Significant progress made in marine protection | WWF-Canada

Significant progress made in marine protection

Posted on 28 October 2017   |  
Humpback whale, Bay of Fundy
© Barrett & MacKay / WWF-Canada

VICTORIA, Oct. 28, 2017 — World Wildlife Fund Canada congratulates the government on making significant increases in the amount of the country’s marine territory protected. Marine protected areas (MPAs) where wildlife and ecosystems can recover from human impacts are vital to reverse biodiversity loss. 

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 during 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.”  

 

Why marine protections are important 

WWF’s new Living Planet Report Canada shows that populations of Atlantic marine fish – species such as cod, mackerel and tuna, as well as sharks, skates and rays – have declined by 38 per cent on average between 1970 and 2014. 

Science shows that marine protected areas that are strongly protected – “no-take” for commercial fisheries and a ban on activities such as oil and gas exploitation – are the most effective at helping species recover. 

WWF-Canada is working to:  

Promote the minimum standards for marine protected areas, both future and existing;  
Refine criteria on “marine refuges” to align with international guidance. 
Develop a connected network of MPAs to maximize benefits to marine wildlife and ecosystems. 
Protect critical areas of the Arctic Ocean in the face of a rapidly changing climate.  

What does “protected” mean? 

Marine protected areas can be created by federal, provincial and territorial governments using a variety of legislation including the Oceans Act, Canada Wildlife Act and the National Marine Conservation Act. 
MPAs in Canada have widely differing rules and regulations. Even when an area is said to be protected, it may not be sufficiently protected to help wildlife recover from human impacts. For example, oil and gas exploration and exploitation is banned in the Oceans Act MPA St. Anns Bank. Nearby, in the proposed Laurentian Channel MPA, oil and gas exploitation will be allowed in 80 per cent of the protected area if it goes through as planned. 
 “Marine refuges” are a new term previously referred to as Other Effective Conservation Measures. These are fishery closures put in place under the Fisheries Act to protect marine ecosystems and species, and can be created much faster than marine protected areas. Marine refuges may only protect a single species and many do not restrict harmful activities such as mineral or oil and gas extraction. 

About World Wildlife Fund Canada 
WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more information, visit wwf.ca

For further information 
Catharine Tunnacliffe, communications specialist ctunnacliffe@wwfcanada.org +1 647 624 5279

Humpback whale, Bay of Fundy
© Barrett & MacKay / WWF-Canada Enlarge

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