On World Oceans Day 2022 the Government of Canada works to conserve Canada’s oceans
June 8, 2022
Ottawa, Ontario - Canadian waters are home to diverse marine ecosystems, unique features, and important species that contribute not only to the health of our oceans, but to our cultural identity. With the impacts of climate change evident around the world, the work to prevent biodiversity loss and protect marine species and habitats has become urgent. Understanding how ocean conditions and aquatic life are being affected by climate change and human activity leads to more sustainable solutions to conserve Canadian’s waters, while ensuring fishing opportunities.
On this World Oceans Day, the Honourable Joyce Murray, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, highlighted several actions the Government of Canada is taking to protect and conserve oceans. She announced $2.1 million to fund eight ocean science projects across the country. These projects have been endorsed by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), as United Nations Oceans Decade Projects which means that the knowledge and information collected will be shared with the international community, thus contributing to the global science effort.
Also, Minister Murray unveiled the establishment of the Eastern Canyons Marine Refuge off the coast of Nova Scotia, bringing Canada one step closer to reaching our goal to conserve 25 per cent of our oceans by 2025, and 30 per cent by 2030. Eastern Canyons was identified in 2018 as a proposed Marine Refuge to help protect sensitive species and habitats, including cold-water corals and a large deep-sea frontier area. Through engagement with the Province of Nova Scotia, Indigenous organizations and local First Nations communities, the fishing industry, and environmental non-government organizations, the government is creating a Marine Refuge that will minimize impacts on fisheries while achieving conservation goals for the area. All commercial bottom-contact fisheries will now be prohibited from operating in the Marine Refuge, with the exception of a specific management zone for longline gear, which represents 0.2% of the surface area of the refuge and will require full At-Sea Observer coverage in order to operate within it.
Canada is also looking beyond its marine boundaries and advocating for ocean conservation on the international stage. Earlier this week, the Prime Minister announced Canada will co-sponsor the America for the Protection of the Ocean Declaration, a Chilean initiative for countries to work together to protect the Pacific Ocean. In February 2023, the Government of Canada, alongside Host First Nations— Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh – will welcome the world to Vancouver for the Fifth International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC5). The Congress will bring together marine conservation experts to exchange knowledge, experience and best practices to strengthen the conservation of marine biodiversity and to protect the natural and cultural heritage of the global ocean. Early-bird registration for IMPAC5 is now open.
World Oceans Day is a time to celebrate the beauty of oceans and reflect on their importance – their richness and diversity, and how much they contribute to the Canadian way of life. It is also a time to recognize our collective role in protecting the species and ecosystems home to our waters now and for future generations.
“Canadians are deeply connected to our oceans. We continue to make great strides and take steps in the right direction to protect Canada’s oceans, but if we want a healthy future for our beloved oceans, I know we still have work to do. I look forward to advancing innovative approaches to marine protection, like the Northern Shelf Bioregion, the Pacific Offshore Area of Interest and others. Our government is committed to working together with Indigenous and local communities and with all levels of government to conserve shared waters and protect the livelihoods of coastal communities for future generations.”
The Honourable Joyce Murray, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
On November 27, 2018, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard announced Canada’s support for the Ocean Decade, with an investment of up to $9.5 million and a commitment to working with domestic and international partners to advance ocean science, develop and share knowledge, build infrastructure, and foster relationships.
The IOC also endorsed a ninth project, announced last year through the Ghost Gear Fund. These nine projects are led by participants and researchers representing First Nations, academia, industry, and non-governmental organizations.
To date, and with the establishment of Eastern Canyons Marine Refuge, Canada has protected approximately 842,821 square kilometres of our marine and coastal areas – over 14.6 percent of our oceans.
IMPAC5 will take place from February 3-9, 2023 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Congress will be a hybrid event offering both in-person and virtual programming. The Congress is an opportunity to bring together different Nations and cultures to work collaboratively towards one common goal—protecting the world ocean. IMPAC5 will showcase Canada’s global leadership in marine conservation and highlight the important role of Indigenous knowledge and leadership in managing marine protected areas in Canada and around the world.
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
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