A diver is exploring a shipwreck in Fathom Five © Parks Canada / J. Butterill
From the Atlantic to the Arctic to the Pacific and the Great Lakes, national marine conservation areas (NMCA) are protected areas which represent the diversity of Canada’s marine environments. Big or small, each NMCA includes a set of features which ensure that a healthy ecosystem is maintained.
For the people of Canada and the world, of today and tomorrow, NMCAs provide opportunities to appreciate and enjoy Canada’s natural and cultural marine heritage. Plus, healthy marine environments are fundamental to the social, cultural and economic well-being of people living in coastal communities, as well as all Canadians throughout the country.
Sea stars at low tide in Gwaii Hannas © Parks Canada / C. Cheadle
A spirit of cooperation is key to the success of NMCAs! The planning and management of NMCAs requires active participation by all those involved, including coastal communities, industry, federal and provincial or territorial departments and agencies, Aboriginal governments and organizations, and all other interested groups.
Sound management of NMCAs is important in order to preserve the balance in natural marine ecosystems. Zoning is an indispensable tool to achieve this, setting aside high protection areas as well as zones where ecologically sustainable use of living resources is permitted. These zones allow us to reach our goals related to protection and use.
By establishing a network of NMCAs that will represent each of the Canada’s 29 marine regions, we are investing in protecting our blue planet. Parks Canada is thus contributing to national and international efforts to establish a network of marine protected areas in Canada and abroad.
To date, Parks Canada is responsible for four NMCAs. Our newest, Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida Heritage Site, was established on June 17, 2010 thereby protecting the waters surrounding National Park Reserve Gwaii Haanas. Gwaii Haanas is currently the only place on Earth to be protected from mountain top to sea floor.
Discover a blue world! For you! For me! For the future!
For additional information about NMCAs, visit www.parkscanada.gc.ca and click on National Marine Conservation Areas.
Walrus © Parks Canada / Mario Cyr
Frilled anemones in Saguenay St.-Lawrence Marine Park © Parks Canada / J-G. Béliveau