Government of Canada releases What We Heard Report: Engaging on Canada’s Blue Economy Strategy
March 11, 2022 - Ottawa, Ontario
There has never been a clearer opportunity for Canada to secure our blue future. As a nation of three oceans and nearly 250,000 kilometres of coastline and existing strengths in innovation, we have a unique competitive edge. One in five Canadians live in coastal communities and today’s ocean industries generate over $30 billion a year. The potential of a blue economy is great. So the challenge of unlocking the promise and possibilities of our ocean resources in ways that are economically prosperous, requires environmentally sustainable, socially responsible and more inclusive solutions.
From February to June 2021, Fisheries and Oceans engaged with Canadians from coast to coast to coast. We heard from the people who make their living from the ocean — from Indigenous and non-Indigenous fish harvesters alike, as well as diverse ocean industries, scientists and many more. Canadians were eager to share their ideas, concerns, and solutions to grow a stronger, more sustainable blue economy.
Today the Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard released the ‘What We Heard’ report summarizing the input received.
In recent years, Canada has made historic investments in innovation, sustainability, and ocean protection, which has resulted in cleaner, more resilient coastlines and coastal communities, better preparedness for environmental challenges, stronger partnerships with Indigenous communities, and more opportunities for jobs and economic growth. A recurring theme is our oceans and marine resources must be healthy to support a prosperous blue economy, while continuing to support industries that have traditionally relied on the ocean and its resources. To achieve this objective, we must value the natural environment by taking action to protect, conserve, restore and rebuild our marine and coastal resources. If we maintain healthy oceans, we can ensure sustainable growth.
The input reflected will help guide the development of a Blue Economy Strategy that ensures Canada and its industry, communities and people are positioned to succeed in the fast-growing global ocean sectors of the blue economy while advancing reconciliation, conservation and climate objectives.
The Government of Canada looks forward to releasing a Blue Economy Strategy in due course.
“Canada’s oceans are a tremendous economic resource. They have the potential to be part of climate solutions, and they can continue to be a source of sustainable economic opportunity, provided we recognize protecting it’s ecosystems and growing the ocean economy. I invite Canadians to read this What We Heard report, and I thank all those who contributed to it. This report helps lay a foundation to build on the tremendous success of Canada’s fisheries and oceans, while protecting them for future generations.”
The Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
The World Bank defines the blue economy as the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, and ocean ecosystem health.
From February to June 2021, we asked Canadians from coast to coast to coast about what Canada’s Blue Economy Strategy could look like. DFO spoke with provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous peoples, historically underrepresented groups in ocean sectors, environmental groups, industry and other stakeholders, as well as the general public.
The engagement period was open for 158 days, closing on June 15, 2021. During that time, 40 roundtables were held in addition to targeted sector and regional engagement involving more than 1,600 participants.
DFO will continue working with federal partners and others to advance this whole-of-government federal initiative.
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
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