VANCOUVER, BC, Coast Salish Territories – Lawyers at West Coast Environmental Law issued the following statement in response to the Interim Report of the National Advisory Panel on Marine Protected Area (MPA) Standards, released publicly today:
“The seas are under increasing stress, so we welcome this interim report which sets out excellent guiding principles for improving the way Canada designates and implements protection for marine areas. We look forward to the final report and the National Advisory Panel’s recommendations to the new Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Jonathan Wilkinson,” said Linda Nowlan, Staff Lawyer.
Marine lawyers say the Panel's final recommendations must provide a floor of basic legal protections for all MPAs, and establish standards for effective MPAs, in order to make good on Ministerial promises about the Panel.
"It makes no sense to allow harmful extractive activities like oil and gas development in sensitive, ecologically significant marine areas, which are set aside specifically for protection. Oil and gas activities are obviously not compatible with marine protection, so why don't our laws create blanket prohibitions to give industry and the public the certainty they want?"
The National Advisory Panel’s final report is expected to be released in September. In addition to marine protection standards, the final report will make recommendations on new opportunities for Indigenous governance of marine areas through the establishment of Indigenous protected areas (IPAs). West Coast Environmental Law urges the government to appropriately recognize IPAs established under Indigenous law.
“Momentum is growing for IPAs. We hope the Panel fully recognizes this exciting new opportunity for Canada to achieve reconciliation and biodiversity protection,” said Nowlan.
For more information, please contact:
Linda Nowlan | Staff Lawyer, West Coast Environmental Law