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Coastal and Ocean Management in Canada: Progress or Paralysis?

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Canada's experience with coastal and ocean management, which can be traced back over thirty years, is defined by short periods of intense and promising announcements separated by much longer periods of neglect. The Oceans Action Plan of 2005 promised real action to implement the Oceans Act of 1997, with the use of Large Ocean Management Areas that could provide a uniquely Canadian approach to integrated coastal and ocean management. In 2008, the Coastal Zone Canada conference reviewed the status of Canada's progress toward coastal and ocean management and found it wanting. The 2010 Coastal Zone Canada conference sounded a clarion call for urgent action to address the serious degradation of the world's oceans and coasts, being caused by over-exploitation of resources, pollution, and the impacts of climate change. This article analyzes the highs and lows of Canada's approach to ocean and coastal management, and concludes that despite a comprehensive and innovative federal legislative framework, and after the high hopes of the Oceans Action Plan, the picture has again slipped back to one of relatively little progress toward fulfilling the promise of the Canada Oceans Act.
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Keywords: Canada Oceans Act; Charlottetown Declaration; Coastal Zone Canada conferences; integrated coastal and ocean management

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Geography and Environmental Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, Canada 2: Environment Canada (Atlantic Region), Dartmouth, NS, Canada

Publication date: 2011-01-01

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