Federal Marine Protected Areas Strategy 2005

Canada     www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca   (extract pp. 10-11)

Guiding Principles for Implementation


As a key principle of Canada’s Oceans Strategy, Integrated Management (IM) is a collaborative, flexible and transparent planning and management process. It recognizes the shared responsibility of governments, Aboriginal groups, coastal communities, industry and others to support the sustainability of our marine resources. Also embedded in the IM concept is the continued respect for the legislative mandates of individual departments and agencies.

Establishing a network of marine protected areas within this planning context will increase the effectiveness and health of both individual marine protected areas and the network by ensuring that surrounding areas are managed in a consistent manner.


An ecosystem approach recognizes the complexity of ecosystems and the interconnections and  energy flows among their component parts (i.e. water, air, biota, etc.). Using this approach ensures that the linkages among key ecosystem components are considered when identifying, planning and managing marine protected areas on a site-specific basis and in the building of a marine protected areas network.


The precautionary principle recognizes that decisions and action on conservation measures can and will be taken in the absence of scientific certainty. Even without extensive scientific knowledge, the level of risk to the marine environment can be determined with the best available information and conservation actions taken based on that information.  In the context of marine protected areas, where the threat or risk can be inferred, this could mean that lack of scientific certainty regarding performance measures, targets and benefits will not be used as a reason not to precede with a designation.


Aboriginal Peoples in Canada have constitutionally protected Aboriginal and treaty rights and land claims agreements which must be respected. The federal government is committed to working with affected Aboriginal Peoples throughout Canada to collaboratively plan, establish and manage marine protected areas.


The integration and use of both scientific and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), which includes Aboriginal, local and historical sources of information, can contribute significantly to the identification, development and management of an effective federal marine protected areas network.


The concept of consultation and collaboration is essential to the development and implementation of the federal marine protected areas network and its individual components – its success depends on how well various interests are able to work together. Mechanisms for gathering of information, increasing public awareness, conducting research, and ensuring participation of those with an interest or role to play in marine protected areas planning and management will be established to improve collaboration and cooperation amongst partners.


Engaging Canadians in the development of marine protected areas and the marine protected areas network will be fundamental to the success of the network. Ocean stewardship activities can contribute to capacity building, increasing public awareness and understanding of ocean conservation issues, and the development of constituencies that support the marine protected areas network.


Management effectiveness is the evaluation of the outcomes of a particular marine protected area measured against specific objectives. It requires that specific objectives relevant to a marine protected area be identified, which may include ecological, governance, social, economic and/or cultural objectives depending on the nature of the area. Monitoring of appropriate indicators for various objectives will then be undertaken to determine if objectives are being met.


Using an adaptive management regime will include evaluating management effectiveness, and applying new science knowledge to adjust management regimes in order to continue meeting marine protected area objectives.