oceans

Oceans

Canada has the longest coastline in the world, and a marine area that is half the size of our country. But our marine ecosystems tend to be out of sight and out of mind, and they are in serious trouble.

Emerging science demonstrates that, like their terrestrial counterparts, marine and freshwater protected areas need to be connected so marine species can thrive.

Not only do these networks protect habitats from destructive activities like bottom trawling and mining, but they also ensure that species can reach breeding age and rear their young safely -- thus maintaining healthy populations inside and outside protected areas.

The threat

Overfishing

Scientific evidence shows overfishing is the single most serious threat to the health of our marine ecosystems.

Trawling

Trawling, or fishing by dragging a net along the ocean floor, profoundly disturbs marine ecosystems. Both target and non-target fish and other organisms are killed by the trawl, and the seabed is physically altered. Frequent trawling prevents the intricate physical and biological structure of the seabed ecosystem from fully recovering.

Fish farming

The impacts of salmon fish farming have recently received much public attention. Pollution escapes the net cages; infectious diseases are spread to wild fish, and freshwater are colonized by escaped farm fish (including non-native Atlantic species). These are very real threats not only to the native salmon population, but to other fish, shellfish and marine mammals.

Oil and gas exploration and development

Seabirds, fish, shellfish, and eggs and larvae of all marine species are extremely vulnerable to oil spills. CPAWS is a member of the BC Alliance for the Preservation of the Offshore Oil and Gas Moratorium.

Climate change

The entire marine realm - from estuaries and coastal waters to the open ocean and the deep sea - is at risk from climate change.  As marine biodiversity declines, the remaining species are more vulnerable to changes in their habitat.

What CPAWS is doing

Our goals:

  • Establish a network of marine protected areas in Canada's waters, especially National Marine Conservation Areas (NMCAs)
  • Conserve special marine features, like the Hecate Strait glass sponge reefs, cold water corals and the Bay of Fundy horse mussel reefs
  • Encourage sustainable use of marine and coastal resources

Resources

CPAWS chapters working on oceans and great freshwater lakes

Dare to be Deep
Attracting hundreds of people nationwide, CPAWS' Fall 2010 Dare to be Deep tour showcased the success of Gwaii Haanas and the importance of marine protected areas.
See photos, videos and more from the tour.

SeaChoice.orgSeaChoice: Healthy Choices, Healthy Oceans
SeaChoice is a comprehensive seafood markets program with the primary goal of realizing sustainable fisheries in Canada and abroad.
www.seachoice.org

 

Science Based Guidelines for Marine Protected Area
In a report commissioned by CPAWS, these science-based guidelines were developed to inform the design and implementation of effective networks of MPAs throughout Canada’s oceans. Click here to view the full report, summary, press release and more.

Take Action!

Add your voice for protecting Canada's oceans!
Add your voice for protecting Canada's oceans!

Over 16,000 people have signed on in support of marine protection in Canada. Add your voice to support advancing marine conservation through the establishment of 12 new marine protected areas!

Read more | Sign the pledge

Publications

Canadian Wilderness Fall 2013 (2013)

This issue of Canadian Wilderness commemorates what CPAWS has accomplished in its first half century. It profiles some of the leaders who have built our organization over those 50 years and some of the staff and volunteers who carry on that tradition today.

How deep did Canada dare? Final report on oceans protection progress 2012 (2013)

Report on oceans conservation finds Canada has made limited gains in protecting our coastal waters, with the federal government and other levels moving at too slow a pace to meet the challenge issued by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) to protect 12 special marine areas by December 2012.

Oceans Report 2012 (2012)

Is Canada on track to create 12 new marine protected areas by December 2012?

Read the news release.

MPA Quick Reference (2011)
A quick overview of the Science-based Guidelines for Marine Protected Areas and MPA Networks in Canada
MPA Guidelines (2011)
In a report commissioned by CPAWS, these science-based guidelines were developed to inform the design and implementation of effective networks of MPAs throughout Canada’s oceans.
View more publications

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