On 7 March, 2003, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Robert G. Thibault, announced the establishment of Canada's first Marine Protected Area (MPA). The new MPA is off Vancouver Island in British Columbia. The area, known as the Endeavour Hydrothermal Vents, is home to 12 species of marine life that do not exist anywhere else in the world, and 60 species unique to the Juan de Fuca Ridge system. Establishing MPAs is a key activity of Canada's Oceans Strategy, which was released last year. This designation puts in place enforceable regulations to protect the area and its marine organisms, while encouraging continued scientific study and research of the ecosystem. There are currently 13 areas being considered for designation as Marine Protected Areas on Canada's three coasts. For more information see: To see a copy of Canada's Oceans Strategy go to: