Government of Canada launches interactive mapping tool to support marine planning and protection

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By Milthon Lujan

Ottawa, Ontario – How we manage our oceans is becoming increasingly important as the effects of climate change are felt across Canada and the world. Balancing human activities with the needs of our ecosystems is an important consideration when working to safeguard our marine spaces.

Today, the Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, launched the new Canada Marine Planning Atlas (the Atlas). The Atlas is an interactive mapping tool that allows users to view and interact with data relevant to marine spatial planning. It includes data on economic, ecological and sociocultural activities that sometimes overlap in Canada’s marine spaces.

Marine spatial planning brings together all levels of government, Indigenous partners and stakeholders to shape better the objectives and future uses of marine space. It improves ocean management by ensuring our marine spaces are used in a holistic way. The impacts of human activities are considered as well as broader ecological, economic, cultural and social considerations. Coordinating how we manage ocean activities is a key factor in achieving Canada’s ambitious conservation goals of conserving 30 per cent of the world’s oceans by 2030.

As a critical tool for marine conservation in Canada, the Atlas will be featured during IMPAC5, the Fifth International Marine Protected Areas Congress, in Vancouver, Canada, from February 3-9 2023. This global forum will bring ocean conservation professionals and leaders together to inform, inspire and act on marine protected areas.

Tools such as the Atlas help marine spatial planners in Canada manage conservation work with human activities and industries supporting the livelihoods of many coastal communities. This is a critical part of ensuring a sustainable ocean economy for everyone.

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“It is vital to advance the goal of a thriving, sustainable ocean economy. How we utilize Canada’s oceans, especially how we protect and restore them for present and future generations, will be greatly influenced by marine spatial planning in Canada and tools like the new Canada Marine Planning Atlas. I encourage Canadians to explore this new resource to learn more about how our waters are used and to support efforts to safeguard the health of the oceans.” said The Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Quick facts

  • In Budget 2021, the Government of Canada made a historic investment of $976.8 million over five years to protect the health of our oceans and to reach ambitious targets of conserving 25 per cent of our oceans by 2025, and 30 per cent by 2030.
  • A public consultation period regarding marine spatial planning is currently underway until March 17, 2023. Indigenous Peoples, industries, various levels of government and the public have the opportunity to provide feedback and shape how Canada will advance a sustainable ocean economy for all.
  • IMPAC5 has been endorsed as an official United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (Ocean Decade) Action, coordinated and led by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

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