Final Report of the National Advisory Panel on Marine Protected Area Standards

Submitted to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

PDF Document

September 26, 2018

Rémi Bujold and Mary Simon,
Panel Co-Chairs

David Anderson
Darcy Dobell
Tom Hayes
Marc Léger
Maureen Thomas

Table of Contents

The Panel gratefully acknowledges the work of Jonathan Rose and Patricia Mockler of Queen’s University, who provided support and guidance throughout the process.

Letter to Minister

September 26, 2018

Dear Minister Wilkinson:

Please find attached the final report of the National Advisory Panel on Marine Protected Area Standards.

It has been an honour to work with fellow Panelists and hear from intervenors across the country including Indigenous peoples, those in industry, environmental groups, academics, and government. Over the course of the last five months we have learned a lot and we hope our recommendations will support your work to revive our oceans’ health.

On behalf our colleagues on the Panel, we thank you and your predecessor, the Honourable Dominic Leblanc, for the opportunity to serve.

Sincerely,

Rémi Bujold
Co-Chair

Mary Simon
Co-Chair

Summary of recommendations

Collaborative planning and design

P 1. That the government be transparent with local communities, Indigenous peoples, and stakeholders from the beginning and throughout the marine protected area establishment process, and in ongoing management of marine protected areas.

P 2. That governance structures be tailored to regional and local authorities, and to existing arrangements such as treaties, settlement agreements, and reconciliation protocols.

P 3. That the government commit to open and transparent reporting on the success of marine protected areas, conduct proper assessment of existing marine protected areas, and engage Canadians in these activities.

P 4. That government departments work together to reduce complexity in their approach to developing networks of marine protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures.

P 5. That the government develop a central, open database or online platform for Canadians to easily access information including spatial information, conservation objectives, categorization, governance structures, scientific monitoring, and permitted activities for all marine protected areas.

Crown-Indigenous relations

CIR 1. That Indigenous knowledge be meaningfully integrated in all aspects of planning, design, management, and decision-making around marine protected areas, Indigenous Protected Areas, and other effective area-based conservation measures.

CIR 2. That the government recognize the importance of Indigenous peoples’ roles as full partners in all aspects of design, management, and decision-making around marine protected areas, Indigenous Protected Areas, and other effective area-based conservation measures.

CIR 3. That the government identify long-term, permanent, and stable funding for marine protected areas, Indigenous Protected Areas, and other effective area-based conservation measures, including through innovative financing mechanisms to support education and capacity for management through ongoing Indigenous coastal and marine stewardship and guardian programs.

CIR 4. That the government create or amend legislation and regulations to recognize, accommodate, and support implementation of Indigenous Protected Areas.

CIR 5. That Indigenous Protected Areas be considered to count toward Canada’s conservation targets if they meet the standards of a marine protected area or other effective area-based conservation measure.

Protection standards

PS 1. That the government adopt International Union for the Conservation of Nature standards and guidelines for all marine protected areas, therefore prohibiting industrial activities such as oil and gas exploration and exploitation, mining, dumping, and bottom trawling.

PS 2. When industrial activities are allowed to occur in areas counted as other effective area-based conservation measures, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard must be satisfied through effective legislation or regulation that risks to intended biodiversity outcomes are avoided or mitigated.

Marine spatial planning

MSP 1. That the federal government consult with Canadians on potential approaches to marine spatial planning in each of Canada's ocean regions.

The time will soon be there when my grandchild will long for the cry of a loon, the flash of a salmon, the whisper of spruce needles, or the screech of an eagle. But he will not make friends with any of these creatures and when his heart aches with longing, he will curse me. Have I done all to keep the air fresh? Have I cared enough about the water? Have I left the eagle to soar in freedom? Have I done everything I could to earn my grandchild’s fondness?

Chief Dan George, Tsleil-Waututh Nation

Introduction

On June 8, 2016, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard announced the Government of Canada’s commitment to reach its domestic and international marine conservation targets of protecting 5 percent of Canada’s marine and coastal areas by 2017 and 10 percent by 2020Footnote 1. Aichi Target 11 is so important, that the government refers to this goal as Canada Target 1. Prior to 2016, Canada had protected less than 1% of its marine estate, from the initial establishment of the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park in 1998 to the establishment of Tarium Niriyutait Marine Protected Area in 2010. The public commitment to meeting these targets means that the government has achieved over 7% of its target for marine protection across Canada in a relatively short period of time. Marine refuges have comprised 4.7% of the targetFootnote 2.

Federal marine protected areas (MPAs) in Canada can be created by 4 different pieces of legislation: Canada’s Oceans Act, the Canada National Marine Conservation Area Act, the Canada Wildlife Act and the Migratory Bird Convention Act. Up to now, MPAs have been created on an individual basis; in most of these individual cases, allowable activities have been specifically tailored to conservation objectives for each site. While this approach was useful for the relatively minor footprint of MPAs up to 2015, as protected area coverage increases, the potential for inconsistency between sites has also increased, leading to public confusion and calls for consistent protection standards in the marine context.

At the same time, the government has committed to an ambitious and necessary Reconciliation agenda. Indigenous peoples have long been stewards of ocean spaces from coast to coast to coast. In many cases, they are the primary inhabitants of coastal areas, and derive economic benefits from their use.

The National Advisory Panel on MPA Standards was created in this context. Our Terms of Reference asked us “to gather perspectives and offer recommendations to the Minister on categories and associated protection standards for federal MPAs…using International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) guidance as a baseline.” We were to “provide practical and innovative recommendations,” and “consider indigenous approaches and worldviews.” We examined “relevant recommendations of the Indigenous Circle of Experts and its recommendations on the concept of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas” which we refer to as Indigenous Protected Areas. You can find our full Terms of reference in Appendix 2 of this report.

