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____ Friday December 18, 2015 ____


Water Protection

High quality protected areas key to Canada's ocean future

Reacting to the news that Canada aims to officially designate 10% of this territorial waters as Marine Protected Areas by 2020.

Halifax - Bettina Saier, WWF-Canada's Vice President for Oceans released the following statement: "Marine protected areas are a critical part of increasing the health of Canada's oceans on all three coasts. Protected areas limit industrial developments in places that are important for communities, provide homes for species and sensitive habitats, and increase the resilience of our oceans to climate change. Protected areas also help replenish fish populations that harvesters and coastal communities depend on.

What matters most is ensuring that Canada's protected areas are of the highest standard possible with strong management plans. For WWF, this means all protected areas need to be off limits to oil and gas exploration and exploitation, and limits need to be placed on commercial fishing within the borders of the designated zones.

For Canada's MPAs to make a real difference, we need to ensure that areas of high conservation value are protected – not just areas that have little human use. We've seen that Canada has political will to make this goal a reality, now we need to ensure we have the science to match this high level of ambition.

WWF will make critical contributions to reach the 10% protection target by working with the federal and provincial governments, businesses, academia, indigenous peoples, coastal communities and NGOs, drawing on science and innovation for more, better and faster MPAs.

We are encouraged that the recommendations about MPAs put forth jointly by WWF-Canada and other eNGOs have been made priorities by the new government.

Getting to 5% by 2017 and 10% by 2020 are ambitious goals but ones that can be achieved if we work together."

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