As of 2017, Canada has protected 0.9% of its coastal and marine areas, however in November 2015 the federal government committed to protecting at least 10% of its marine environment by 2020, in accordance with the Convention on Biological Diversity Aichi Target 11. In order to be successful, and protect at least an additional 9.1% of our ocean, an all hands on deck approach is needed as processes for identification and protection must proceed at a significantly faster pace than in the past. This is a critical part of the SDG 14 Plan of Action.
Canada has three oceans, with vastly different cultures and users groups in each. We also have made a commitment nationally towards reconciliation with our Indigenous Peoples which means a new approach to co-governance and nation to nation decision making. As conservation organizations with experience and relationships that are crucial to achieving the 2020 target in a manner that is respectful to stakeholders but ultimately puts our marine biodiversity first, we commit to the following actions:
- Meaningful engagement with our federal government to ensure that protection benefits Canadaâ€™s marine biodiversity.
- Raising awareness and building support of the Canadian public for marine protection.
- Setting the stage for further protection by supporting science based decision making for areas selected for protection.
- Advocating for reform of Canadaâ€™s Oceans Act to improve efficiency of implementation
- Working together with Indigenous Peoples to support the appropriate recognition of Indigenous Protected Areas.
- Engaging with ocean users to ensure that biodiversity protection is not compromised by the idea of future economic gain, and ensuring minimum standards for protection are upheld.
Our goal is to support Canada in becoming a leader in ocean conservation and management, particularly when it is so desperately needed as oceans are threatened by climate change, land based pollution and overfishing. We envision a Canada that protects its oceans, and Canadian citizens fully embrace their role as an ocean nation, and are proud of protections that are in place.
Work with government and other stakeholders to establish criteria for effective MPAs
Build an enhance level of awareness and public support for marine conservation in Canada through public events, media opportunities and focus groups where needed
Communicating to and improving government relations, both federally and provinically, in order to reach 5% marine protection by 2017 and 10% marine protection by 2020
Strategic collaboration between Canadian and where relevant, international ENGOs with shared messaging where ever possible to ensure Canada reaches its marine conservation targets