Earlier this year the Federal Government introduced Bill C-55, An Act to Amend the Oceans Act and the Canadian Petroleum Resources Act. The proposed amendments include environmental protection provisions to allow the government to more quickly designate an area as a marine protected area. The amendments also significantly increase the level of fines, strengthen the enforcement provisions of the Act, and add offences specifically relating to ships.
The existing Oceans Act has two major components:
Examples of marine protected areas off Canada’s Pacific coast are the Bowie Seamount Marine Protected Area, 180 kilometres west of Haida Gwaii, an underwater volcano which supports an ecologically rich marine area; the Endeavour Hydrothermal Vents, 250 kilometres west of Vancouver Island, which is also an area of rich marine biodiversity; and the very recently designated Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound Glass Sponge Reefs Marine Protected Areas.
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