Language selection


Coral & Sponge Conservation Strategy for Eastern Canada 2015

Coral & Sponge Conservation Strategy for Eastern Canada 2015

Coral & Sponge Conservation Strategy for Eastern Canada 2015 (PDF, 3.30 MB)

Table of Contents

International Context

Canada is signatory to a number of binding and non-binding commitments related to coral and sponge conservation. The protection of deep-sea fish stocks and vulnerable habitats in which they live is a fundamental consideration towards implementing successful conservation efforts. Due to the importance of corals and sponges in the benthic ecosystem, a number of these agreements focus on coral and sponge conservation, forming a catalyst for management actions. Table 1 outlines some of the international commitments Canada has taken part in, and provides a description of some of the ways in which these commitments link to coral and sponge or benthic conservation.

This two column table describes Canada’s international commitments related to coral and sponge conservation. Column 1 lists the Commitments, and a description of each commitment is provided in column 2.

Table 1: International Commitments
Commitment Description
United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity The Convention has three principle objectives - conservation of biological diversity; sustainable use of its components; and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources.  Decision making is guided by the precautionary principle and as such it has been underlined that there is an urgent need to improve conservation and sustainable use of biologically diverse habitats through the establishment of a network of marine protected areas. (UN 1992).
World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg Summit)  States agreed to “maintain the productivity and biodiversity of important and vulnerable marine and coastal areas…” which included a commitment to establish representative networks of marine protected areas by 2012 (WSSD 2002).
United Nations Resolution on  Sustainable Fisheries In 2006, the Sustainable Resolution A/RES 61/105 was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). This Resolution provides guidance on the protection of Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems (VMEs) from significant adverse impacts of bottom fishing activities in the high seas. It calls on States to work individually and cooperatively through Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) to develop deep-sea fisheries strategies that take into account the precautionary approach and ecosystem-based management (UN 2006).  

Paragraph 83 called on RFMOs to adopt measures to assess whether individual bottom  activities have an adverse impact on VMEs,  to identify VMEs and to determine whether bottom fishing activities would cause significant adverse impacts on these ecosystems, to close areas where VMEs are known to occur to bottom fishing until conservation measures are put in place to prevent significant adverse impacts,  and to require member flagged  vessels to cease bottom fishing where VMEs are encountered and to report the encounter.  

In 2009, UNGA adopted resolution A/RES 64/72 reaffirming commitments in 61/105 and identifying further actions for the identification and protection of VMEs. 
United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Technical Consultation on the International Guidelines for the Management of Deep-sea Fisheries in the High Seas In 2009 member states adopted International Guidelines for the Management of Deep Sea Fisheries in the High Seas to assist member states with sustainable management of deep-sea fisheries.  These guidelines are designed to limit the impacts of deep-sea fishing on fragile deep-sea fish species and habitats, including certain cold water corals and some types of sponge dominated communities (FAO 2009).
Date modified: