Canada achieves important 5% marine conservation milestone

By: Clare Fischer
Date posted: 30 October 2017
Canada_Shell

The Government of Canada has said it’s reached its target of increasing the protection of marine and coastal areas to 5%. It’s part of the Government commitment to a marine environment protected from human activity.

The Government says it will now continue to work on its commitment to protect 10% of the country’s oceans by 2020.

The announcement included 11 new areas in the Gulf of St. Lawrence to be protected from all bottom fishing activities and an area on the Pacific coast, with seamounts and hydrothermal vents protected from bottom fishing activities.

Canada has announced earlier this month at the Our Oceans Conference in Malta, that it would establish a national panel on standards for marine protection, with the view towards strong and consistent standards to ensure consistency across various tools used to protect the marine environment.

Dr Peter Richardson, MCS Head of Ocean Recovery, says this is great news for Canada and UK governments should take note: “Countries around the world are recognising the need for effective networks of well-managed marine havens to allow our ocean and its wildlife to recover. We hope that governments in the UK maintain this momentum by designating more marine protected areas in UK seas, and manage them ensure they provide real protection for our precious marine ecosystems.”

Susanna Fuller, Senior Marine Coordinator at the Ecology Action Centre says: “For the first time, Canada is protecting seamounts from all bottom fishing activities – this represents an important milestone for Canada. Canada has protected more of its ocean from human activities in the last 2 years than it has ever before – indicating that political will is the critical ingredient following science and policy advice.”

David Miller, president and CEO of WWF-Canada says “We’re pleased that so much has been accomplished by the federal government to increase marine protection in Canada over the past two years. We’ve seen investment and collaboration, and we hope that this momentum continues to 2020. A robust network of MPAs in every ocean in Canada is the best way to safeguard the health of our oceans.”

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