Elizabeth May calls for Approval of the Strait of Georgia National Marine Conservation Area and a Major Expansion of Marine Sanctuaries

Party leader and MP Elizabeth May called today for the
federal and provincial governments to approve the creation of a Southern
Strait of Georgia National Marine Conservation Area (NMCA) and to
quickly move to fully protect at least 30% of Canada’s marine

the most neglected natural areas on Earth are our marine environments,
for the simple reason that humans live on land and not under water. But
our oceans harbor most life on the planet. The Strait of Georgia in
particular has extremely diverse marine environments harboring
incredible creatures, from the endangered southern resident orcas to
glass sponges in Saanich Inlet to a phenomenal diversity of fish,
invertebrates, birds, and marine mammals throughout the region,” stated
Ms. May. “As the new Member of Parliament representing the region of the
proposed Strait of Georgia National Marine Conservation Area, I’m
hoping that the federal and provincial governments will give approval
for the establishment of this first rate marine sanctuary soon. It would
be a phenomenal marine complement to the Gulf Islands National Park

BC and federal governments signed a Memorandum Of Understanding in 2003
to undertake studies on the scientific and socio-economic feasibility
of creating an NMCA in the waters stretching from the Haro Strait and
Saanich Inlet by Victoria, north to the waters around Gabriola Island
near Nanaimo.

Marine Conservation Areas (NMCAs) administered by Parks Canada and
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) administered by the Department of
Fisheries and Oceans, offer protection to marine ecosystems, ranging
from restrictions on certain practices and harvesting of some species to
fully-protecting all marine life in “no take” areas. Worldwide,
"no-take" MPAs have dramatically increased the populations and size of
commercial and non-commercial species. This includes increasing the net
amount of commercially available fisheries, as protected fish and
invertebrate populations inside MPA's grow and spill over into adjacent
areas where they can be harvested. Unfortunately less than 0.01% of
Canada’s and BC’s marine waters are in fully-protected “no-take” areas.

BC is still blessed with productive and diverse marine environments,
today’s richness pales in comparison to the abundance of life in years
past. At one time the seas teemed with so many salmon, lingcod,
rockfish, invertebrates, birds, whales, and seals that early European
settlers thought the marine wealth to be inexhaustible. An extensive
network of real marine protection can help our oceans approach their
former biological magnificence, brimming with life to sustain all the
citizens of this country,” stated Ms. May

Canada has a goal of representing each of Canada’s 29 natural marine
regions in a system of National Marine Conservation Areas. Currently
only four NMCA’s have been declared, including one in BC – the Gwaii
Haanas (South Moresby) NMCA and Haida Heritage Site announced last year.
NMCA’s prohibit ocean dumping, seabed mining and oil and gas
exploration and development, and can also restrict harvesting of certain
species, including zoning some fully-protected “no-take” areas.

around the world and in Canada have been calling for the protection of
at least 30% of the oceans in fully-protected ‘no-take’ marine
sanctuaries. I fully support this goal and will push hard as Canada’s
first Green MP to see to it that the glacial pace of marine protection
is stepped-up before our oceans are emptied out,” stated Ms. May. “June 8
is Oceans Day and what better way to celebrate that special day than
with the announcement of a new National Marine Conservation Area in the
Strait of Georgia?”


Kieran Green
Director of Communications