Stress-Free Seas: Consistent Protection and Governance Standards for Canada's Marine Protected Area Laws

Marine protected areas (MPAs), marine protection standards
West Coast Environmental Law Association

Marine protected areas (MPAs) are tools to reduce and relieve stress imposed on marine life by human activities, known by scientists as “stressors”. To be effective, MPAs need strong and consistent laws that prohibit damaging activities and provide safe havens in areas specifically reserved for protection. Unfortunately, Canada's current MPA laws miss the mark. 

In 2017-2018, a National Advisory Panel was launched to gather perspectives and offer recommendations to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard on protection standards for federal MPAs. This submission to the National Advisory Panel shows the inconsistency and incompleteness of Canada’s MPA laws. It discusses how to improve these laws to provide basic protections, and better follow guidance from the world authority on protected areas, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

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