“Federal government moving too quickly to protect marine areas, report finds”

TheRecord.com posted the above-captioned article, which reads as follows:

“WATERLOO REGION — Canada’s race to reach international coastal and marine protection targets appears to favour quantity over quality.

That’s according to a new report authored by researchers from Wilfrid Laurier University, Memorial University, University of Northern British Columbia, University of Victoria, University of Alberta and Dalhousie University.

Canada is required to protect 10 per cent of its marine and coastal area by 2020 under the Aichi biodiversity targets agreement. WLU associate professor Chris Lemieux says years of inaction from the previous Conservative government means Canada is now rushing to meet that deadline.

Canada has increased its protected marine area from less than one per cent to about eight per cent since the agreement was signed in 2010, but the vast majority has come over the past two years.

‘They’re trying to make up for lost time,’ said Lemieux, Laurier’s John McMurry Research Chair in Environmental Geography and lead author of the paper. ‘The only element the government seems to be concentrating on are the percentage targets.’

A global effort to protect biological diversity culminated in the 20 Aichi targets (named after a prefecture in Japan) in 2010. Target 11 requires signatory countries to increase the protected area coverage of coastal and marine ecosystems to 10 per cent within a decade.

Prior to 2017, Canada had only designated about 0.9 per cent of Canada’s 5.75 million square kilometres of total marine area for protection. Between 2011 to 2015 alone, the year the federal Liberals defeated the previous Conservative government, so-called Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) had only increased by 0.02 per cent, researchers found.

In response, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans developed a five-point plan to reach the 10 per cent goal by the 2020 deadline, including finishing what was already started, protecting larger areas, protecting areas under pressure, establishing Marine Protected Areas faster and more effectively, and implementing ‘other effective area-based conservation measures’ or OECMs.

OECMs can be established more quickly and with less consultation than Marine Protected Areas (which can take up to a decade to complete) the researchers said, meaning it’s ‘unlikely’ Canada can reach its Target 11 commitment using Marine Protected Areas alone.

‘The government is definitely feeling the pressure,’ Lemieux said of the 2020 deadline.”



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