In 1998 the Conservation Council of New Brunswick (CCNB), with support from the Fundy North Fishermen’s Association, proposed Musquash Estuary and the surrounding intertidal area as a candidate Marine Protected Area (MPA) under the Oceans Act. In 2006, the Musquash Estuary MPA and Administered Intertidal Area (AIA) were formally designated as a protected area. The estuary’s protected status reflects the cooperative efforts of community and government. Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), on behalf of the Government of Canada, is responsible for managing the MPA and AIA in collaboration with the Musquash Estuary MPA Advisory Committee (MAC). Members of the MAC represent government, non-government organizations, industry, First Nations and community groups that have an interest in the MPA and AIA. Conservation and protection of the ecosystem were the primary goals of managing the estuary. The following conservation objectives were established to achieve these goals:
- Maintaining the productivity of harvested species
- Maintaining the biodiversity of individual species, communities, and populations within the different ecotypes; and
- Safeguarding habitat, including the physical and chemical properties of the ecosystem, by maintaining water and sediment quality.
These objectives were based on the following guiding principles:
- Integrated Management: refers to the planning and management of human activities in a comprehensive manner with consideration for the full range of interests and environmental, social, cultural, economic, and institutional objectives.
- Ecosystem Approach: involves the management of human activities so that ecosystem components, and functions are restored and/or maintained at appropriate temporal and spatial scales.
- Precautionary Approach: An evaluation and decision- making process that errs on the side of caution and is used in the case of significant scientific uncertainty.
- Knowledge-based decision making: Management actions will be based on the best scientific information and traditional ecological knowledge available.
- Collaboration and Stewardship: Management planning must be both inclusive and transparent, and supported, to the greatest extent possible, by all affected organizations and individuals.
- Adaptive planning and management: The design and management of the MPA will be evaluated and adapted as necessary to ensure its effectiveness in meeting the objectives.