Marine Protected Areas
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are set aside to help restore populations of fish and marine species whose numbers have dropped because of overexploitation and other industrial activities. MPAs allow rare and endangered species to recover, and protect sensitive habitats, spawning and rearing grounds.
Unfortunately, less than 1 percent of Canada’s oceans are currently protected in federally designated MPAs. Yet Canada has made international commitments to establish and maintain a comprehensive national system of MPAs. Clearly, we have a long way to go1. The vast majority of the MPAs shown on the map are provincially designated protected areas. The rationale for designation and protective measures implemented vary widely among the different sites2.
The oil industry considers oil spill clean ups a success if 15 percent of spilled oil is recovered3. An oil spill in or near an MPA could negate the many ecological benefits provided by these protected spaces.
Data Source: The boundaries of marine protected areas (MPAs) were downloaded from the Province of British Columbia’s Land and Resource Data Warehouse4. Various types of protected areas with a marine component are found coast wide but only those within the map study area on the North and Central Coast of British Columbia are displayed here.
1 Stark, J., & Ladell, K.W. (2008). The International School of Marine Protected Areas Progress Report Card: Canada, Australia and the United States. A Report by Living Oceans Society, the Sierra Club British Columbia, and the David Suzuki Foundation. http://www.livingoceans.org/sites/default/files/MPA_ReportCard.pdf