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National Framework for Canada's Network of Marine Protected Areas

National Framework for Canada's Network of Marine Protected Areas

National Framework for Canada's Network of Marine Protected Areas (PDF, 845 KB)

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5. Canada's Network of Marine Protected Areas

5.1 Definition

Canada has adopted the IUCN 2007Footnote 5 definition of a network of marine protected areas, namely:

A collection of individual marine protected areas that operates cooperatively and synergistically, at various spatial scales, and with a range of protection levels, in order to fulfill ecological aims more effectively and comprehensively than individual sites could alone.

5.2 Eligibility Criteria

To be considered for the national network, it must be demonstrated that a given MPA:

  1. Meets Canada's network definition of a marine protected area, including each of the key terms as described by the IUCN (see Section 4 and Annex 2.2); and
  2. Contributes to MPA network goal #1; and
  3. Has a management plan, or protection guidance explicitly specified in supporting legislation or regulations, and is being effectively managed for achievement of the MPA network goal(s).

5.3 Geographic scope

The geographic scope of Canada's network of marine protected areas covers tidal waters of the Canadian portion of the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific oceans from the high-water mark outwards to the edge of the Exclusive Economic Zone, as well as the Great Lakes and any wetlands associated with those areas.

Although the Great Lakes are not truly marine, they have been described as “freshwater seas” because of their size (245,000 km2 in total). They are the world's largest freshwater lake system, displaying many of the same attributes as marine environments. They connect to the Atlantic Ocean through the Saint Lawrence Seaway and other channels, linking the health of the Great Lakes to the health of the marine environment. The Great Lakes is included within the geographic scope of the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act administered by Parks Canada. Since the United States' national system of marine protected areas also includes areas established within the Great LakesFootnote 6, the overall health of Great Lakes ecosystems will benefit from domestic action and international coordination.

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