From March to September 2018, we have listened intently, hearing from experts and interested parties from all over Canada, studying what has worked best internationally, and deliberating on the best way forward for Canada.

MPAs are designed primarily for nature conservation. The globally accepted IUCN definition states that: “A protected area is a clearly defined geographical space, recognized, dedicated, and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values”Footnote 3.

Principles

The Panel agreed that the following principles would guide our recommendations:

Effectiveness of conservation and biodiversity protection: The protection of biodiversity, ecosystem services, and associated cultural and community values is the primary purpose of MPAs. The extent to which MPAs can be designed to meet this overarching purpose, along with their specific conservation objectives, is at the heart of the Panel’s recommendations.

Respect for Indigenous rights: Indigenous peoples are rights holders in conservation planning and management, and their authorities and expertise are essential to marine conservation. All MPA designations must respect constitutionally-protected Indigenous and treaty rights. The Panel looked for opportunities to strengthen partnerships between the Crown and Indigenous peoples, and to ensure that Indigenous knowledge is fully embedded alongside other sciences in the planning and design, governance, and management of MPAs and Indigenous Protected Areas.

Delivering social and economic benefits: Well-managed MPAs and Indigenous Protected Areas can deliver important economic benefits both directly through conservation-oriented employment, community economic development, and capacity-building; and indirectly, by enhancing the overall productivity of marine ecosystems that support socially and commercially valuable resources. Good planning processes engage all interests around clear objectives, resolve conflicts among competing resource uses, and deliver certainty for businesses and investors. The Panel’s recommendations recognize that MPAs and economic and social interests are not necessarily in opposition.

Clarity and transparency: Objectives, rules, management processes, monitoring, and governing structures should be clear and well-communicated. MPA processes should be accessible to all Canadians including stakeholders and rights holders. The Panel suggests opportunities to strengthen engagement and build confidence in MPA planning and management processes.

Flexibility to reflect diverse circumstances: Canada has the longest coastline of any country in the world, and its three oceans encompass very diverse marine and coastal ecosystems. Canada’s MPAs to date have been characterized by experimentation and regional diversity; a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach is not possible. Each MPA or Indigenous Protected Area will be rooted in the needs of a particular region and community and its design will reflect the knowledge, needs, and aspirations of coastal communities and Indigenous peoples. The Panel’s alignment with the IUCN framework remains responsive to Canada’s distinct bioregions and cultures.

Quality matters: Delivering meaningful biodiversity protection is more important than hitting numeric targets. It is expensive to establish and manage MPAs properly; therefore resources must be targeted to areas of high ecological value. Furthermore, quality planning and management processes that enable real collaboration between the Crown and Indigenous peoples, and that provide for meaningful engagement of stakeholders, cannot be rushed. The Panel’s aim has been to ensure that up-front investments in good MPA planning and design are ultimately repaid in more effective and durable outcomes.

Panel’s process

Canada’s oceans are central to the livelihood of coastal people and long-term ocean health has important implications for the future of the planet. In support of our mandate, we were invited to gather perspectives on marine conservation across Canada. In every community we visited, we made an effort to hear from the people affected by the federal government’s decisions on marine conservation. Over the course of 6 months, we travelled to Vancouver, Moncton, St. John’s, Inuvik, Iqaluit and Mont-Joli to hear directly from intervenors and see the coastal places that are so important to them. We also held meetings in Ottawa where we learned from international and domestic experts in marine conservation and welcomed presentations from still more intervenors. We invited written submissions from the Canadian public and received a wide range of thoughtful responses, including videos and even poetry. In total, we heard from about 125 individuals, groups, or governments who spoke to us in person or sent in written submissions. On August 15, 2018, we provided the Minister with an Interim Report summarizing what we had heard and presenting the key themes and principles that now guide our recommendations.

In deliberating as a Panel, we worked to be as neutral as possible and we sought consensus. For us, neutrality meant that we should design standards to allow the best operation, management, and reporting for an MPA without regard to how that standard might affect economic, political, or social behaviourFootnote 4. We defined consensus as an agreement that all Panel members could live with. Panelists might not support every aspect, but on balance, decisions we made based on consensus satisfied the major concerns of everyone to the extent that all members could support them.

What we heard

The Panel learned much from Indigenous peoples and many individuals and organizations working in academia, aquaculture, commercial and recreational fishing, environmental conservation, extractive industries, and the shipping industry. It is clear that people who work and live in coastal communities care deeply about those communities, care about ocean health, and hold generations of knowledge about the ocean. While the Panel heard many different perspectives in its meetings across the country, a number of consistent themes emerged:

Deep concern about the state of the world’s oceans, and Canada’s three oceans in particular. The productivity and biodiversity of marine life, from corals to fish to whales, is in decline around the world. Scientific predictions for the future of ocean ecosystems are sobering. The Panel heard that Canada’s oceans are precious and that their resources should be passed down to future generations.

Deep concern for the well-being of ocean-dependent communities and for the many Canadians who have an economic interest in the ocean. The process for establishment of MPAs can create uncertainty and pose a barrier to realizing the economic potential of marine industries such as oil and gas and fisheries. In the Atlantic provinces, the Premiers of both Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador made this case forcefully.

Concerns that MPAs and other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMsFootnote 5) in Canada are not as effective as they could be in delivering their intended conservation goals. Many intervenors pointed to the need for stronger and more consistent standards for both MPAs and OECMs, along with better investment in management, stewardship, and monitoring. Many intervenors also expressed concern that Canada’s focus on reaching time-bound numeric targets may lead to “paper parks” that lack strong conservation standards, and that risks diverting resources from the establishment of meaningful MPAs and OECMs.

Awareness of the limitations of MPAs as ocean management tools. Several intervenors pointed out that while area-based protection measures such as MPAs are important, they are not proven to be effective tools for certain purposes such as pollution prevention or the conservation of migratory species. Some also noted that climate change and ocean acidification are altering marine habitats in unpredictable ways, requiring a wider range of management tools and the ability to adapt to these changes.

