Canadian Federal MPA Strategy

The Oceans Act tasks the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans with leading and coordinating a system of marine protected areas on behalf of the Government of Canada. The Federal Marine Protected Areas Strategy will guide the establishment of a comprehensive and coordinated network of marine protected areas in Canada. Within Canada there exists a spectrum of legislative and policy tools to establish and manage marine protected areas. Three federal departments and agencies - Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Parks Canada Agency and Environment Canada - have specific mandates in this regard and have developed thisStrategy to articulate how they will work together to establish and manage a network of marine protected areas in Canada.

The Strategy on marine protected areas will contribute to meeting Canada’s commitments under the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Protected Areas Programme of Work, which includes the establishment of a network of marine protected areas by 2012.  Canada’s federal marine protected area network is comprised of three core programs, including:

  • Oceans Act Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) established to protect and conserve important fish and marine mammal habitats, endangered marine species, unique features and areas of high biological productivity or biodiversity;   
  • National Marine Conservation Areas established to protect and conserve representative examples of Canada’s natural and cultural marine heritage and provide opportunities for public education and enjoyment. In addition, several coastal National Parks include significant marine components. 

Source: Canada’s Oceans Action Plan for Present and Future Generations, Government of Canada.

This Strategy is a blueprint for the three federal departments to achieve networks of marine protected areas that contributes to longer-term ecosystem protection. It will involve natural and social science research; ongoing management and enforcement of specific marine protected areas; and communication with Canadians, including the development of a web-based mapping system of marine protected areas in Canada. The Strategy will be implemented in consultation with stakeholders and in collaboration with provinces and territories, and First Nations and mandated Aboriginal organizations.

Go to top