Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to the rescue!


Blog post by Danielle Giroux, Project Manager in conservation and marine areas

Quebec and Canada are committed to protecting 10% of our marine environments by 2020, a goal the international community considers essential in the fight against the loss of marine biodiversity. Unfortunately, we still have a long way to go.

Percentage of marine territory currently protected:
- In Quebec: 1.3%
- In Canada: 1%

What is an MPA?

- An MPA is a demarcated marine space dedicated to the protection of the marine environment.

- A single MPA may contain several different protection zones. In some of these zones, all human activities may be restricted, while others may allow activities (such as fishing and tourism activities), subject to regulation.

- An MPA’s design must take into account the distinctive features of the region and consider the needs of the local community.

The participation of both First Nations populations and an area’s users are key to the success of an MPA.

MPAs: An opportunity for the socioeconomic development of neighbouring communities

MPAs offer many valuable advantages, including:

- Maintaining a healthy ecosystem
MPAs help to slow environmental degradation and preserve natural resources found in marine environments.

- Promoting sustainable fishing
Well-managed MPAs can have a positive impact on the fishing industry by increasing the diversity, population, and size of fish and invertebrates.

- Preserving natural beauty
MPAs promote ecotourism and create jobs in the recreation and tourism sectors.

In Quebec, 3 projects are under study in the St. Lawrence:

1. The St. Lawrence Estuary, which is being considered as a possible extension of the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park

2. The American Banks (the eastern edge of the Gaspé Peninsula)

3. The Magdalen Shallows plateau surrounding the Îles-de-la-Madeleine

Proposed MPA surrounding the Îles de la Madeleine
A proposed marine protected area of roughly 17,000 km2 has been under discussion since 2004.
This project would, on its own, allow us to achieve our interim goal to protect 10% of marine areas by 2020, and provide economic security and expansion for island residents.

Help us protect the St. Lawrence by creating a network of MPAs!

- Check out our new brochure: “Marine protected areas (MPAs), for healthy ecosystems and the future of neighbouring communities” (only available in French)

- Visit our website to learn more about MPAs

- Sign our pledge to protect 10% of Canada’s ocean environments by 2020 by establishing a network of MPAs

- Write to your MP for information on the progress of proposed MPAs in your region

- Start a discussion about MPAs in your community. CPAWS Quebec can help you along the way

- Support CPAWS Quebec: become a member

The brochure “Marine protected areas (MPAs), for healthy ecosystems and for the future of neighbouring communities” was created with support from our partners MEC and the Salamander Foundation.

The brochure is a creation of Larose Design.
Translated by Emilia Radziszewski.