With the longest coastline on the planet, it's not surprising Canadians have such a strong connection with our oceans.
With rich ecosystems full of life, our oceans provide important jobs and valuable resources. They also give us cultural, recreational and tourism opportunities.
But knowing how our ocean spaces are used plays a key role in conserving these areas and the species that live there.
Marine Spatial Planning, or MSP, helps governments, Indigenous partners and industries work together to better coordinate how we protect and conserve our oceans and sustainably manage our activities within them.
Marine Atlases are mapping tools that help support MSP and the complex work being done to manage our ocean spaces, now and in the future.
The Canada Marine Planning Atlas is a new, interactive mapping tool that supports Canadian marine spatial planning, and includes two versions: the Pacific and the Atlantic.
Both versions of the Atlas provide users with a platform to view and work with data that is relevant to MSP. This data includes human uses as well as important conservation areas and critical habitats of species at risk.
The Atlas also helps us find solutions to reduce or avoid conflicts and provide a common understanding of how our marine spaces are being used.
David Williams, Enhancement Assessment and Support Biologist, Fisheries and Oceans Canada: "The Atlas plays a big part of the work that I do. It's one of the main projects that I work on day to day. I help produce the tools that support marine spatial planning. People have questions about where things are, where things overlap, or they have questions about how much fishing occurs in this spot. And I get to figure out how to tell them that. The Atlas is something that's going to help marine spatial planners ask spatial planners. You know – spatial is in the name."
With the help of Canada's Marine Planning Atlas, MSP can help achieve Canada's ambitious goal of protecting 25% of our oceans by 2025, and 30% by 2030.
David Williams: "By understanding how we can better use a marine space, a marine spatial plan can help to create protected areas that will reach those targets as well."
MSP further supports our economy and our communities by assessing new opportunities for sustainable uses in our ocean spaces.
It is a long-term, inclusive approach to keeping our oceans healthy, while continuing to enjoy the benefits they have to offer for generations to come.
Learn more about how we're conserving and protecting Canada's marine spaces at:
IMPAC5 has been endorsed as an official United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (Ocean Decade) Action.