Research Document - 2015/021

Marine protected area network planning in the Western Arctic Bioregion: Identification of a conservation objective and priority conservation areas as required planning components

By R. Hodgson, K. Martin, and H. Melling

Abstract

To meet Canada’s obligations to the United Nations (UN) Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), creation of a Marine Protected Areas Network (MPAN) following UN stipulated steps is required. This paper details the completion of step three from the UN CBD, which calls for a process to identify priority conservation areas as planning inputs to the MPAN. Step one was creation of Ecologically or Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs), step two was to determine ecological units (eco-units) based on a biophysical classification system, and that step three will draw upon step one (biological focus) and step two (physical/habitat focus) to produce a set of potential MPAN sites or Priority Conservation Areas (PCAs). Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is undertaking this task for the 13 Canadian marine biogeographic areas or bioregions. This paper details the approach taken to delineate PCAs within the Western Arctic Bioregion. Twenty three (23) PCAs were delineated for the bioregion and a conservation objective for the Marine Protected Area Network in this bioregion was established.

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