Ottawa – October 16, 2018 – The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) welcomes the recommendations released today by the National Advisory Panel on Marine Protected Area Standards, which partially address the lack of consistent protection standards in ensuring the long-term health of ocean ecosystems. We are also pleased to see the Panel provide important recommendations on Indigenous Protected Areas, the need for long-term, stable funding for marine protected areas (MPAs), as well as the need for transparency in both MPA consultation processes and the provision of MPA information.
Over the years, CPAWS has highlighted the problems with MPA protection, and the lack of information about the standards for each site. We welcome the recommendations made in this report as a much needed first step and urge the government to adopt and implement them for both existing and future sites to safeguard Canada’s ocean ecosystems for generations to come.
“We are pleased to see that the panel has recognized the importance of the global IUCN MPA protection standards and categories, and the need for Canada to adopt these standards,” said Sabine Jessen, National Director, CPAWS Ocean Program. “International consistency on protection categories and standards is very important to ensure that areas established meet the primary intent of nature conservation. However, CPAWS encouraged the panel to incorporate the ‘ecological integrity’ standard, which is used in Canada for national parks, to guide protection of MPAs and OECMs in Canada.”
While CPAWS applauds the recommendation to prohibit industrial uses such as oil and gas and bottom trawling in MPAs in an effort to conserve ocean ecosystems, we are concerned that the report did not consider the impacts of other types of fishing on ecosystems and the scientific benefits of no-take areas. While we are pleased that the panel recognized the important role of Other Effective Conservation Measures (OECMs), we are also concerned that action is sufficiently precautionary to maintain the conservation contribution they provide.
“The international consensus has been that OECMs should be protected to the same standard as MPAs,” said Jessen. “However, we are pleased that the Panel identified the need to advance a more comprehensive approach to ocean planning and management, including MPA networks, and marine spatial planning to guide ocean uses and conservation in all of our ocean territory.”
Other positive recommendations from the report include integrating indigenous knowledge in MPA planning, design and management, and recognizing the role of Indigenous Peoples as full partners in all aspects of MPAs and OECMs. The report also highlighted the need for long-term, permanent and stable funding for MPAs, Indigenous Protected Areas and other ocean protection measures, an initiative CPAWS and the Green Budget Coalition are currently advocating for within their budget recommendations to government.