Lack of clarity regarding the relationship between federal departments and agencies and offshore petroleum boards. At present, there is potential for conflict between the offshore petroleum boards and federal departments with regard to oil and gas development in areas set aside as MPAs and OECMs. This can lead to concerns about fairness and equitable treatment across different economic sectors. The Panel was told, for example, of instances in which the commercial fishery agreed to closures in order to protect key habitat in marine refuges, only to see the area opened up to potential oil and gas activity.

Broad agreement on the value of applying the IUCN categories to Canada. Intervenors that referenced the IUCN saw strong value in the certainty, consistency, and international collaboration enabled by the IUCN guidelines. Some cautioned against using these categories as a “one size fits all” approach that ignores the distinct rights, circumstances, and aspirations of Indigenous peoples, as well as the realities of Canada’s varied ecosystems and communities.

The need to recognize Indigenous territories, title, and rights. In many parts of Canada, treaties, settlement agreements, and co-management agreements set out particular processes and governance structures that will guide the establishment of MPAs. One of the most consistent comments that we heard is that regardless of the existence of formal agreements or arrangements, Indigenous peoples must be meaningfully involved in all aspects of planning and design, management, and governance of MPAs.

The importance of Indigenous knowledge in conservation. Indigenous knowledge offers insights and perspectives that are not captured by other forms of science. “Two-eyed seeing”Footnote 6 or the concept of “ethical space”Footnote 7 both offer a way to unite these ways of knowing. Complementary perspectives will strengthen the planning and design, management, and governance of MPAs.

Strong support for Indigenous Protected Areas. Many of those we heard from advocated that Canada take steps to better recognize and support Indigenous Protected Areas. At the same time, they consistently stressed that the purposes and design of Indigenous Protected Areas must reflect the specific circumstances of Indigenous peoples and their varied relationships with the Crown.

We also received written submissions from a number of Indigenous groups, stakeholders, governments and others who offered their advice on MPAs. Written submissions were consistent with the themes we describe above, often expanding on the concepts in more detail. A new theme that emerged strongly from written submissions was the need for community level support for MPAs from the ground up. Written submissions also provided clear calls for a framework for broader ocean management that integrates all interests.

Effectiveness of marine protected areas

The IUCN sets out four broad standards as a foundation for evaluating key elements of effective MPAs:

The Panel agrees that these are important standards, and notes that they do not adequately capture the unique nature of the relationship between the Crown and Indigenous peoples in Canada. To these four international standards, the Panel added a fifth:

These standards are fundamental to effective MPAs in Canada and formed the basis for our recommendations.

Recommendations

In the Canadian context, we have found that there is a strong interest in doing the best possible job of protecting ecological values in areas that are not always, at present, fully protected. We have also found that there is a need for flexibility in Canada’s approach to marine conservation, and that a true framework for ocean management in Canada should include a spectrum of options, including highly protected areas, other spatial management tools, and Indigenous Protected Areas.

The recommendations that follow are grouped into four sections, outlining some of the steps we need to take to have a holistic, consistent, and inclusive framework for ocean management in Canada.

1. Collaborative planning and design

We have heard great support from experts and intervenors alike for MPAs and conservation goals. Few questioned their importance to our oceans’ health. Because the ocean is central to many Canadians’ livelihoods and ways of life, government decisions affect them significantly.

Some coastal communities felt that their way of life had been affected by government decisions around conservation and that their input was often too little, too late. Others told us that their participation was frequent but not meaningful or that they did not have the capacity to engage as equal partners. In some cases, Indigenous peoples were excluded from government decision-making or included without having any real influence.

Real collaboration cannot be rushed. The timing of consultation was an important concern that we heard throughout our process. Stakeholders told us that they were made aware of areas of interest late in the planning process and felt that their influence over the development and establishment of MPAs was marginal. They also told us they were not clear to whom they should communicate their concerns.

We heard strong calls from some stakeholders for the need to consider socioeconomic interests as MPAs are developed. We believe that this is an important point. Many Canadians’ livelihoods depend on their access to marine resources. There can be economic impacts of conservation measures on local communities. These costs are often borne at the local level while the benefits accrue to all Canadians. At the same time, there is a place for strong, consistent protections in the marine environment, and a real need for unique areas of high biodiversity and productivity to be conserved for the benefit of future generations. This does not mean that our entire ocean estate needs to be protected – it simply means that we must set aside spaces that are distinct from MPAs for industrial activities to continue.

Proper MPA design and network planning is more important than hitting numeric targets. MPAs that work together as part of a network are more successful in reaching conservation outcomes, accounting for connectivity between sites and enabling a full conservation picture to be seen. Network planning also provides flexibility for creative placement of no-take zones and enables MPAs to be placed in biodiversity hot spots, thus providing the best ‘bang for the buck.’

The main lesson we have taken from these perspectives is that process matters. Community support for conservation measures is an important predictor of their success and effectiveness. Following a robust process of MPA establishment and management can help to foster community support for these initiatives.

We are aware that the House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans recently studied the Oceans Act MPA establishment process and has developed a comprehensive suite of recommendations related to improving and enhancing this process. Our recommendations echo some of theirs and we have benefitted greatly from their work.

Based on the insights and advice we received, we recommend the following:

P 1. That the government be transparent with local communities, Indigenous peoples, and stakeholders from the beginning and throughout the marine protected area establishment process, and in ongoing management of marine protected areas.

P 2. That governance structures be tailored to regional and local authorities, and to existing arrangements such as treaties, settlement agreements, and reconciliation protocols.

P 3. That the government commit to open and transparent reporting on the success of marine protected areas, conduct proper assessment of existing marine protected areas, and engage Canadians in these activities.

