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Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (CCFAM)

Report on Canada’s Network of Marine Protected Areas
December 2018

Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (CCFAM): Report on Canada’s Network of Marine Protected Areas
December 2018

Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (CCFAM): Report on Canada’s Network of Marine Protected Areas December 2018 (PDF, 2.37 MB)

Table of Contents


Adaptive management
A systematic process for continually improving management policies and practices by learning from the outcomes of those previously employed.
Area of Interest (AOI)
An area that has been identified as a candidate Oceans Act MPA. The identification of a site as an AOI does not provide immediate protection to an area. If an important area appears to be threatened at any step during the evaluation process, the Government of Canada or other levels of government may establish interim measures to conserve and protect potentially affected species and habitats (see definition for Interim Protection Measures).
Area-based management measure
A general term for any spatially defined management measure implemented to achieve one or more objectives. Not all area-based management measures are MPAs or other effective area-based conservation measures, but all MPAs and other effective area-based conservation measures are necessarily area-based management measures.
Biological diversity
The full range of variety and variability within and among living organisms and the ecological complexes in which they occur; the diversity they encompass at the ecosystem, community, species, and genetic levels; and the interaction of these components.
A biogeographic division of Canada’s marine waters extending to the edge of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and including the Great Lakes, based on attributes such as bathymetry, influence of freshwater inflows, distribution of multi-year ice, and species distribution.
Conservation measure
An inclusive term that can refer to either an MPA (created under any legislation) or an Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measure (e.g., a marine refuge, or other area-based management measure that meets the science-based criteria set out in DFO’s Operational Guidance for Identifying ‘Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures’ in Canada’s Marine Environment).
Conservation objective
Reflects the species, habitat or features that the area has been put in place to conserve. Every conserved area has a conservation objective. Certain activities may be allowed to take place within a conserved area provided they do not interfere with the conservation objective.
Conservation priority
Species, habitats, or other features targeted for conservation through bioregional network objectives.
Ecologically and Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs)
Geographically or oceanographically discrete areas that meet DFO’s criteria of uniqueness, aggregation, fitness consequences, resilience, and naturalness, evaluated in the context of the ecological functions that EBSAs are intended to reflect (i.e., spawning/breeding, nursery/rearing, feeding, migration, and seasonal refuges.
Indigenous knowledge systems
A cumulative body of knowledge, practice, and belief that have evolved by adaptive processes and been handed down through generations by cultural transmission, regarding the relationship of living beings (including humans) with one another and with their environment. Indigenous knowledge systems are ways of knowing; they are dynamic, building on experience, adapting to changes, and evolving over time (Berkes, Sacred Ecology, 2008:7).
Interim protection measures

Governments have various measures for protecting marine resources, habitats and species on an interim basis while longer-term management measures are developed. Some examples include:

  • broad notification of stakeholders to discourage uses that conflict with the conservation objectives;
  • partnering arrangements with industry and other stakeholders to protect the area;
  • requests to other government agencies to defer establishment of tenures such as leases, licences, or other rights to occupy the site;
  • application of Fisheries Act regulations and fisheries closures;
  • implementation of Canada Shipping Act regulations such as anchoring, navigation, and pollution restrictions; and
  • establishment of controls by other government agencies, such as implementation of wildlife protection measures, moratoria on new tenures or renewals, restrictions on resource uses in or around the area, protection from influences of land-based activities, and prohibitions of waste disposal and dumping.
Local knowledge
Knowledge or expertise held by local residents or communities (e.g., fishing community); characterized by common or communal ownership.
Marine Protected Area (MPA)
A term used generically to describe areas in marine waters that meet the IUCN definition of a protected area. These include: National Marine Conservation Areas, marine National Wildlife Areas, and marine portions of Migratory Bird Sanctuaries, National Parks and Provincial Parks. An MPA established by DFO is referred to as an Oceans Act MPA.
Management measure
Unless the term is specified as ‘area-based,’ a management measure refers to prohibitions and allowed activities, together with other aspects of the management regime, specified for a given conservation measure.
Marine refuge
A fisheries area closure that meets all the “other measures” criteria (see definition for Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measure).
MPA network
Defined by the IUCN as a collection of individual MPAs that functions cooperatively and synergistically, at various spatial scales, and with a range of protection levels, in order to fulfill ecological aims more effectively and comprehensively than individual sites could alone. Canada’s approach to MPA development also recognizes the contribution of other conservation measures, including marine refuges.
MPA network action plan (or MPA network plan)
Documents that provide details on MPA network implementation including which network sites will be prioritized for earliest conservation and the conservation measures that will be advanced in those areas.
MPA network design
A map that guides future conservation efforts within each bioregion, including selection of appropriate conservation measures.
MPA network development
A four-stage process (see Figure 2) that culminates in establishment of an MPA network.
Network objective
Bioregion-specific strategic and operational objectives that inform MPA network development, including identification of conservation priorities and associated quantitative (i.e., percent) conservation targets, as applicable.
Network site
Considered to be “proposed” in a draft MPA network design (or when there are several MPA network design options); once the MPA network design is finalized, the sites are no longer referred to as “proposed.” The establishment of each site within the network will trigger its own specific engagement and consultation processes.
Oceans Act Marine Protected Area (MPA)

Defined in Section 35 (1) of the Oceans Act as “an area of the sea . . . (that) has been designated ... for special protection for one or more of the following reasons:

  • the conservation and protection of commercial and non-commercial fishery resources, including marine mammals, and their habitats;
  • the conservation and protection of endangered or threatened marine species, and their habitats;
  • the conservation and protection of unique habitats;
  • the conservation and protection of marine areas of high biodiversity or biological productivity; and
  • the conservation and protection of any other marine resource or habitat as is necessary to fulfill the mandate of the Minister (of Fisheries and Oceans).”
Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measure (OEABCM) / other measure

Found as part of the UN CBD’s Aichi Target 11. While international guidance on ‘other measures’ continues to develop, DFO has developed operational guidance for identifying and implementing these conservation measures. This guidance was based on science advice and uses five broad criteria to determine whether an area-based measure is likely to provide marine biodiversity conservation benefits. Any proposed ‘other measure’ must meet all five criteria to be identified as a marine OEABCM: The measure must be in a spatially defined area;

  1. The measure must have a conservation or stock management objective AND the objective must directly reference at least one species of regional importance or habitat that is important to biodiversity conservation;
  2. The measure must contain at least two ecological components of interest: a habitat that is important to biodiversity conservation and a species of regional importance that uses the habitat;
  3. The measure must either be entrenched in legislation or regulation, or show clear evidence that it is intended to be in place for a minimum of 25 years; and
  4. The ecological components of interest are effectively conserved because no human activities that are incompatible with the conservation of those components may occur or be foreseeable within the defined geographic location.

Fisheries area closures that meet all five criteria are termed ‘marine refuges.’ Should new activities be introduced into a marine refuge, the area can either be evaluated for further protection (i.e., becoming an MPA) or revert to its original unrecognized state.

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