Let’s Talk National Marine Conservation Areas

Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area

By Lisa Nyman

Parks Canada is developing the first set of general regulations under the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act to manage national marine conservation areas. Public consultation is open from April 11 to June 8. This is your opportunity to provide feedback on the regulations. Your input is needed!

The Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act – 2002 authorizes Parks Canada to create a system of national marine conservation areas and outlines how they should be managed. It enables the Governor in Council to develop regulations, consistent with international law, for the control and management of national marine conservation areas on a wide range of topics. For example, any form of land use or occupation in a national marine conservation area is prohibited under the Act unless it is authorized. Regulations are required to authorize the use of land in a way that is compatible with the goals of these protected areas. General regulations will complement the relevant policies, site establishment agreements, management plans, and other components. When they come into force, the proposed general regulations will provide a consistent regulatory regime for the national marine conservation area program across Canada.

In 2019, Parks Canada consulted with Canadians and Indigenous peoples towards modernizing the 1994 policy for national marine conservation areas. The comments received helped shape the updated Policy on the Establishment and Management of National Marine Conservation Areas, and also informed this regulatory proposal.

The regulations will include general restrictions and prohibitions applicable to all national marine conservation areas established under the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act. They will also include permit and other authorization requirements and authorities that can be used to manage activities specific to the context and environment of each area. They will apply to submerged lands, the water and ice above them, and can include wetlands, estuaries, islands, and other coastal lands within the boundaries of a national marine conservation area.

The regulatory proposal covers five themes:

  • Research and collections activities;
  • Protection of natural and cultural resources;
  • Zoning and area-based management;
  • Commercial activities and special events; and
  • Visitor experience and public use.

On April 11, 2023, Parks Canada published a series of summary papers describing the regulatory proposal and we are seeking feedback on these key topics to inform the development of the general regulations. Your input is needed to ensure that the scope and content of the proposed regulations align with the purpose and management goals of national marine conservation areas. Your perspectives will inform the development of the regulations so that national marine conservation areas provide benefits for all Canadians and those who live near, use, enjoy, and support these special places.

Please review the www.LetsTalkNMCAs.ca website, register to receive updates, provide comments and feedback, and share with friends and colleagues.



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