P 4. That government departments work together to reduce complexity in their approach to developing networks of marine protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures.

P 5. That the government develop a central, open database or online platform for Canadians to easily access information including spatial information, conservation objectives, categorization, governance structures, scientific monitoring, and permitted activities for all marine protected areas.

2. Crown-Indigenous relations

Indigenous people play a central role in marine conservation as rights holders, not stakeholders. This is rooted in section 35 of the Constitution Act, The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. More recent reports, including We Rise Together and A New Shared Arctic Leadership Model have reinforced the essential role of Indigenous peoples in managing and protecting biodiversity and its associated cultural, economic, and community values. Meaningful acknowledgment of the rights, knowledge, and authorities of Indigenous peoples will strengthen ocean management on all three coasts, to the benefit of all Canadians.

Indigenous communities possess a unique knowledge of and relationship to their environment. The Panel heard from a number of Indigenous representatives who shared some of these insights. Many intervenors stressed that Indigenous knowledge should be central to conservation efforts, noting that this knowledge has not always been incorporated meaningfully into governance, planning, and management decisions. At the same time, Indigenous knowledge is not a box to be checked. It needs to be incorporated respectfully and not co-opted or used unilaterally by non-Indigenous people. To address this inconsistency, we recommend:

CIR 1. That Indigenous knowledge be meaningfully integrated in all aspects of planning, design, management, and decision-making around marine protected areas, Indigenous Protected Areas, and other effective area-based conservation measures.

CIR 2. That the government recognize the importance of Indigenous peoples’ roles as full partners in all aspects of design, management, and decision-making around marine protected areas, Indigenous Protected Areas, and other effective area-based conservation measures.

The diversity of arrangements that exist between the Crown and Indigenous peoples in Canada was an important lesson from this process. We heard in depth about the unique relationships that First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples have to the Crown. These relationships are structured by differences in histories, capacity, objectives and goals. In some cases, MPAs have been strictly government-driven, with Indigenous communities involved but without a leadership role. We heard about successful co-management approaches, initiated by the government or by Indigenous peoples, which depend on the willingness of both groups to come to the table in partnership to achieve a common MPA goal. At the other end of the spectrum is the emerging model of Indigenous Protected Areas, which are inspired and led by Indigenous peoples. The main implication of this diversity for marine conservation is that a “one-size-fits-all” approach to Crown-Indigenous relationships will not work. Conservation initiatives need to account for this diversity.

We were struck by the flexible and progressive nature of a number of Canada’s co-managed MPAs and believe that the co-management model has continued relevance and value. This co-operative approach to area-based conservation is a welcome example of reconciliation between the Crown and Indigenous peoples. Co-managed MPAs have developed into an important mechanism for marine protection for both the federal government and Indigenous peoples, and Canada should continue to build on these successes.

Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida Heritage Site is often cited as an example of a successfully co-managed MPA. First designated as a Haida Heritage Site in 1985, and subsequently as a National Marine Conservation Area Reserve in 2010, the area is governed by the Archipelago Management Board, which has equal representation of federal and Haida leaders. The 2010 Gwaii Haanas Marine Agreement was signed concurrently with the federal designation of the area, formalizing cooperative management of the marine area. The site has created jobs for many Haida people through the Guardian Watchmen program, and has enhanced technical capacity for management and monitoring of the site. Haida principles are incorporated into the site’s management and are central to the management direction of the area. For example, the management direction for the site commits to continuing a living Haida culture through traditional use, commercial activities, and cultural programs.

Two Oceans Act MPAs in the Western Arctic are co-managed pursuant to the terms of the Inuvialuit Final Agreement. Anguniaqvia niqiqyuam MPA and Tarium Niriyutait MPA were identified as important areas by the Fisheries Joint Management Committee, and the federal government worked closely with the Inuvialuit to designate the sites as Oceans Act MPAs in 2010 and 2013. Fisheries and Oceans Canada works closely with the Fisheries Joint Management Committee and the communities of Paulatuk and Aklavik to co-manage the areas and to jointly provide guidance on management, monitoring and research decisions for the two MPAs.

The Indigenous Circle of Experts notes that one of the four governance types in the IUCN’s suite of recognized protected areas is governance by Indigenous peoples and/or local communities and highlights the fact that these types of areas could effectively contribute to Canada Target 1. It goes on to define the concept of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas:

Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas are lands and waters where Indigenous governments have the primary role in protecting and conserving ecosystems through Indigenous laws, governance and knowledge systems. Culture and language are the heart and soul of an Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area.

Indigenous Circle of Experts, We Rise Together: Achieving Pathway to Canada Target 1 through the creation of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas in the spirit and practice of reconciliation. March 2018. p.35 IPCAs are also referred to as Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs) which is the language that we use in this report.

A New Shared Arctic Leadership Model (authored by our co-chair Mary Simon) further describes the basic principles of the Indigenous Protected Area concept:

Indigenous Protected Areas are based on the idea of a protected area explicitly designed to accommodate and support an Indigenous vision of a working landscape. This kind of designation has the potential to usher in a broader, more meaningful set of northern benefits and bring definition to the idea of a conservation economy.

Mary Simon, Minister’s Special Representative (2017). A New Shared Arctic Leadership Model.

This Panel believes that Indigenous Protected Areas will play an important role in advancing Canada’s marine conservation objectives, and that more must be done to build a strong framework for Indigenous Protected Areas in Canada.

Convergence between Indigenous peoples and conservation, through a rights-based, custodian driven approach, would decolonize conservation and make a significant contribution towards Reconciliation.

Ibid.

Indigenous peoples’ authorities over terrestrial and marine environments have not always been respected. The recommendations that follow will help the government to strongly endorse the innovative concept of Indigenous Protected Areas. We adopt the three key elements of an Indigenous Protected Area as identified by the Indigenous Circle of Experts for the marine context:

  1. they are Indigenous led;
  2. they represent a long-term commitment to reconciliation; and
  3. they elevate Indigenous rights and responsibilities.

