Federal Marine Protected Areas Strategy

Table of Contents

The Strategic Framework


The establishment of a network of marine protected areas, established and managed within an integrated oceans management framework, that contributes to the health of Canada’s oceans and marine environments.

Objective 1:

Establish a more systematic approach to marine protected area planning and establishment.

  • Establish or formalize mechanisms for interdepartmental cooperation.
  • Collaboratively develop and use science-based guidelines and decision-tools to identify and select new marine protected areas by:
    • Identifying and mapping ecologically significant sites and candidate representative areas within integrated management planning areas and other strategic planning initiatives;
    • Selecting appropriate tools for conservation;
    • Identifying priorities for advancing the marine protected areas network;
    • Developing shared criteria and guidelines and seeking opportunities for achieving multiple conservation objectives.
    • (See Appendix 3 for further elaboration.)
  • Work together to enhance intergovernmental, aboriginal, and stakeholder engagement in marine protected area planning and establishment:
  • Use integrated management planning as the prime vehicle for marine protected area site identification including involvement of provinces and territories; aboriginal groups, management committees and boards; other stakeholders and interested parties.
  • Develop mechanisms or procedures for collaboration with other jurisdictions, e.g. conclude the Canada-British Columbia sub-agreement on MPAs on a priority basis.

Objective 2:

Enhance collaboration for management and monitoring of marine protected areas.

  • Develop site specific collaborative including the:
  • Development of management plans that link marine protected area objectives and other conservation objectives (e.g. species at risk, fisheries, biodiversity, unique ecosystems);
  • Exploration of options for working with Aboriginal Peoples on marine protected area issues;
  • Development of a science and traditional ecological knowledge program; and
  • Development of common public education and awareness programs.
  • Conclude collaborative management arrangements on individual MPAs, including with Aboriginal groups.
  • Work together to identify targets and indicators (ecological, socio-economic, and government) to evaluate the effectiveness of marine protected areas and the network.
  • Conduct joint or complimentary enforcement activities, where possible.

Objective 3:

Increase awareness,understanding and participation of Canadians in the marine protected areas network.

  • Establish an MPA research program (natural and social science considerations).
  • Launch an internet based geo-referenced MPA mapping system.
  • Develop common MPA communications and public outreach tools to increase awareness of marine issues and enhance Canadian marine literacy.
  • Develop widely accepted definitions of key legislative and policy concepts common to all federal marine protected area programs (i.e. ecological sustainable use, ecosystem based management, precautionary approach).

Objective 4:

Link Canada ’s network of marine protected areas to continental and global networks.

  • Establish a regional MPA action plan with the United States and Mexico as part of the Security and Prosperity Partnership, to consider :
  • Ecological protected areas network considerations for species and habitat on each coast; and
  • Working arrangements and priorities with the NAFTA CEC.
  • Provide Canadian leadership and experience to the international community on tools, techniques, and approaches to achieving existing global marine protected area commitments and additional marine protected area requirements:
  • Within the Convention on Biological Diversity;
  • With the Arctic Council and its working groups (in the context of the Arctic Marine Strategic Plan);
  • Within the context of the WSSD commitment to complete a representative network by 2012; and
  • For conservation and protection of the high seas.
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