Canada to create 10 new national marine conservation areas

The Canadian government said Friday it will create ten new national marine conservation areas (NMCAs) with a target of protecting 30 percent of lands and waters by 2030.

To kick-off the Fifth International Marine Protected Areas Congress, IMPAC5, which takes place in Vancouver of Canada from Feb. 3 to 9, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada Steven Guilbeault announced the establishment and management of NMCAs to help chart a course toward achieving the marine conservation targets negotiated at COP15, the United Nations Biodiversity Conference, in December 2022.

Currently, Parks Canada administers five NMCAs like Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site along the northern British Columbia Coast, with active proposals for another seven, including NMCAs in the Magdalen Islands, the Southern Strait of Georgia, the Central Coast of British Columbia, the northern coast of Labrador, and along James and Hudson Bays. Work continues to confirm at least three additional candidate sites, Parks Canada said in a news release.

According to the release, Canada is committed to conserving 25 percent of lands, freshwater, and oceans by 2025, and 30 percent by 2030. The National Marine Conservation Areas System Plan divides three oceans and the Great Lakes in Canada into 29 marine regions and Parks Canada is working toward the long-term goal of establishing at least one national marine conservation area in each of these 29 marine regions. To date, six regions are represented by the five existing national marine conservation areas. ■

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