Indigenous Protected Areas can also deliver social and economic benefits to Indigenous peoples. As Mary Simon notes, “Indigenous Protected Areas have the potential to serve as a platform for developing culturally-appropriate programs and hiring of Indigenous peoples in a wide range of service delivery.” They can also contribute to “healing and reconciliation”.

At their core, Indigenous Protected Areas are:

We heard from many Indigenous intervenors that there is a strong need in their communities for healthy, educated Indigenous professionals who are well-equipped to develop and manage protected areas. Simply providing capacity is not enough to address this need. Stewardship and guardian programs that are linked to education and training opportunities can improve human well-being in remote coastal communities. The added benefit is that these can be tailored to specific community needs.

Investments in monitoring and stewardship initiatives can support conservation outcomes while also providing long-term employment and building capacity in Indigenous communities. Innovative financing arrangements and public-private partnerships offer new models to support long-term investments. We heard about a unique example of this type of arrangement from the Coast Opportunity Funds in British Columbia who are leveraging government, philanthropic, and conventional financing to support biodiversity protection, job creation, and the development of a vibrant conservation-based economyFootnote 8. Based on this, we recommend:

CIR 3. That the government identify long-term, permanent, and stable funding for marine protected areas, Indigenous Protected Areas, and other effective area-based conservation measures including through innovative financing mechanisms to support education and capacity for management through ongoing Indigenous coastal and marine stewardship and guardian programs.

Indigenous Protected Areas are Indigenous-led initiatives founded on Indigenous laws and governance. They do not depend on government recognition for their existence. That said, by appropriately recognizing Indigenous Protected Areas, Canada has a unique opportunity to uphold and support Indigenous peoples in a transformative way. None of Canada’s MPA legislation explicitly limits the opportunity for Canada to establish Indigenous Protected Areas with Indigenous peoples.

We have heard that recognizing this authority in law is one method by which to protect Indigenous rights. Canada has four pieces of MPA legislation that could enable this recognition if amended: the Oceans Act, the National Marine Conservation Act, the Canada Wildlife Act, and the Migratory Bird Convention Act. At the same time, we take to heart the message that it is not the Panel’s – nor indeed the Crown’s – business to dictate the design or content of Indigenous Protected Areas. The Panel recognizes that the conservation values that flow from Indigenous Protected Areas benefit all Canadians. This shared benefit brings a shared responsibility. Our recommendations aim to ensure that Indigenous peoples can count on Canada’s support for the successful and effective implementation of Indigenous Protected Areas, including for ongoing management, monitoring, and enforcement, while protecting their inherent right to self-determination.

We note the Indigenous Circle of Experts position that any marine-focused process should emulate and learn from their extensive work across Canada, while also recognizing that the Indigenous Circle of Experts was focused on terrestrial protected areas. We note further their Recommendation that examination of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas in the marine context should be Indigenous-led. We acknowledge that, while we heard extensive testimony on the subject of Indigenous Protected Areas from intervenors, our thinking on the matter should not be taken as a substitute for Indigenous-led process and the Crown’s duty to consult.

Based on the preceding, we recommend:

CIR 4. That the government create or amend legislation and regulations to recognize, accommodate, and support implementation of Indigenous Protected Areas.

CIR 5. That Indigenous Protected Areas be considered to count toward Canada’s conservation targets if they meet the standards of a marine protected area or other effective area-based conservation measure.

3. Protection standards

IUCN Categories and Standards

Ia Strict Nature Reserve
Category Ia are strictly protected areas set aside to protect biodiversity and also possibly geological/geomorphical features, where human visitation, use and impacts are strictly controlled and limited to ensure protection of the conservation values.
Ib Wilderness Area
Category Ib protected areas are usually large unmodified or slightly modified areas, retaining their natural character and influence without permanent or significant human habitation, which are protected and managed so as to preserve their natural condition.
II National Park
Category II protected areas are large natural or near natural areas set aside to protect large-scale ecological processes, along with the complement of species and ecosystems characteristic of the area, which also provide a foundation for environmentally and culturally compatible, spiritual, scientific, educational, recreational, and visitor opportunities.
III Natural Monument or Feature
Category III protected areas are set aside to protect a specific natural monument, which can be a landform, sea mount, submarine cavern, geological feature such as a cave or even a living feature such as an ancient grove. They are generally quite small protected areas and often have high visitor value.
IV Habitat/Species Management Area
Category IV protected areas aim to protect particular species or habitats and management reflects this priority. Many Category IV protected areas will need regular, active interventions to address the requirements of particular species or to maintain habitats, but this is not a requirement of the category.
V Protected Landscape/ Seascape
A protected area where the interaction of people and nature over time has produced an area of distinct character with significant, ecological, biological, cultural and scenic value: and where safeguarding the integrity of this interaction is vital to protecting and sustaining the area and its associated nature conservation and other values.
VI Protected area with sustainable use of natural resources
Category VI protected areas conserve ecosystems and habitats together with associated cultural values and traditional natural resource management systems. They are generally large, with most of the area in a natural condition, where a proportion is under sustainable natural resource management and where low-level non-industrial use of natural resources compatible with nature conservation is seen as one of the main aims of the area.

Source: IUCN, “Protected Area Categories System.”

There is a range of regulatory tools and authorities for oceans management in Canada. It is therefore important to have a consistent floor of protection standards as well as a way of tracking and reporting conservation outcomes in relation to national and international targets.

Canada Target 1 is expressed in percentage terms but these numbers are simply surrogates for the biodiversity values; these values should be the real objectives of a system of MPA. An MPA system of 10 percent of the total coastline and ocean area of a country, if located in areas of low biodiversity value, may actually protect a much smaller amount of the biodiversity of the total area, perhaps two or three percent. When it comes to the biodiversity values that an MPA is expected to protect, quality matters.

