National marine conservation areas policy and regulations

National marine conservation areas policy

Parks Canada’s recently updated NMCA Policy (2022) provides national direction on the establishment and management of national marine conservation areas (NMCAs). This renewed policy:

  • aligns with the Canada National Marine Conservation Area Act (2002)
  • builds on over 30 years of experience collaboratively managing and operating NMCAs
  • reflects Government of Canada commitments to Indigenous reconciliation, protecting biodiversity and the reciprocal relationships between people and nature
  • strengthens Canada’s commitment to the effective and equitable management of protected areas, in support of international marine conservation targets
  • is supported by a directive on the management of NMCAs that articulates the approach Parks Canada will take in achieving commitments and goals outlined in the policy

National marine conservation area policy review and update

In 2019, Parks Canada consulted with stakeholders and Canadians on proposed NMCA policy and regulatory changes.

Consultation documents

  • What we heard July 2020
    A summary of the feedback received through the 2019 consultation process.
  • Discussion paper May 2019
    Describes the proposed changes to the NMCA policy and potential areas for new regulations for Parks Canada’s NMCA program.

National marine conservation areas regulations

Parks Canada is developing general regulations under the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act (the Act) to help manage national marine conservation areas.

General regulations are nationally consistent and enforceable tools that will apply to all national marine conservation areas established under the Act, from coast to coast to coast and including the Great Lakes.

Share your feedback

The development of these regulations over the next few years offers an opportunity for Canadians to share their views on how the following areas of importance to the conservation and enjoyment of national marine conservation areas may be regulated:

  • authorizing land occupation and use, including the seafloor, lakebed and islands
  • commercial activities related to tourism and visitation, filming, research, and special events
  • zoning and other area-based management measures
  • activities that may threaten natural and cultural heritage

You can participate in this process and stay informed of progress by visiting Lets Talk NMCAs and registering to receive updates. Please share with your friends and colleagues.

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