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New online map shows network of protection for North America's marine ecosystems
Date:6/10/2010

This press release is available in French and Spanish.

Montreal, 10 June 2010North America's nearly 2,000 marine protected areas represent an unprecedented effort to protect the continent's fragile marine environments and are found throughout the marine ecoregions that encircle our continent.

The latest map from the North American Environmental Atlascoordinated by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC)for the first time brings together information about all types of marine protected areas in Canada, Mexico and the United States, offering details about protection status and those responsible to manage the sites.

A functional network of marine protected areas is crucial for maintaining ecological integrity and protecting migratory species and transboundary habitats. They are also important to help ecosystems recover from or adapt to a wide variety of threats, including pollution from oil spills, overexploitation and rapidly changing environmental conditions.

"North Americans are particularly reliant upon oceans. At the same time, human economic activity is driving changes profoundly affecting the integrity and balance of our marine ecosystems, with serious habitat destruction, wildlife impacts and loss of biodiversity. Greater knowledge and collaboration are essential elements in safeguarding these priceless ecosystems," said Evan Lloyd, CEC Executive Director.

Different levels of protection in North America's marine ecoregions

In meeting the extraordinary challenge of protecting North America's rich and fragile marine ecosystems, the map shows the important strides Canada, Mexico and the United States have made in establishing protected areas. However,
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Contact: Eduardo Viadas
eviadas@cec.org
514-350-4331
Commission for Environmental Cooperation
Source:Eurekalert

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