Canadian Areas of Interest (Canadian Dept of Fisheries and Oceans)
About This Initiative
Marine Protected Areas or MPAs are established by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) under the Oceans Act to protect and conserve important fish and marine mammal habitats, endangered marine species, unique features and areas of high biological productivity or biodiversity. Canada has committed to establishing a network of protected areas in our oceans to help meet a range of environmental and cultural conservation goals. Currently, 8 sites are being considered for MPA status, and are currently considered Areas of Interest (AOI).
Canadian Process for Establishing and Managing Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)
The following framework for establishing and managing marine protected areas (MPAs) is defined by the Oceans Act:
Step 1: Select Area of Interest (AOI)
Select the area of interest, primarily through the large ocean management area (LOMA)-based integrated oceans management (IOM) process, applying ecological and feasibility criteria to the ecologically and biologically significant areas (EBSAs), ecologically significant species (ESSs) and ecologically significant community properties (ESCPs) or to priority areas of ecological significance outside the LOMAs, and seek preliminary endorsement from interested parties.
Step 2: Conduct Overview and Assessment of AOI
Prepare an overview and assessment report for the AOI consisting of an ecological overview; a social, cultural and economic overview; and an assessment of how ecological, social, cultural and economic aspects interact.
Step 3: Develop Draft Regulatory Intent
Tailor conservation objectives identified during the EBSAs, ESSs and ESCPs exercise to the specific requirements of the AOI; identify regulatory/non-regulatory measures, that is, the management approach, needed to achieve these objectives.
Step 4: Consult with Stakeholders and Finalize Regulatory Intent and Cost-Benefit Overview
Consult with stakeholders on regulatory intent and provide information for the cost-benefit analysis required for the triage questionnaire, regulatory impact analysis statement (RIAS) and strategic environmental assessment.
Step 5: Develop Regulations for MPA Designation
Complete the Triage Questionnaire and strategic environmental assessment, plus the “regulatory package,” which includes the drafting instructions, RIAS and communication plan, following the Cabinet Directive on Streamlining Regulations. Proceed to pre-publication for public comment and adapt regulations as appropriate. Designation occurs when the regulations are published.
Step 6: Manage Marine Protected Area
Develop and implement a management plan for managing the MPA and implementing the MPA regulations.