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Marine Protected Area Networks

Developing networks of marine protected areas (MPAs) is one way Canada is conserving biodiversity in our oceans, by identifying and protecting important and unique species, features, and ecosystems in our oceans. Networks help us take a broad view of interdependent components within an ecosystem, so that we can enhance the contributions of individual MPAs. This translates into ecological benefits for the MPAs and economic, social, and cultural benefits for all Canadians. Each site identified for future protection within networks will be planned and managed on an individual basis, including any allowed or prohibited activities within conservation areas.


Protecting our oceans is essential to ensure healthy marine environments for present and future generations.

One important way we can protect our oceans is through networks of marine protected areas.

Networks are made up of individual sites that are strategically linked to offer more protection to specific migrating species, including their spawning, nursing and feeding grounds.

For example, a Species at Risk Act closure can protect a juvenile species; a fishery area closure can help maintain an important food source as they age; and a Marine Protected Area can offer long term protection to a habitat they use to mate and bring up their young.

Canada has many more tools to establish marine protection under other legislation and through Provincial and territorial protection tools.

Networks can also achieve more complete protection than any one site on its own, all while still allowing certain activities to continue around these different areas.

In collaboration with our partners, network development is currently underway and important areas identified through consultations will be selected for future protection.

With networks, we can find the right tool to provide extensive and long-term protection to all kinds of marine species and their habitats in our Canadian waters.

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