June 8, 2020 - As we mark World Oceans Day, I am struck by the strength of Canadians. This pandemic has highlighted that Canadians do not give up – and neither will we. While staying safe, Canadians from coast to coast to coast are continuing to do the important work that our country needs to keep our oceans economy healthy and strong. Together we are here for Canada – we are determined, collaborating, and innovating during COVID-19.
We are determined. We have harvesters, producers and processors who are working hard, under unusual circumstances to bring healthy food to Canadian tables. Our researchers continue to carry out critical services and provide scientific advice to support decisions that help ensure our ecosystems are sustainable for the benefit of all Canadians. The women and men of the Canadian Coast Guard are ensuring ships can continue to move goods and supplies that support communities and the economy, and helping keep all mariners safe. Together we are paving the road for the sustainable use of our oceans that supports economic growth now and generations to come.
We are collaborative. We are working together to ensure the long term economic livelihood of our fisheries during this pandemic, and with targeted supports like the Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund, the Fish Harvester Benefit and the Fish Harvester Grant, the women and men who provide us with healthy fish and seafood can continue to do so safely. It is through constant communication with coastal and Indigenous communities, fish harvesters, aquaculture producers, and seafood processors that we can understand what they need to stay safe and strong.
We are innovative. Together with communities, provincial and territorial partners, industry and Indigenous peoples, the best ideas are brought forward. As we conduct science, help protect endangered species, work to safeguard our oceans and prevent pollution, all while facing a pandemic, we are strengthening our relationships with Canadians whose livelihoods depend on our oceans, and all those who want to ensure its long term sustainability. We are proud to support and leverage the incredible innovations that Canadians have developed through the Multi-Partner Research Initiative, Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk, and Gear Innovation Summit, just to name a few. Even though we can’t do it face to face, we are finding ways to connect and will continue to do so for our future- it is when we work together that we can meet the needs of all Canadians. I invite you to visit our website to learn more about what we have accomplished together.
When times are difficult, let’s take a moment to be grateful for all we have in Canada, and how lucky we are to have three oceans that provide us with incredible beauty, healthy food and meaningful jobs. The Government of Canada’s number one focus right now is supporting Canadians through the immediate impacts of COVID-19. But this does not mean that we can neglect the sustainability of our oceans. We remain committed to our plan to protect 25 per cent of our oceans by 2025, which will help preserve our natural legacy for generations.
This year’s theme for World Oceans Day is innovation. I am proud, as the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, to celebrate all the incredible, innovative work that our fish harvesters, industry, Indigenous peoples, researchers, communities, and public servants do every day. I celebrate that even though we are apart, we continue to work together for a stronger more sustainable Canada.
The Honourable Bernadette Jordan
Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard