Protect Canada's Oceans

Canada currently has no minimum protection standards for Marine Protected Areas. Without minimum standards, each new MPA proposal is subject to negotiations over every possible use, which is how we end up with MPAs that allow bottom trawling, oil and gas extraction, and other destructive uses. 

The National Advisory Panel on Marine Protected Area Standards has just submitted its final recommendations to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard. The report makes several key recommendations that we strongly support, asking the Canadian government to:

“Recognize the importance of Indigenous peoples’ roles as full partners in all aspects of design, management, and decision-making around marine protected areas, Indigenous Protected Areas, and other effective area-based conservation measures.

 “Adopt International Union for the Conservation of Nature standards and guidelines for all marine protected areas, therefore prohibiting industrial activities such as oil and gas exploration and exploitation, mining, dumping, and bottom trawling.”

Please send a letter to your MP and to the Minister to show your support for adopting these recommendations into law as soon as possible, so that new MPAs can have stronger protection and Indigenous Nations can protect their marine territories.

Canadians protecting places where marine life can thrive - listen to what other British Columbians are saying about new MPAs:




The Canadian government has met its goal to protect 5% of Canada's oceans by the end of 2017. Canada's next target is for at least 10% ocean conservation by 2020, but these percentages don't reflect the area under strong protection, which is much less, nor does it necessarily reflect the proportion of areas of high biodiversity under protection. Science on Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) around the world shows that at least 30% of a bioregion (not an individual MPA, but for instance the entire "Great Bear Sea") must be off-limits to all resource exploitation and industrial activity to effectively conserve and protect marine biodiversity and fisheries for the long-term. These “no-take areas” can act as reservoirs for fish, replenishing stocks outside their boundaries, and should be the core zone of an MPA. They also need to be enforced for the long-term (minimum 10 years) to be effective. And most importantly, basing conservation decisions on science isn't enough: respecting Indigenous rights, traditional knowledge, and governance is integral to effective marine protection in Canada. 

You can read the written submissions from First Nations, academics, industry, environmental groups, and individuals to the panel here. Pacific Wild recorded videos of ocean lovers, including members of the Heiltsuk Nation, that were played for the Panel as part of a presentation by SeaBlue

Send a letter

Please take a moment to show your support by editing, signing, and sending the letter below. Please copy the text of your letter and send it to your own MP in an email so they know this issue is important to you. You can find your MP and their contact information using your postal code HERE


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