Background on National Marine Conservation Areas
Pitseolak in sea kayak
© Parks Canada
The conservation of marine environments is taking on global significance. In response to this, the Government of Canada began a National Marine Conservation Areas ( NMCA ) program within the Parks Canada Agency, with the approval in 1986 of a National Marine Conservation Areas policy. The Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act, passed in 2002, sets out a framework for the establishment and management of a system of national marine conservation areas.
The National Marine Conservation Areas system plan divides Canada's Pacific, Arctic and Atlantic Oceans and Great Lakes into 29 marine regions. Parks Canada's goal is to represent each of these distinct marine regions with a national marine conservation area. Several marine areas across Canada are being studied as potential additions to the national marine conservation areas system. The intent of this system is to conserve and present representative samples of Canada's rich and diverse marine heritage.
To date, there are four sites within the NMCA system:
The Government of Canada is working on establishing other national marine conservation areas. In addition to the Lancaster Sound project, other areas are being examined:
- the waters surrounding the Îles de la Madeleine, Gulf of St. Lawrence, Quebec
- Southern Strait of Georgia, in British Columbia
For more information: