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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

The Need to Plan MPA Networks



Several countries, coastal states and provinces have recognized the importance of MPAs, and have established policies, tools and commitments to enable MPA network planning and implementation. Systematic conservation planning is widely considered 'good practice' because it facilitates a transparent, inclusive and defensible planning process. In British Columbia, MPA network planning will play an important role in fulfilling government mandates that include conservation and protection of natural, historical and cultural values; sustainable resource management; creating and maintaining opportunities for commerce; and, enhancing economic and social wellness.

The role of MPAs in advancing progress towards meeting international, national and regional commitments and agreements is also driving governments' desire to formalize their approach to network planning. Key commitments include, but are not limited to:


2010 Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
Commitment to "improve the status of biodiversity by safeguarding ecosystems, species and genetic diversity". As a signatory to the agreement, Canada has agreed to Target 11, which commits parties to conserve by 2020, "at least... 10% of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services...through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures...".


Canada's Oceans Act
Directs multi-agency collaboration and coordination on broad oceans management, including MPAs.
Canada's Oceans Strategy
Provides the overall strategic framework for Canada's oceansrelated programs and policies and commits federal governments with complementary protected area mandates to identify areas of interest for MPAs.


2004 Memorandum of Understanding between Canada and British Columbia Respecting the Implementation of Canada's Oceans Strategy on the Pacific Coast of Canada
Provides for "further collaboration among the parties to advance the implementation of specific activities and objectives identified in Canada's Oceans Strategy aimed at understanding and protecting the marine environment and supporting sustainable economic opportunities on the Pacific Coast of Canada".

The Canada-British Columbia Marine Protected Area Network Strategy provides guidance for the design of a network of marine protected areas on the Pacific Coast of Canada to help achieve these and other important agreements. It outlines a vision and goals to help guide MPA establishment and regional planning initiatives and identifies ecological and social, economic and cultural design principles for the creation of effective, functional networks. It is a high level policy framework for guiding the process of establishing networks of MPAs in Pacific Canada; specific, detailed guidance related to the design, implementation and management of networks and marine protected areas at the site-level may be addressed in future documents (e.g., technical guidance, bioregional implementation plans).

The approach to network planning is meant to build collaboration and partnerships; it is not intended to fetter the statutory responsibility, authority, or interests and obligations of any governments to establish or manage such areas. A multi-agency, systematic approach will provide regional consistency for planning and establishing new MPAs for both near and offshore regions, a formal mechanism for coordinating a range of other management tools and improved delivery of commitments to protect marine biodiversity.

The Strategy is consistent with direction provided by the National Framework for Canada's Network of Marine Protected Areas, a document that presents the national approach of federal, provincial and territorial governments to MPA network design. Guided by the Canada-BC Strategy, network planning in the Pacific Region will support Canada's efforts to create a national network.

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