NB’s Ocean on the World Stage
By Danielle Hak
As we start a new year, many people take the time to set intentions for the upcoming 12 months. At CPAWS NB one of our goals every year is to see more natural areas across the province protected and managed so wildlife and habitats can thrive. This year is no different and we are starting 2023 with marine and coastal habitats front of mind.
In February, CPAWS NB staff will be traveling to Vancouver BC, along with environmental groups from across Canada and around the world, to participate in the Fifth International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC 5).
What is IMPAC 5?
IMPAC 5 (or the Fifth International Marine Protected Areas Congress) will bring together the world’s leading professionals on ocean protection, including ocean conservation professionals, Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Holders, young professionals, policy experts, and international government leaders.
While gathered in Vancouver, participants will share knowledge and discuss opportunities to ensure more ocean wildlife and habitats are protected, as well as develop actions to address marine biodiversity loss and the climate crisis.
The Congress will be hosted by the Government of Canada, Province of British Columbia and host First Nations—xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), in partnership with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS).
Why is IMPAC 5 important?
The decisions made at this congress will have far reaching impacts for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) across the country and world.
Strong protection for marine ecosystems has far reaching benefits for:
- Nature – by protecting habitats that are crucial for marine wildlife;
- Communities – by protecting habitats, such as saltmarshes and wetlands, that help reduce the impacts of climate change;
- Local economies and tourism – by safeguarding natural areas, and protecting wildlife and habitats that tourism needs to thrive;
- Fishing – by protecting the health of commercially important species and ensuring their populations can be restored and replenished;
- Culture – by ensuring that culturally significant areas and species are protected.
The congress will be an important step in advancing ocean protection, as participants will create a path forward to protect 30% of the ocean by 2030, a target recently agreed upon at Nature COP.
Why is marine protection important for New Brunswick?
With 5,500 km of coastline, the ocean is a central piece of New Brunswick’s identity.
Coastal and ocean areas in the province:
- Provide habitat and food for 22 species at risk and 2 million migratory shore birds;
- Support 18,000 jobs in tourism, recreation, fishing and seafood processing;
- Generated $1,740 million in seafood exports in 2019 and $125 million from the Bay of Fundy tourism industry.
Marine Protection helps ensure the health of wildlife that make their homes in the Bay of Fundy and Gulf of St. Lawrence. It is also important for protecting coastal communities against climate change and reducing climate-related impacts, benefiting all New Brunswickers.
What can you do?
Check out our website to learn more about MPAs – https://cpawsnb.org/campaigns/marine-protected-areas/.
Use the CPAWS NB ACTION TOOLKIT to learn about how you can advocate for more marine protection in New Brunswick and #SpeakUpForNature.
Celebrate the ocean and coast with CPAWS NB! Share your stories or memories on social media, tagging @CPAWSNB, @IMPAC5 and #CelebratingOurCoast to have your voice heard about why the ocean is important to you!