Many intervenors discussed the relationship between conservation and industrial activities. This issue was central to the Panel’s mandate and has wide-ranging implications for the future of Canada’s ocean resources. Marine conservation has recently become a pressing policy issue, as demonstrated most clearly in the government’s 2015 commitment to reaching Canada Target 1. As the government works to meet this target and increases marine protection in our oceans, there is an increased potential for protected areas to overlap with areas that have economic potential, whether for resource extraction, renewable energy potential, aquaculture, or marine shipping. Clear guidelines about the activities allowed and prohibited in protected areas can help to curtail the conflicts we see emerging from these overlaps.

The IUCN provides guidelines for addressing the differences among protected areas. Their suite of categories outlines the activities that are allowed in each type of protected area. The categories range in stringency from a category 1A “Strict nature reserve” to a category 6, a “Protected area with sustainable use of natural resources.” Intervenors told us about the importance of clear rules about allowable activities for their planning purposes and the importance of their consistent application for fairness across all ocean users.

There are three major advantages to following the IUCN management categories and guidelines as a base for a Canadian system. First, the management categories have been in use for some time, have a long history of interpretation, and are now a widely used system of classification. Second, their use in the international field provides consistency and the opportunity for meaningful comparisons between the marine biodiversity initiatives of Canada and other countries. Finally, the consistency offered by the IUCN categories also allows stakeholders and rights holders to engage more easily with government in an effective consultation process. The Panel therefore paid close attention to the IUCN management categories, and the Guidelines for their interpretation.

The IUCN guidance is clear that the purpose of MPAs is to protect biodiversity, along with associated cultural values and ecosystem services. Industrial activity that can damage that biodiversity is not compatible with the purpose of MPAs. The IUCN resolutions on industrial activity are captured in its current guidance documents which explicitly identify mining, industrial fishing, and oil and gas extraction as activities that are incompatible with MPAsFootnote 9.

Other types of protection can also make important contributions to conservation and biodiversity protection. Where these other management designations meet the criteria of OECMs, they can be counted alongside MPAs in Canada’s progress towards Target 1. Canada has established criteria for determining when management measures qualify as OECMs. The International Convention on Biological Diversity is also developing new guidelines on the subject, expected in November of 2018.

We believe that Canada’s approach to marine conservation should include highly protected MPAs that have a consistent national standard of protection, complemented by other management tools that can offer flexible approaches to combining effective biodiversity protection with economic development.

Therefore, we recommend:

PS 1. That the government adopt International Union for the Conservation of Nature standards and guidelines for all marine protected areas, therefore prohibiting industrial activities, such as oil and gas exploration and exploitation, mining, dumping, and bottom trawling.

PS 2. When industrial activities are allowed to occur in areas counted as other effective area-based conservation measures, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard must be satisfied through effective legislation or regulation that risks to intended biodiversity outcomes are avoided or mitigated.

4. Marine spatial planning

The Panel's Terms of Reference did not include consideration of ocean management processes and structures beyond marine protected areas, other effective area-based conservation measures, and Indigenous protected areas. Nevertheless, some presenters mentioned possible benefits from a wider approach in which MPAs, OECMs and Indigenous Protected Areas would be considered in conjunction with the wider issue of ocean planning beyond the protected area boundaries. By reason of its terms of reference and consequently limited hearing process, the Panel does not offer any specific recommendation in this regard.

Marine spatial planning is defined as "a process of analysing and allocating the spatial and temporal distribution of human activities in marine areas to achieve ecological, economic and social objectives that have been specified through a political processFootnote 10." In some of Canada's ocean areas, marine spatial planning could complement integrated management planning or other management approaches. On the other hand, there may be situations where knowledge gaps or institutional limitations make the marine spatial planning approach inappropriate. Given that uncertainty, we recommend:

MSP1. That the federal government consult with Canadians on potential approaches to marine spatial planning in each of Canada's ocean regions.

Conclusion

We are grateful to the many intervenors and experts who took the time to make submissions to us over the past seven months. It is clear that people who live and work on Canada’s three coasts are committed to the long-term health of our oceans, and our recommendations reflect that fundamental principle. We believe that Canada’s oceans are a precious resource that can be best maintained if we are mindful of protecting the rich biodiversity in them. Our work has made it abundantly clear that they are worth preserving and the government of Canada has the willingness and ability to do so.

Our recommendations on good process, Crown-Indigenous relations and reconciliation, protection standards, and marine spatial planning have come from our own deliberations as a Panel as well as hearing from those who are passionate about conserving the health of Canada’s oceans. We have heard widely and listened closely. We now look to the federal government to implement these recommendations in a bold and meaningful way.

Appendix 1: List of intervenors and written submissions

To view submissions, view Submissions to the National Advisory Panel on Marine Protected Area Standards.

