The drilling rig GSF Grand Banks is berthed in Halifax Harbour for repairs on Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011. Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson announced on Apr. 25, 2019, a total ban on oil and gas work, as well as mining, waste-dumping and bottom-trawling, in all of Canada's marine protected areas. (Andrew Vaughan/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Canada bans all industrial activity in marine protected areas

The federal government is adopting a total ban on oil and gas activities, mining as well as waste dumping and bottom trawling in all of Canada’s marine protected areas, Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson announced Thursday.

Wilkinson announced the new standards to strengthen the conservation and protection of important marine habitat at an international nature summit in Montreal where Canada is pushing other countries to do more to protect the global environment.

“Canadians expect us to take action to protect unique ocean ecosystems while ensuring coastal communities thrive,” Wilkinson said in a statement.

“The new standards for marine conservation we are announcing today will provide for high levels of environmental protection in a manner that is sensitive to important economic actors such as fish harvesters.”

Canada’s approach to marine conservation networks going forward will include two distinct forms of protection – marine protected areas, with a total ban on industrial activity, and other area-based conservation measures, such as marine refuges, where some activity would be allowed, Wilkinson said.

Wilkinson also announced the designation of the Laurentian Channel Marine Protected Area (MPA) off the south coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. The 11,580-square-kilometre swath of ocean where the Gulf of St. Lawrence meets the Atlantic Ocean will be closed to all oil and gas activity and is the first to apply the new protection standards, Wilkinson said.

The Laurentian Channel is a critical migration route for some of our most endangered whales, including humpback and minke whales, as well as endangered blue whales and endangered North Atlantic right whales.

‘A really positive step’

Josh Laughren, executive director of conservation group Oceana Canada, welcomed the two announcements.

“I’m really quite happy to finally see such clarity and rigour being brought to MPA designations,” Laughren told Radio Canada International. “I think it’s great, it’s a really positive step.”

The new rules will ensure the protection of fragile habitats that provide nursery, spawning and feeding areas for fish from harmful activities such as oil and gas exploration and unsustainable fishing, he said.

The new rules provide certainty for all the stakeholders involved, Laughren said.

“Now, when the government is saying, ‘Here’s an area we’re considering for a marine protected area,’ users can know what that means,” Laughren said. “We know what we’re actually debating and discussing.”

‘Devil in the details’

Canada’s Marine Conservation Targets (Source: DFO)

Other area-based conservation measures, such as marine refuges, do not fall under these standards, but must also be managed effectively to meet conservation objectives, Laughren said.

“That’s where the devil will be in the details,” Laughren said. “Do we follow scientific advice? Do we follow what the analysis shows what is damaging and not to conservation values there or do we use such a designation to cave to pressure from folks who want to get in there and exploit the resources at the expense of the habitat?”

The additional announcement of the Laurentian Channel being designated as Canada’s newest MPA is also commendable, Laughren said.

“Canada has increased its protected coasts and oceans from less than one per cent in 2015 to more than eight per cent today,” Laughren said. “This is tremendous progress in four years and sets a strong foundation for the continued work to protect habitat needed to ensure healthy oceans.”

Categories: Environment, Politics
Tags: , , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet Netiquette guidelines.

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1.’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3.’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish or in one of the two official languages, English or French. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *