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Wild Animal Law of Canada


Protected Natural Areas Act (NB)

(current to 01 June 2016)
Note Re Application of the Protected Natural Areas Act ('PNAA')

This law bears on the wildlife issues of:
The full current text of this legislation (including regulations) may be viewed at the New Brunswick statute website.

Table of Contents
1. Overview
2. Protections
(a) Class I Prohibitions
(b) Class II Prohibitions
(c) Exceptions to Class I and Class II Prohibitions
(d) Class II Allowed Activities
3. Other Enforcement

1. Overview

New Brunswick's Protected Natural Areas Act (PNAA) allows the provincial Cabinet intended to establish natural protected areas [PNAA 5] whose purposes - in addition to recreational, educational and scientific use - are to "protect the biological diversity of fauna and flora within the Province and the relationship between such fauna and flora and the environment by protecting, conserving and managing lands that" [PNAA 3]:
  • are representative of ecosystems or natural landscapes within the Province,

  • contain unique or unusual assemblages of fauna or flora,

  • contain, in its natural habitat, native fauna or flora that is rare or endangered,

  • contain ecologically sensitive fauna, flora or habitats,

  • contain unique or rare examples of botanical, zoological, pedological or geological phenomena, or

  • contain ecosystems that have been altered by humans and that offer opportunities for the study of the recovery of the ecosystems from such alteration.
Protected natural areas may be established on either Crown land or, with consent of the owner, private lands [PNAA 5,10]. They fall into two categories: Class I and Class II.

2. Protections

(a) Class I Prohibitions

Protections are higher in Class I protected natural areas and include [PNAA 11]:
  • a prohibition on entry, except "for the purpose of pursuing and removing wounded fauna" [G Reg 5A];

  • a prohibition on conducting any activity.
(b) Class II Prohibitions

Within Class II protected natural areas, the following activities are prohibited [PNAA 12]:
  • forestry, agriculture, aquaculture, mineral exploration or mining, drilling, quarrying and other natural resource exploitation;

  • industrial and commercial;

  • camping;

  • keeping a horse, donkey, mule or llama, and

  • use of vehicle other than watercraft.
Additionally, the following activities are prohibited unless "necessarily incidental" to activities permitted in Class II protected natural areas as listed above:
  • introducing or removing any fauna or flora;

  • disturbing, harassing, injuring or killing any fauna or disturbing, damaging or destroying any flora;

  • introducing a substance or thing that may injure or kill any fauna or disturb, damage or destroy any flora; and

  • any other activity that may disturb, alter, damage or destroy an ecosystem.
(c) Exceptions to Class I and Class II Prohibitions

With exceptions for [PNAA 13,14,15]:
  • emergency services, public safety, public health, protection of private lands and property, protection of the environment and law enforcement;

  • Minister-approved activities intended to protect, conserve, manage and restore the fauna, flora and environment within a protected natural area;

  • activities specifically authorized under a Minister-issued permit for scientific, educational, species-recovery and reintroduction (including threatened and endangered species as defined in the Species at Risk Act: see that module), eco-system protection and restoration purposes.
(d) Class II Allowed Activities

The following activities are allowed in Class II protected natural areas [G Regs 6]:
  • guiding and outfitting;
  • ecotourism;
  • hunting (including baiting of bears), trapping and snaring;
  • possession and use of domestic animals;
  • gathering fiddleheads, nuts, berries or mushrooms, if gathering for non-commercial food purposes;
  • camping; and
  • recreational fishing.

3. Other Enforcement

The PNAA also authorizes allows for the appointment of peace officers (conservation officers) for enforcement purposes, including entry into private land without warrant, search and seizure powers [PNAA 24.1,25,27]. It also includes a broad offence provision for prosecution of PNAA violations [PNAA 30].

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Last modified: 16-11-20
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