed. Broader issues related to science support for MPA network planning, and linkage points between the Maritimes ERI and other regional, national, and international science programs are identified.

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