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ocean and coast management, marine pollution, climate change


After reviewing the tricky nature of the precautionary principle/approach, such as confusion over terminology and the spectrum of precautionary measures available, the article through a four-part format describes Canadian initiatives and efforts to implement the precautionary principle/ approach in ocean and coastal management. First, Canada's general steps to adopt the precautionary principle are discussed including caselaw developments and the limited embracing of precaution in environmental impact assessment review and strategic planning processes. Second, the paper reviews Canada's efforts to address marine pollution-ocean dumping, land-based, vessel-source and seabed activities- in light of precaution. Third, Canadian experiences with implementing precaution in the field of living marine resource management, including fisheries, aquaculture and biodiversity protection, are summarized. Fourth, Canada's rather non-precautionary responses to the threats of climate change are highlighted. Canada's overall approach to the precautionary principle/approach is characterized in two images-wading and wandering. Canada has taken rather timid steps to implement the precautionary principle and, while strongly embracing precaution in the area of ocean dumping, has largely wandered towards general and weak versions.

Publication Abbreviation

Ottawa L Rev