Name Organization Location Date
Pédrot, Claire Agence Mamu Innu Kaikusseht (AMIK) online online
Arey, Dennis Aklavik Hunters and Trappers Committee Inuvik, NT June 2018
Gaudet, Twila Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs (ANSMC) and the Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiation Office (KMKNO) - Joint online online
Jones, Christopher L. Association of Eastern Shore Communities Protecting Environment and Historic Access online online
Paul, Ken Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs Secretariat Ottawa, ON July 2018
Sutton, Stephen Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) online online
Lewis-Manning, Robert BC Chamber of Shipping Vancouver, BC April 2018
Burridge, Christina BC Seafood Alliance Vancouver, BC April 2018
Winterburn, Darlene BC Shellfish Growers Association Vancouver, BC April 2018
Watson-Smith, Wendy Board of the Association for the Preservation of the Eastern Shore/Nova Scotia online online
Edwards, Dan British Columbia Area A Crab Association online online
McIsaac, Jim British Columbia Commercial Fishing Caucus (CFC) online online
Tessier, Scott
Burley, Dave
Canada – Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) St-John's, NL May 2018
Kennedy, Tim Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA) online online
Barnes, Paul Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) St-John's, NL May 2018
Barnes, Paul Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) online online
Lemieux, Chris
Perron, Jacques
Canadian Council on Ecological Areas Ottawa, ON July 2018
Turris, Bruce Canadian Groundfish Research and Conservation Society Vancouver, BC April 2018
Barron, Alexandra Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) Vancouver, BC April 2018
Jessen, Sabine Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) Ottawa, ON July 2018
Jessen, Sabine
Jameson, Ross
Clowater, Roberta
Borland, Megan
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) online online
Clowater, Roberta Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) - New Brunswick Moncton, NB May 2018
Guy, Brodie Coast Funds online online
Lafontaine, Bernard Conseil des Innu de Ekuanitshit Mont-Joli, QC July 2018
Piétacho, Jean-Charles Conseil des Innu de Ekuanitshit online online
Abbott, Matthew Conservation Council of New Brunswick (CCNB) online online
Rigg, Catherine Council of the Haida Nation Vancouver, BC April 2018
Metaxas, Anna Dalhousie University Ottawa, ON July 2018
Worm, Boris Dalhousie University, Department of Biology Moncton, NB May 2018
Wareham, Bill
Wright, Kim
David Suzuki Foundation Vancouver, BC April 2018
Wright, Kim Sander
Wallace, Scott
David Suzuki Foundation Ottawa, ON July 2018
Connors, Peter Eastern Shore Fisherman's Protective Association (ESFPA) Moncton, NB May 2018
Connors, Peter Eastern Shore Fisherman's Protective Association (ESFPA) online online
Ryder-Burbidge, Simon Ecology Action Centre online online
Jensen, Olaf Environment and Climate Change Canada Ottawa, ON March 2018
Landry, Martine Environment and Climate Change Canada Ottawa, ON July 2018
Parnell, Ian Environment and Climate Change Canada Vancouver, BC April 2018
Allard, Karel
Donaldson, Garry
Environment and Climate Change Canada -Canadian Wildlife Service Moncton, NB May 2018
Pirie, Lisa Environment and Climate Change Canada -Canadian Wildlife Service Iqaluit, NU June 2018
Lanteigne, Jean Fédération régionale acadienne des pêcheurs professionnels (FRAPP) Moncton, NB May 2018
Sullivan, Keith Fish, Food & Allied Workers (FFAW) Unifor online online
Chute, Christie Fisheries and Oceans Canada Ottawa, ON March 2018
Ladell, Kate Fisheries and Oceans Canada Ottawa, ON March 2018
MacDonald, Jeff Fisheries and Oceans Canada Ottawa, ON July 2018
Morel, Philippe Fisheries and Oceans Canada Ottawa, ON March 2018
Schram, Catherine Fisheries and Oceans Canada Ottawa, ON July 2018

Ibey, Hilary

Hammond, Blair

Dyck, Paul

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Environment and Climate Change Canada

Parks Canada Agency

Vancouver, BC April 2018
Hébert, Alain Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Gulf Region Moncton, NB May 2018
Westhead, Maxine Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Maritimes Region Moncton, NB May 2018
Bieger, Tilman Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador Region St-John's, NL May 2018
Payne, Brigid Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Region Vancouver, BC April 2018
Lagacé, Anne
Bouchard, Nicole
Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Quebec region Mont-Joli, QC July 2018
Ming, Debbie Fisheries and Oceans, Central and Arctic Region Inuvik, NT May 2018
Ming, Debbie Fisheries and Oceans, Central and Arctic Region Iqaluit, NU June 2018
Lansbergen, Paul Fisheries Council of Canada Ottawa, ON July 2018
Decker David
Carruthers, Erin
Rumbolt, Alton
Food, Fish and Allied Workers Union (FFAW-UNIFOR) St-John's, NL May 2018
Recchia, Maria Fundy North Fishermen's Association; Fundy Weir Fishermen’s Association Moncton, NB May 2018
Watkinson, Bruce Gitxaala First Nation Vancouver, BC April 2018
Short, Charlie Government of British Columbia, Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Vancouver, BC April 2018
Bouchard, Hélène Government of New Brunswick, Department of Intergovernmental Affairs online online

LaBelle, Joseph

Brewer-Dalton, Kathy

Government of New Brunswick, Strategic Planning and Intergovernmental Affairs, Energy And Resources Development

Government of New Brunswick, Fisheries and Aquaculture - Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries

