Original language of petition: English
THEREFORE, YOUR PETITIONERS request that the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans work with all relevant government branches to simplify multi-lateral communication and responsibilities on the subject of Marine Protected Areas.
In Canada, the responsibility for marine protected areas (MPAs) is shared among federal, provincial, and territorial authorities. Specific responsibilities are defined by legal authorities held by each department or jurisdiction. Federally, the mandate is shared among Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), and Parks Canada Agency (PCA). Each authority has a different conservation mandate and a different management approach. All three departments work together to ensure the appropriate federal MPA mechanism to protect a particular area is selected. This selection is also conducted in collaboration with Provinces and Territories, Indigenous groups, communities, and stakeholders.
Coordination among these federal authorities is guided by Canada’s Federal Marine Protected Area Strategy (2005), which clarifies the roles and responsibilities of federal departments and agencies with MPA mandates, and describes how these federal authorities can collectively contribute to marine conservation and MPA network development. Further guidance is provided by the National Framework for Canada’s Network of Marine Protected Areas, which was jointly developed by a federal-provincial-territorial working group and released in 2011. This National Framework presents a common vision, the goals, and the strategic direction for the design of MPA networks.
Nationally, federal protection efforts are coordinated through a Director General-level interdepartmental committee, led by DFO, with ECCC, PCA, Transport Canada and Natural Resources Canada. In addition, a Task Group on oceans management has been re-established under the Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers, which provides a forum for federal-provincial-territorial collaboration on marine conservation. Interdepartmental Committees on Oceans (ICOs) have been established at various levels within government to facilitate communication and coordination amongst federal departments with responsibilities for MPAs. These committees include: The Deputy Minister ICO; Assistant Deputy Minister ICO; Director General ICO.
Regionally, multilateral collaboration between federal-provincial-territorial governments, Indigenous groups, and stakeholders is occurring in the five priority bioregions that have been identified for MPA network development through Regional Committees on Oceans Management and other governing bodies. MPA network development is a strategic and collaborative approach to identifying areas in need of protection for the long-term conservation of biodiversity that will enable jurisdictions to work together to: identify areas most in need of future protection, select an appropriate management measure to achieve specific conservation objectives, and ultimately improve the conservation of Canada’s marine environment.
In 2015, the Government of Canada committed to conserving 5% of Canada’s marine and coastal areas by 2017 and 10% by 2020. On August 1, 2019, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that Canada had surpassed its marine conservation target of 10 percent. To date, Canada has established 14 MPAs under the Oceans Act, three National Marine Conservation Areas, one marine National Wildlife Area, and 59 marine refuges. These areas protect 13.81% of Canada’s marine and coastal areas.
As we work towards our new goal of conserving 25 percent of our oceans and coasts by 2025, DFO will continue to work with all relevant government departments to implement effective marine protection measures to ensure a healthy ocean for generations to come.
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