• Helen Avery

Canada announces marine refuge and protected areas

Updated: Apr 28, 2019

Canada's protected ocean spaces increase to 8.27%


In April, Canada announced the designation of the Laurentian Channel Marine Protected Area off the south coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. The area will be closed to all oil and gas activity and is the first to apply the new protection standards.


This new marine protected area is Canada's largest established under the Oceans Act to date and will help to conserve a range of marine habitats and species, including sensitive seafloor corals. It also provides additional protection to the endangered North Atlantic right whale. This brings Canada's protected ocean spaces to 8.27% - an increase from less than 1% in 2015.


The new standards follow consultations and a report from an independent National Advisory Panel of experts appointed to advise the Canadian government.


Canada's approach to marine conservation networks going forward will include two distinct forms of protection – marine protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, such as marine refuges.


According to the press release:

Marine protected areas will function somewhat like national parks and will provide a high level of environmental protection by prohibiting four industrial activities within all of these areas: oil and gas activities, mining, dumping and bottom trawling. This approach is consistent with the recommendations from the National Advisory Panel on Marine Protected Area Standards.


With respect to other effective area-based conservation measures, including marine refuges, economic activities within these areas will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. These will be allowed if they are consistent with the conservation objectives of that specific area. This standard is also in accord with the National Advisory Panel's recommendations to the Government. This recommendation was crafted to ensure that economic activities that are not harmful to the things being protected in a specific area can and should continue.


More details on Canada's MPAs here: http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/oceans/mpa-zpm/index-eng.html