Other effective area-based conservation measures: Creating marine refuges in Canada


The term “other effective area-based conservation measures” was created in 2010 at the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). All parties, including Canada, agreed to an international conservation target known as Aichi Target 11 which states that 10 % of coastal and marine areas will be conserved by 2020 through systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures (“other measures”). Domestically, the Government of Canada has committed to increasing the protection of marine and coastal areas to 5% by 2017 and 10% by 2020. 

The Government of Canada has developed science-based guidance in advance of the finalization of international guidance to provide a framework from which to determine which marine area-based management measures should count towards Canada’s 2017 target and beyond. Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s guidance incorporates science advice provided through the Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat, and has considered emerging guidance from the Canadian Council on Ecological Areas and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Final guidance will be developed and endorsed by Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 2018.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s guidance identifies five criteria that an area-based conservation management measure must meet to be characterized as a marine “other measure”. Measures must have:

1. A clearly defined geographic location
The measure must be in a spatially defined area.

2. Conservation or stock management objectives
The measure must have a conservation or a stock management objective that directly relates to at least one species of regional importance or habitat that is important to biodiversity conservation. 

3. Presence of ecological components of interest
The measure must include at least two ecological components of interest: a habitat important to biodiversity conservation as well as a species of regional importance that uses that habitat.

4. Long-term duration of implementation
The measure must either be entrenched in legislation or regulation, or there must be clear evidence that the measure is intended for the long term.

5. The ecological components of interest are effectively conserved    
No human activities that are incompatible with conservation of the ecological components of interest may occur or be foreseeable within the defined geographic location.  

Some of Canada’s current fisheries management measures that provide marine refuge to fish, mammals and habitat have qualified to contribute to Canada’s marine conservation targets.

The operational guidance for identifying “Other Effective Area-Based Conservation measures’ in Canada’s marine environment can be found here:

June, 2017

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