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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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6. Bioregions for the National Network of Marine Protected Areas

The spatial planning framework for Canada's national network of MPAs is 13 ecologically defined bioregions that cover Canada's oceans and the Great Lakes (Figure 1).

Note that the geographic boundaries for biogregions have not been determined; the bioregion lines are only for general illustrative purposes.

Figure 1 - Large Ocean Management Areas and Bioregions for Canada's National Network of Marine Protected Areas

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Network planning in these bioregions will share a common foundation—including the vision, goals, principles, eligibility criteria, design and management approach included in this National Framework. Bioregions may be subdivided into smaller planning areas, but for simplicity, the general term “bioregional network planning” is used to encompass different scales of regional planning.

The 12 oceanic bioregions were identified through a national science advisory processFootnote 7 that considered oceanographic and bathymetric similarities, important factors in defining habitats and their species.

By ocean, the marine bioregions are:

The Government of Canada has established five Large Ocean Management Areas, or LOMAs, to advance collaborative, integrated marine planning. They are the Pacific North Coast, Beaufort Sea, Gulf of St. Lawrence, Eastern Scotian Shelf, and Placentia Bay/ Grand Banks Integrated Management Areas (Figure 1). Ecosystem health and economic development issues within the LOMA boundaries are addressed and suitably managed through comprehensive Integrated Oceans Management (IOM) governance processes (see Section 10.1). Since LOMAs were defined based on a blend of ecological and administrative considerations and pre-date the bioregions, most encompass more than one bioregion. Only the Pacific North Shelf and the Gulf of St. Lawrence bioregions generally conform to their associated LOMAs. Section 10.1 describes how LOMA governance bodies can be used to facilitate MPA network planning.

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