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National Marine Conservation Areas of Canada
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Canada’s National Marine Conservation Areas System Plan
The world's longest coastline, running along three oceans. The second largest continental shelf. Some of the world's richest fishing grounds. Marine mammal and marine bird populations of global importance. Diverse and colourful underwater communities. Gorgeous seascapes of wave-battered coasts, island-strewn bays, quiet sandy coves. Limitless expanses of both salt and fresh water.
All of this in Canada you say? Of course!!
Working with scientists familiar with Canada's oceans and Great Lakes, Parks Canada has developed a framework of 29 marine regions, each a distinct combination of physical and biological characteristics. By its very nature, the marine environment tends to challenge our notion of easily identifiable boundaries. Terrestrial natural regions tend to be readily distinguishable - plains, mountains, lowlands and uplands are visually different features which are not likely to change in the foreseeable future. Because water is the primary element in a marine environment, the factors which separate one region from another are not immediately obvious from the surface and are based primarily on characteristics such as temperature, salinity, currents, depth profiles and species distributions.
Follow the links to the Pacific, Arctic, and Atlantic oceans, and the Great Lakes to find out more about these environments and the marine regions which are their components. Setting aside representatives examples of all of these is what the National Marine Conservation Areas Program is all about.