3.0 Managing the Use of National Marine Conservation Areas

3.0 Managing the Use of National Marine Conservation Areas

Managing the use of national marine conservation areas will be based on the "ecosystem management" concept. This involves adopting a holistic view of the natural environment, ensuring that decisions consider the dynamic and interactive nature of ecosystems, human activities within the ecosystems, and their finite capacity to recover from stress caused by human disturbances.

To be effective, ecosystem management must have a broad base of support. It requires understanding and collaboration among all those who directly use the area or who influence the ecological integrity of a marine conservation area by their activities in the surrounding hinterland. Forging strong partnerships is also important, particularly in research and environmental monitoring where user groups, universities, conservation organizations and the private sector have much to contribute.

Ecosystem management must be based in science. Adequate baseline information about the physical, oceanographic and biological characteristics, and existing and potential uses of the conservation area is required to guide planning and management of the area and to develop public education programs. Monitoring is required to detect changes occurring in the marine environment and to determine whether these are due to natural causes or to stress caused by human activities.

3.1 Ecosystem Management

Measurable goals and management strategies will be formulated for each national marine conservation area to ensure the protection and maintenance of its ecosystems.

Where marine ecosystems or components thereof have been seriously degraded, Parks Canada will initiate restoration programs in cooperation with others.

When a marine species which spends a part of its natural life cycle in a marine conservation area is adversely affected by human activities outside the area, Parks Canada will cooperate with Canadian and international regulatory agencies to promote its conservation throughout its range.

Extirpated species that are native to the marine conservation area may be reintroduced after research has shown that reintroduction is likely to succeed and that its probable effects are acceptable within the conservation area and the surrounding region.

The introduction of exotic plants or animals into the wild in a marine conservation area will not be permitted.

Federal environmental assessment and review legislation will be implemented in conservation areas in an exemplary fashion. Parks Canada will also review and comment upon environmental impact assessments for proposed developments that are near established or potential marine conservation areas.

Parks Canada will encourage understanding and cooperation in achieving marine area conservation goals by participating in regional sea and coastal zone planning programs sponsored by other jurisdictions and interested parties.

To promote science-based management, Parks Canada will work with others in compiling and analyzing baseline information on the physical, oceanographic and biological characteristics of the marine conservation area and surrounding lands, use of marine resources within this geographic area and their effects.

3.2 Protection and Compliance

Parks Canada will implement appropriate regulations under the National Parks Act or other statutes in accordance with management and zoning decisions set out in the approved conservation area management plan.

Parks Canada, in cooperation with other law enforcement agencies, will monitor compliance with the marine conservation area regulations that have been implemented to protect marine ecosystems, maintain the public peace and protect life and property. Strict enforcement action will be taken to detect and stop illegal activities such as poaching.

The public will be consulted in the development of regulations applicable to marine conservation areas, and visitors will be made aware of the rationale for such regulations.

Under the National Parks Act, Parliament must approve new pipeline or submarine cable rights of way through a national marine conservation area while the Governor in Council retains authority to alter existing rights of way. The Minister will recommend that new or altered corridors be authorized only where it is demonstrated that, relative to alternative routes or modes, a new or altered route:

i) will provide significant economic advantages; and

ii) will not significantly increase damage or long-term risk to the area's marine environment.

All such proposals will be subject to the Federal Environmental Assessment and Review Process and must be constructed and operated so as to satisfy all environmental impact mitigation measures that have been agreed upon.

3.3 Fishing and Aquaculture

Fishing is an appropriate activity in Zone III areas, subject to protecting the conservation area's ecosystems, to maintaining viable stocks, and to attaining the purpose and objectives of the marine conservation area.

Aquaculture may be permitted in Zone III areas if it does not impair the structure and function of the marine conservation area's ecosystems and does not conflict with other fisheries, navigation, marine outdoor recreation and public education activities.

Fishing and aquaculture closures in Zone I and II areas and changes to fishing and aquaculture practices in Zone III areas will be agreed to between Parks Canada, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and, where applicable, provincial agencies in consultation with the fishing industry, at the time of establishment of a marine conservation area, and reviewed during management planning.

Fisheries in national marine conservation areas will be regulated under the provisions of the Fisheries Act. Other statutes may also be used to provide additional protection to marine ecosystems.

Fisheries in marine conservation areas will be managed in accordance with fisheriesmanagement plans established by DFO. Parks Canada will participate in the negotiation of these plans to secure the protection of marine ecosystems in and around marine conservation areas.

Parks Canada will work cooperatively with DFO and the fishing industry to minimize indiscriminate methods of fishing and the use of gear that is destructive to the sea bed within a conservation area.

Shore based support facilities for fishing will be permitted in Zone III areas if operated in a manner that does not conflict with the purpose and objectives of the conservation area. Parks Canada may contribute to the cost of relocating or upgrading existing facilities that are incompatible with the area's purpose and objectives. Expansion and improvement will require approval by Parks Canada, DFO and other involved federal or provincial/territorial agencies.

Proposals to introduce any new fishery into a marine conservation area (including aquaculture), not agreed to at the time the conservation area was established, will be considered during the management planning process. These proposals will be subject to the prior completion of stock assessment and environmental impact studies.

3.4 Marine Transportation

Transportation, navigation and aids to navigation, and the operation of pleasure craft in marine conservation areas will be regulated under the Canada Shipping Act and other applicable legislation and regulations.

The routing of new transportation corridors within marine conservation areas will be considered during the management planning process, and will take into account the need for essential services, such as ferries and northern supply routes.

Vessel access to, and movement within, marine conservation areas will be managed in conformity with conservation area objectives and the area's zoning plan in a manner that will:

i) circumvent areas frequented by threatened or endangered species and their habitats;

ii) provide the public with opportunities to understand and enjoy the conservation area;

iii) ensure public safety; and

iv) minimize conflict between commercial and recreational uses.

Traditional Aboriginal and other fishermen's rights of marine access, including over-ice transportation, will be recognized, subject to the requirement of protecting fish and wildlife, including marine mammals, and habitat important to their well-being.

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