National Framework for Establishing and Managing Marine Protected Areas

Work Document - March 1999

Marine Protected Areas under the Oceans Act

The Oceans Act defines a marine protected area as an area of the sea that forms part of the internal waters of Canada, the territorial sea of Canada (12 nautical miles) or the exclusive economic zone of Canada (to 200 mile nautical miles); and that has been designated for special protection under the Oceans Act for one or more reasons. Table 1 describes the reasons for which MPAs can be established under the Oceans Act. The designation of MPAs will complement existing conservation and protection measures under the Fisheries Act.

Table 1. Reasons for Establishing MPAs under the Oceans Act

Section 35 (1) of the Oceans Act defines an MPA as:

"an area of the sea...(that) has been designated ... for special protection for one or more of the following reasons:
  1. the conservation and protection of commercial and non-commercial fishery resources, including marine mammals, and their habitats;
  2. the conservation and protection of endangered or threatened marine species, and their habitats;
  3. the conservation and protection of unique habitats;
  4. the conservation and protection of marine areas of high biodiversity or biological productivity; and
  5. 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)."
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