Canada's 2025 Marine Conservation Targets

Backgrounder

The Government of Canada is taking concrete action to protect, conserve and manage Canada’s marine environment by investing in nature-based solutions such as marine protected areas and other effective conservation measures. In response to a growing body of international scientific research about the measures needed to address biodiversity loss and global climate change, we are committed to increasing the conservation of Canada’s oceans to 25 per cent by 2025, working towards 30 per cent by 2030.

Under Budget 2021, the Government of Canada made a historic investment to protect the health of our oceans, including $976.8 million in funding over five years to reach ambitious marine conservation targets. This will not only give our important habitats, species and ecosystems a chance to survive and thrive, it will also help support the livelihoods of Canadians by ensuring that our oceans continue to provide sustainable benefits to our economy for generations to come, as part of a blue economy.

In reaching these targets, the Government of Canada will advance progress on:

  1. Effective management: Manage existing marine protected areas (MPAs) and Other Effective area-based Conservation Measures (OECMs*) to ensure they are effective in achieving their conservation objectives.
  2. New site establishment: Establish new MPAs and OECMs to meet the 25 per cent target by 2025.
  3. Collaboration: Continuing to build upon and foster meaningful partnerships with provincial, territorial, and Indigenous governments, and local communities, to advance effective ocean planning and conservation activities.
  4. Marine Spatial Planning: Advance marine conservation within the broader context of marine spatial planning and Canada’s Blue Economy Strategy, which is still in development, to help enable ambitious marine conservation objectives while also allowing for sustainable growth in our ocean sectors as part of the development of a resilient blue economy.
  5. International advocacy: Continue to take a leadership role along with like-minded countries to advocate for conserving 30 per cent of the world’s oceans by 2030.

* OECMs (Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures) such as marine refuges, are areas that contribute to the effective long-term conservation of biodiversity though means other than protected areas.

Canada’s National Report on Managing Oceans Act MPAs

Well-designed and well-managed MPAs are an effective tool for conserving nature and biodiversity, and mitigating impacts due to global climate change. When effectively managed and monitored, they can provide a wide range of ecological, economic, social, cultural and spiritual benefits. The Government of Canada has launched The Current, the first national report in a series that will be updated every five years. It showcases the work we are doing with partners to ensure our Oceans Act MPAs are achieving their conservation objectives, and provides a review of effective MPA management measures.

International Advocacy

The Government of Canada has signaled to the world that we take the health and sustainability of oceans seriously, relying on the best available science and evidence-based decision-making. Canada has joined both the Global Ocean Alliance, and the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People, in advocating internationally for protection of 30 per cent of the world’s oceans by 2030. As a member of the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, Canada is also committed to sustainably managing 100 per cent of the ocean area under its national jurisdiction by 2025.

In June 2022, Canada will also host the Fifth International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC5) alongside Host First Nations—the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh—in partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), to bring together a broad spectrum of individuals, organizations, governments and institutions representing many sectors of society to advance further solutions for the protection and health of the global ocean.

Marine Spatial Planning

Marine spatial planning is a collaborative approach already being used in over 75 countries around the world to help coordinate and plan the distribution of human activities in a given marine environment over time, allowing ecological, economic, social and cultural objectives to be pursued while reducing conflict and duplication. By providing greater predictability and improved clarity over where and when ocean activities can take place, marine spatial planning will contribute to an overall oceans management approach that drives prosperity, encourages community inclusion, and protects jobs, natural resources, marine life, and the beauty of our coasts.

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