Fredericton -- One year after the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) called on the federal government to create 12 new marine protected areas by December 2012, the good news is that it is making progress in designating many of them as legal entities. However, CPAWS is concerned that the conservation measures the government is proposing once these areas are designated for protection may be too weak to be effective.

Today, CPAWS is releasing a 20-page report, “Is Canada on track to create 12 new marine protected areas by December 2012?” assessing progress over the past 12 months and noting areas of concern.

“We’re giving the federal government low marks on its progress in negotiations with other levels of government, industry and local communities to designate sites in the Bay of Fundy that we’ve highlighted as potential new marine protected areas, “ says  Roberta Clowater, Executive Director of CPAWS New Brunswick Chapter.

Progress on 9 of 12 sites in past year

Out of the 12 marine areas CPAWS has highlighted for action by December 2012, CPAWS has observed significant movement by the federal and other levels of government towards designating three as protected areas, some progress in creating another six, and limited or no progress on the remaining three.

Progress towards designating marine protected areas has been most significant for three sites off the coast of British Columbia – in the Southern Strait of Georgia, in Hecate Strait and surrounding the Scott Islands.  In each of these locations, the federal government has made significant advances in consultations and negotiations to establish formal marine protected areas within the past year, and is moving on to the next stages required to finalize them.

In six more locations, off Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Nunavut and Quebec, some progress towards designating new marine protected areas has been made, although more significant steps are required to move them towards completion rapidly.

No progress on protecting 3 important marine ecosystems, including Bay of Fundy

The areas where no notable progress at all has been made towards protection are in the Bay of Fundy, the South Coast Fjords off Newfoundland, and the “Big Eddy” off the west coast of Vancouver Island.

 “We are very concerned with the lack of protection in the Bay of Fundy, which stands in stark contrast to the incredible ecological richness of the Bay, and its international importance for humpback, fin and endangered North Atlantic right whales, migratory shorebirds and seabirds.  We would like to see Parks Canada come forward with a proposed National Marine Conservation Area that includes strong conservation measures to conserve these values into the future,” says Ms. Clowater.

 CPAWS has assessed progress towards protecting these sites on two sets of criteria: one for steps taken in the process to formally establish them as protected areas, the other for creating meaningful conservation measures to protect the long-term health of these marine ecosystems. The latter measures, based on leading science, include establishment of “no take zones” for fishing and rules against other forms of industrial development such as oil and gas drilling.

In all of the 12 areas CPAWS has identified, rare and important forms of sea life deserve protection, ranging from leatherback turtles, to dolphins, right whales and other types of whales, birds including puffins and Cassins auklets, and fish including cod and Atlantic wolffish.

Canada still has huge catch-up job

“We will be watching progress carefully over the next six months to see how much closer Canada gets to meaningful protection for these 12 marine areas by the end of 2012,” says Sabine Jessen, CPAWS national oceans program manager.

“This will be an important sign of how well we’ve laid the groundwork for more marine conservation in the years ahead. Canada still has a huge catch-up job to reach our international commitment of establishing networks of marine protected areas in all of our oceans,” adds Jessen.

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For media interviews, contact:

Roberta Clowater, 506-452-9902; rclowater@cpaws.org

To view CPAWS’ full progress report, executive summary and more about each of the 12 marine areas, visit www.cpaws.org/daretobedeep

CPAWS is Canada’s voice for wilderness. Since 1963, we’ve played a lead role in protecting over 500,000 km2 of public land and water. With 13 chapters across Canada, over 50 staff and 50,000 supporters, we work with governments, industry, Indigenous people and local communities to conserve our country’s irreplaceable nature. Our vision is that Canada will protect at least half of our public land and water. 

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Action Alerts

ACTION ALERT: Reinstate funding to the Canadian Environmental Network

Friday, 03 February 2017
by Raissa Marks
The Canadian Environmental Network and its provincial affiliate networks need your help!

Historically, the Canadian Environmental Network and its provincial affiliate networks including the NBEN received annual core funding from the Government of Canada. This was used to facilitate networking on environmental issues across the country, coordinate national and provincial issue-based caucuses, coordinate ENGO participation in federal public consultation processes, and maintain open lines of communication between ENGOs and the federal government.

In 2011, as part of the across-the-board cuts to civil society organizations by the previous federal government, all federal funding to the RCEN and its provincial affiliate networks was cut. This left the national network and most of the affiliates with functioning primarily on a voluntary basis with limited capacity to do their work.

There is hope that the current government will provide for renewed funding in its upcoming budget. This funding is crucial for the survival of the national network and many of the provincial affiliate networks. A proposal has been submitted. It now needs strong and immediate support from environmental groups and individuals across the country.

This is where you come in!

Please take a few minutes to write to Prime Minister Trudeau and your MP telling them why you value the RCEN, your provincial affiliate network, or environmental networking at the national level in general. Feel free to use the template letter provided below. You can personalize it based on your experience or simply copy and paste.

Trudeau’s email is justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca and you can find your MP’s email here: http://www.parl.gc.ca/Parliamentarians/en/members

Let’s show our federal politicians that a strong, well-connected grassroots environmental community is essential to a strong Canada!

Draft Template Letter:

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,

I am writing to ask that annual core funding to the Canadian Environmental Network (RCEN) be reinstated.

Historically, the RCEN provided a crucial link between environmental groups across the country, both large and small. This link was vital in helping communities address environmental issues right across the country and ensuring a robust approach to the development of environmental policy in Canada.

Since funding was cut in 2011, the RCEN and most of its provincial affiliate networks have been functioning primarily on a voluntary basis with limited capacity to do their work. This is not acceptable. A strong, well-connected grassroots environmental community is essential to a strong Canada. I urge you to reinstate core funding for this crucial work immediately.

Sincerely,

Still Time to Submit Comments - Snowmobile Trail Development up Mount Carleton

Monday, 21 November 2016
by Roberta Clowater, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society - New Brunswick Chapter
You can still send in your comments until end of day Nov 21 (Monday) on the environmental assessment report about the proposed snowmobile trail at Mount Carleton Provincial Park. If you're not sure what to say, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society - NB Chapter has summarized some of our key messages here: http://cpawsnb.org/images/upload/key_messages_EIA.pdf

Please send comments or questions to: lynn.white@gnb.ca or mail to: Lynn White, Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture, P.O. Box 6000, Fredericton, NB E3B 5H1.