Polling by WWF shows that a really high proportion of the public supports this strong protection. I think the numbers are in the 80% or 90%. The poll was from last year.
In the legislative history of this act, when Minister Tobin, Captain Canada, brought it in, he spoke about minimum standards. Seventeen years ago, a B.C. scientist working for DFO talked about minimum standards that were going to be in the B.C.-Canada agreements. This has been going on a long time. We need to get it in the law.
In terms of certainty for industry, this is a great way to do it; put a prohibition right in there, the same as we have in another marine conservation law. Just make it clear that in that small part of the sea that we're calling protected, you can't do certain things. I think that's the best way to get certainty.
I understand quite well that the purpose of this law is to create this new interim marine protected area ministerial order. That's because we've had this law for 20 years, and we haven't done a very good job of implementing it. We've heard repeatedly.... We've heard from the Royal Society of Canada expert panel on sustaining Canada's marine biodiversity from 2012, that this was a real problem. We've heard in two commissioner of the environment and sustainable development reports that this is a big problem.
We know it's a problem. That's why the government promised to change it. The interim MPA power in the new bill is great, but we're just saying, why not take one step further and create this certainty that we want, and stop this really long process of negotiation over each particular area? People have been consulted. They're aware of which areas are really productive and viable, which can provide benefits to fishing and provide benefits to coastal communities in the long term.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in Australia provides $6 billion of economic benefits each year to Australia.