CPAWS welcomes joint call to action on ocean protection

Canada calls for precautionary approach to deep sea mining and urgent action on ocean protection at close of IMPAC5

February 9, 2023, Unceded territory of the səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations – At the close of the Fifth International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC5), the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) celebrates Canada’s commitment to apply a strongly precautionary approach to deep sea mining, along with a call to action to advance ocean protection.

The joint call to action directed at the global community was issued by the federal Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada to galvanize global ocean protection efforts.

The joint statement calls for strengthening protection measures for marine protected areas (MPAs) in line with Canada’s new minimum protection standards announced yesterday, providing increased and long-term funding and capacity for marine protected areas and supporting Indigenous-led conservation.

“Canada has made considerable strides in ocean protection recently, going from less than 1% of the country’s ocean territory protected to close to 15% in a few short years” said Sandra Schwartz, CPAWS National Executive Director. “And here at IMPAC5, the pathway to getting to 25% by 2025 has been announced.”

Last December, at the 15th United Nations Conference of the Parties on the Convention of Biological Diversity (COP15), Canada was instrumental in securing a new global agreement to protect and restore biodiversity, including the goal of protecting 30% of coast and ocean by 2030 and recognizing Indigenous-led conservation.

We are pleased to see Canada use its position as the venue host for IMPAC5 and COP15 to lay out a clear plan to achieve these targets and put out an urgent call to nations to deliver on that commitment,” said Schwartz. “Working in partnership with Indigenous Peoples to support Indigenous-led conservation will be critical to success.”

The decision to refuse to permit seabed mining without a rigorous regulatory regime comes at a critical time. Deep sea mining is a rapidly growing sector globally. Plundering the seabed for minerals and metals risks irreversible wildlife loss and the disturbance of essential carbon stores. Sediment plumes and toxic waste discharge can travel through the water column and damage nearby seamounts and cold-water reef systems and potentially poison marine life. Light and noise pollution from deep sea mining infrastructure and operations can also disrupt species that have evolved for life in the dark.

“There are currently no deep sea mining activities happening in Canada, and so given the risks, we are pleased to hear the federal Ministers of Natural Resources, and Fisheries and Oceans effectively establish a moratorium now—before it’s too late,” said Alex Barron, Director of CPAWS’ National Ocean Program.

IMPAC5 brought together Marine Protected Area managers, Indigenous leaders, decision makers, scientists, and advocates from around the world to share their experiences and knowledge to advance ocean protection in Canada and globally.

“CPAWS first proposed that Canada host IMPAC5 back in 2017 because we saw an opportunity to both celebrate and maintain the momentum for and commitment to ocean protection in Canada,” said Barron. “Today’s announcement, along with earlier announcements of the pathway to protect 25% of ocean in Canada by 2025, stronger standards for marine protected areas, progress on MPAs and MPA networks in partnership with First Nations, and a new National Marine Conservation Policy, make all the planning for IMPAC5 worth it.”


– 30 –


The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is Canada’s only charity dedicated to the protection of public land, freshwater and ocean with a strong national and regional presence across the country. Working in a way that respects the sovereignty and leadership of Indigenous nations, we are focused on conserving nature to respond to the dual crises of accelerated biodiversity loss and climate change. Our vision is that at least half of land, freshwater and ocean in Canada is permanently protected to sustain nature and people for current and future generations. For more information about CPAWS and the work we do to safeguard Canada’s natural heritage, visit Join our community on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Donate today. Take action.

About IMPAC5

On February 3-9, 2023, the world’s leading ocean conservation professionals will meet in Vancouver, Canada to chart a course towards protecting 30 % of the global ocean by 2030. The Fifth International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC5) will bring together ocean conservation professionals and high-level officials to inform, inspire, and act on marine protected areas. IMPAC5 will be jointly hosted by the Host First Nations—xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam Indian Band), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish Nation), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-waututh Nation)—together with the Government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Alongside the Congress, IMPAC5 will feature a number of exciting events, including the Ocean Festival.

For more information, please contact:

Tracy Walden
National Director, Communications and Development, CPAWS
[email protected]

Jenn Brown
Senior Communications Coordinator, Ocean Program, CPAWS
[email protected]