Ecosystem Management

There is a growing understanding among Canadians of the importance of protecting and benefiting from our marine and freshwater environments and resources. The Government of Canada is using a modern and coordinated approach to manage the impact of human activities on Canada’s oceans in a sustainable manner, creating a balance between protecting marine ecosystems and maintaining a prosperous economy.

Fishing net over the water at sunset
Greater shearwater flying over water

The Maritimes Region provides a lead role in fulfilling the Department mandate in the management and stewardship of Canada's Oceans (Oceans Act), Aquatic Species at Risk (Species at Risk Act), and fish habitat (Fisheries Act) through its Ecosystem Management Branch.

The Maritimes Region Fisheries Protection Program is responsible for protecting and conserving marine, intertidal and freshwater fisheries resources in Nova Scotia. General information on DFO's Fisheries Protection Program is found in "Projects near water".

Four loons floating in an estuary
Two bottlenose whales swimming in the ocean
Soft coral

The Habitat Management Program's name was changed to the Fisheries Protection Program following changes to the federal Fisheries Act.

Under the Oceans Act, the Oceans and Coastal Management Division leads integrated oceans and coastal management initiatives in the Maritimes Region, including the designation and management of marine protected areas, marine protected area network planning, the coordination of marine planning activities with other government departments and stakeholders, and the provision of information, tools, and advice for marine spatial planning and decision making.

The Species at Risk Management Division provides overall coordination and leadership for the administration of the Species at Risk Act to undertake activities in the following areas: protection of species at risk (including assessment and listing); recovery of species at risk (including recovery planning and implementation); evaluation (including monitoring and evaluation); and regulatory compliance (i.e. permitting).

Ecosystem Management Branch employees realize the importance of public education and stewardship for the effective management of our aquatic resources. A variety of public education activities provide relevant information on freshwater and marine ecosystems. These activities range from learning about opportunities in the ocean field to understanding the importance of healthy and sustainable oceans and coastal communities.

Along with the work in Ecosystem Management, the oceans mandate is reflected in all DFO operations in the Region, including fisheries management, science, environmental protection, and marine safety and navigation.