Ottawa is considering dozens more marine protected areas in Maritime waters, according to maps and other data shared by the federal government with stakeholders.CBC News has received stakeholder planning maps based on information supplied by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans as part of its consultations.
The maps show 24 proposed marine protected areas (MPA) on the Scotian Shelf, including the entire Bras d’Or Lakes in Cape Breton and dozens more in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.Ottawa looking at 3 new marine conservation areas off Nova Scotia coast
That would represent a big increase on the Scotian Shelf, where two MPAs have been enshrined in law and three more have been declared areas of interest.
Canada is trying to set aside 10 per cent of ocean and coastal waters by 2020.DFO has not consulted us on these,’ says ministerNova Scotia Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell says the sites on the map are the same as those presented to the province by DFO.
He says they show about 25 per cent of the waters around Nova Scotia under potential marine protection.Quite frankly, DFO has not consulted us on these. We had no part in that, the selection of those sites or those potential sites,” Colwell told CBC News.
He said the scientific information justifying the site selection hasn’t been presented to the province, either.If we would have seen it, maybe we would accept it,” said Colwell.Political issue.
The size and number of areas under some form of federal marine protection has become a political issue in Atlantic Canada, with the premiers of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador expressing concerns about the potential impact on fishing and offshore energy development.The fishing industry is also concerned.
A lot of those areas completely overlap with very productive fishing areas going back to the ’70s, ’80s and to today,” says Kris Vascotto, executive director of the Groundfish Enterprise Allocation Council, which represents larger harvesting and processing companies.Those interests have to be respected in the creation of marine protected areas,” he says.
The maps sent to the CBC reveal areas under consideration that have not been made public.Premier wants Ottawa to permit drilling in restricted marine areas
The maps were created by the Mi’kmaq consultation team by overlaying data from DFO to produce what is known as a network map. It’s a collection of areas currently under protection, declared an area of interest or proposed as a marine protected area.
A photo was taken at a meeting this week and sent to the CBC, not by First Nations. DFO ‘on the verge’ of releasing its mapThe maps are not produced by DFO, but they would come from sessions where we shared information,” says Jeff MacDonald, DFO’s director general of ocean management.
He said the department is “on the verge” of releasing its network map and would not discuss what is in the map obtained by CBC.When we are ready to release the map, you will be able to make that comparison,” he said.