Canada is making rapid progress in meeting its pledge to protect at least 10 per cent of its marine and coastal areas by 2020. But conservation advocates question the federal government’s math.
Two months before the end of the year, the Government of Canada announced it had hit an ambitious environmental target for 2017.
“Five percent of Canadian oceans are now protected!” the Department of Fisheries and Oceans tweeted in October, along with a picture of a pristine coast. On Thursday, DFO boosted that total even higher, announcing it had achieved 7.75 per cent.
Protecting that much ocean would be an incredible leap. At the end of 2016, Canada had set aside less than one per cent. Carving out conservation areas is difficult and slow, yet Ottawa managed to bump its total by nearly seven per cent in just a year.
Or did it? Here’s how Ottawa did the math.
Canada has pledged to protect at least 10 per cent of its marine and coastal areas by 2020 and 17 per cent of its land. This goal is known as an “Aichi Target,” part of Canada’s commitment to a major international treaty known as the Convention on Biological Diversity.