If we hope to keep benefiting from the ocean and its resources then we need to come up with ways to pay for the cost of establishing and managing MPAs over the long term.
Canada falls short
In 2013 the Green Budget coalition estimated that the Government of Canada needed to invest a minimum of $35 million every year for three years in order to establish MPAs in five percent of Canada’s oceans. In June 2014 the government countered with a one-time investment of $37m to establish MPAs on all three coasts. Clearly there is a significant gap between the funds the federal government is willing to invest in MPAs and what is required to keep our oceans healthy and coastal communities prosperous.
Financing options for MPAsWithout government funding for MPAs, where will the money come from to support and maintain health oceans? Other countries have experimented with innovative financing mechanisms in support of marine protected areas and with enormous potential benefits at stake, Canada should be open to evaluating alternate financing models too.
Living Oceans evaluated a handful of supplementary or alternate financing options. These alternate models include:
• public private partnerships
• private donations
• user fees
• payments for ecosystem services
• community-based management
• selling offsets
All of these alternate funding strategies have potential to contribute to the protection of Canada’s oceans—but many of them have significant costs too. All of them require a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis before being proposed or adopted as financing tools for specific MPAs in Canada.
To find out more about the MPA funding options please download our new report: Sustainable Financing Options for a Marine Protected Area Network in British Columbia.