Moncton, NB May 2018
Snowshoe, Norman Government of Northwest Territories, Environmental and Natural Resources Inuvik, NT May 2018
Diamond, Perry Government of Yukon, Department of Energy, Mines and Resources Yukon Government Inuvik, NT May 2018
Chapman, Bruce Groundfish Enterprise Allocation Council Ottawa, ON July 2018
LeBlanc, Leonard Gulf of Nova Scotia Fishermen's Coalition /
Gulf of Nova Scotia Fleet Planning Board
Moncton, NB May 2018
Enns, Eli Indigenous Circle of Experts Vancouver, BC April 2018
Carr, Mark Institute of Marine Sciences, UC Santa Cruz Vancouver, BC April 2018
Woodley, Stephen International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Ottawa, ON July 2018
Woodley, Stephen International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Ottawa, ON March 2018
Eegeesiak, Okalik Inuit Circumpolar Council Iqaluit, NU June 2018
Lennie, Hans Inuvialuit Game Council (IGC) Inuvik, NT June 2018
Smith, Duane Ningaqsiq
Ruben, Lawrence
Inuvialuit Game Council (IGC) and Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC) online online
Simpson, Bob
Parrott, Jenn
Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC) Inuvik, NT June 2018
Inglangasuk, Gerald Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR), Fisheries Joint Management Committee Inuvik, NT June 2018
Ashevak, Joe Kitikmeot Regional Wildlife Board Iqaluit, NU June 2018
Dragon, Frank Maa-nulth First Nations Vancouver, BC April 2018
Buen, Almira Makivik Corporation online online
McNeely, Joshua Maritime Aboriginal Peoples Council Moncton, NB May 2018
Mallet, Martin Maritime Fishermen’s Union (MFU) Moncton, NB May 2018
Nicholas, Hubert Membertou First Nation Moncton, NB May 2018
Devillers, Rodolphe Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) online online
Devillers, Rodolphe Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN), Department of Geography St-John's, NL May 2018
Snelgrove, Paul Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN), Department of Ocean Sciences St-John's, NL May 2018
Montevecchi, William .A. Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN), University Research Professor St-John's, NL May 2018
Ward, Devin Mi’gmawe’l Tpu’taqnn Incorporated (MTI) Moncton, NB May 2018
St-George, Mario Mi’gmawei Mawiomi Secretariat Mont-Joli, QC July 2018
Keating, Jim Nalcor Energy St-John's, NL May 2018
Smith, Dallas W. Nanwakolas Council Vancouver, BC April 2018
Gardiner, Timothy
Newman, Candace
Natural Resources Canada Ottawa, ON July 2018
Bamford, Tim New Zealand Government, Department of Conservation Ottawa, ON March 2018
Johnson, Charlene Newfoundland and Labrador Oil and Gas Industries Association (NOIA) St-John's, NL May 2018
Johnson, Charlene Newfoundland and Labrador Oil and Gas Industries Association (NOIA) online online
Laing, Rodd Nunatsiavut Government St-John's, NL May 2018
Oliver, Stan
Coombs, Robert
NunatuKavut Community Council St-John's, NL May 2018
Ward, Jerry Nunavut Fisheries Association (NFA) Iqaluit, NU June 2018
Kotierk, Aluki Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated Iqaluit, NU June 2018
Hoffman, Jordan Nunavut Wildlife Management Board Iqaluit, NU June 2018
Angel, Eric Nuu Chah Nulth Tribal Council Vancouver, BC April 2018
D’Entremont, Alain O’Neil Fisheries Limited / Scotia Harvest Inc. Moncton, NB May 2018
Laughren, Josh Oceana Canada online online
Fuller, Susanna D. Oceans North Canada Moncton, NB May 2018
Fuller, Susanna D. Oceans North Canada online online
McNamee, Kevin Parks Canada Agency Ottawa, ON March 2018
Thorpe, Hilary Parks Canada Agency, Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area and Haida Heritage Site Vancouver, BC April 2018
Jonart, Laurent Parks Canada Agency, Tallurutiup Imanga National Marine Conservation Area Iqaluit, NU June 2018
Illasiak, Jody Paulatuk Hunters and Trappers Committee Inuvik, NT May 2018
MacPherson, Ian Prince Edward Island Fishermen’s Association (PEIFA) Moncton, NB May 2018
Ball, Dwight (Premier) Province of Newfoundland and Labrador St-John's, NL May 2018
Ball, Dwight (Premier) Province of Newfoundland and Labrador online online
Coadie, Siobhan (Minister) Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Department of Fisheries and Land Resources St-John's, NL May 2018
Byrne, Gerry (Minister) Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Department of Natural Resources St-John's, NL May 2018
McNeil, Stephen (Premier) Province of Nova Scotia Moncton, NB May 2018
Henderson, Robert (Minister) Province of Prince Edward Island (PEI) Department of Agriculture and Fisheries online online
Côté, Jean Regroupement des pêcheurs professionnels du sud de la Gaspésie online online
Greenland-Smith, Simon SeaBlue Canada online online
Cox, Sean Simon Fraser University, School of Resource and Environmental Management Vancouver, BC April 2018
Allaby, Eric Southwest Fundy Progressive Protection Council online online
Kelly, Mike Sport Fishing Advisory Board, Tides and Tales Sport Fishing / Codfather Charters Vancouver, BC April 2018
Couture, John Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources Moncton, NB May 2018
Pelletier, Émilien Université du Québec à Rimouski Mont-Joli, QC July 2018
Sumaila, Rashid University of British Columbia, Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, Fisheries Economic Research Unit Vancouver, BC April 2018
Ban, Natalie University of Victoria, School of Environmental Studies Vancouver, BC April 2018
Lloyd-Smith, Georgia West Coast Environmental Law Vancouver, BC April 2018
Nowlan, Linda West Coast Environmental Law Ottawa, ON July 2018
Curry, Colin Wolastoqey Nation in New Brunswick Moncton, NB May 2018
Crowley, Paul World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Ottawa, ON July 2018
Brueckner-Irwin, Irene   online online
Finlay-de Monchy, Marike   online online
Porta, Louie   Moncton, NB May 2018
Reddin, Tony
Copleston, Marion
  online online
Traversy, Karen   online online

Appendix 2: Terms of reference for the National Advisory Panel on MPA Standards

Terms of Reference for the National Advisory Panel on MPA Standards.

Appendix 3: Panel members

Members of the National Advisory Panel on Marine Protected Area Standards.

Appendix 4: Glossary and acronyms

DFO
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
ECCC
Environment and Climate Change Canada
IPA

Indigenous Protected Area

Lands and waters where Indigenous governments have the primary role in protecting and conserving ecosystems through Indigenous laws, governance and knowledge systems.

IUCN
International Union for the Conservation of Nature
MPA

Marine Protected Area

A clearly defined geographical space, recognized, dedicated, and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values.

OECM

Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measure

A geographically defined area other than a Protected Area, which is governed and managed in ways that achieve positive and sustained long-term outcomes for the in situ conservation of biodiversity with associated ecosystem functions and services and, where applicable, cultural, spiritual, socioeconomic and other locally relevant values.

PC
Parks Canada
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