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.
Scientific evidence shows overfishing is the single most serious threat to the health of our marine ecosystems.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In the lead up to Canada’s 150th birthday, CPAWS is calling on the federal government to accelerate efforts to establish a national network of marine protected areas as an essential step to conserve marine life and support sustainable fisheries.
To achieve this CPAWS is calling on Canada to:
Read CPAWS’ backgrounder for more info
Dare to be Deep – 2010 CPAWS Event Tour (2010)
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: Healthy Choices, Healthy Oceans
SeaChoice is a sustainable seafood program established by CPAWS, David Suzuki Foundation, Ecology Action Centre, Living Oceans, and Sierra Club BC. www.seachoice.org
The ocean supports a tremendous diversity of life from coastal areas to the deep sea, and contains 99% of the space available for life on Earth. From plankton to whales, marine species live in a delicate balance that can easily be disturbed by human activities, and cause a domino effect on species half-way around the world.
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.
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.
Is Canada on track to create 12 new marine protected areas by December 2012? Read the news release.
A quick overview of the Science-based Guidelines for Marine Protected Areas and MPA Networks in Canada
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