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Canada-British Columbia Marine Protected Area Network Strategy

Canada-British Columbia Marine Protected Area Network Strategy

Canada-British Columbia Marine Protected Area Network Strategy (PDF, 1.42 MB)

Table of Contents

  1. Complete Text
  2. Preface
  3. Introduction
  4. The Need to Plan MPA Networks
  5. What is an MPA? What is an MPA Network?
  6. Vision and Goals for a Network of Marine Protected Areas on the Pacific Coast of Canada
  7. Planning Principles
  8. Planning Regions for Marine Protected Area Networks
  9. Governance
  10. Moving Forward
  11. Appendix 1. Marine Ecosystem Stressors in the North East Pacific
  12. Appendix 2. Protected Area Legislation in Pacific Canada
  13. Appendix 3. International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Guidelines for Applying Protected Area Management Categories
  14. Background Documents and References




With approximately 36,000 km of shoreline, 6,500 islands and over 450,000 km2 of internal and offshore marine waters, Pacific Canada is one of the most diverse and productive marine environments in the world. The ocean regulates temperature, shapes our climate and provides basic resources like food and water. It is a chief pillar of our wealth and economic well-being and a source of inspiration, rejuvenation and discovery. The importance of our ocean to British Columbians cannot be overstated — it is critical to our very existence and wellbeing. Whether you reside in BC's interior farmlands or mountains, in its cities or along the coast — you affect and are affected by the ocean. We want to protect its richness for present and future generations.

Sustainability of the world's oceans is increasingly becoming a critical concern, and the need to mitigate the impact of a multitude of stressors to our marine environments is becoming urgent (Appendix 1). Decades of scientific evidence documenting ecological, social and/or economic benefits of effectively managed MPAs demonstrates their importance as a management tool that can be applied to address multiple stressors and threats. Globally, not only have MPAs demonstrated positive ecological gains, they have also been shown to provide a venue for ocean users to have a voice in ocean management. Some of the common benefits tied to MPAs and networks are outlined in Sidebar 1.

Marine protected areas are well established in Pacific Canada. British Columbia's first protected area with a marine component was designated in 1911 (as part of Strathcona Provincial Park) and there are now over 185 MPAs protecting 28 percent of BC's coastline and 2.8 percent of Pacific Canada's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Existing MPAs were designated under an ad-hoc approach using a variety of federal or provincial legislative tools and provide varying levels of protection to a range of different values. A systematic approach to network planning will enhance the capacity of existing and future MPAs to achieve multiple goals and objectives that no one single MPA could achieve.

Benefits of MPAs and MPA Network

Ecological Benefits:

Social, Economic and Cultural Benefits:

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