Canada adopted new standards that ban industrial activities such as oil and gas, mining and destructive bottom-contact fishing activity in newly created Marine Protected Areas, bringing Canada in line with international best practices. In the past few years, Canada has protected more of its ocean, but within these areas, industrial activities, including oil and gas, were still permitted. Oceana Canada called on the government to implement stronger protection measures. The new standards help protect fragile habitats that provide nursery, spawning and feeding areas for marine wildlife from harmful practices.
The Government of Canada established a 1,000 square kilometer Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the Gulf of St. Lawrence called the Banc-des-Américains. This new MPA protects one of Canada’s most diverse and productive marine areas. In 2017, Oceana Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada partnered to conduct an expedition in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, including the Banc-des-Américains. The MPA conserves habitat important for many species, including habitat-forming corals and sponges, forage fishes like capelin and herring and commercially important species, such as crab and shrimp and the iconic and highly endangered North Atlantic right whale.