Canada launches 2016 Arctic Survey in support of continental shelf submission

News Release

July 21, 2016 - Dartmouth, Nova Scotia - Global Affairs Canada

On behalf of the Honourable Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Honourable Jim Carr, Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, today announced the launch of Canada’s 2016 Arctic expedition to collect important scientific information to support Canada’s submission on the extended continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean. This year’s survey is a collaborative effort with Sweden, and Danish scientists will also participate in the research.

The Canadian icebreaker CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent will leave Dartmouth on July 22, 2016, for Tromsø, Norway, where it will take on board personnel from Natural Resources Canada’s Geological Survey of Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Canadian Hydrographic Service and Global Affairs Canada before embarking on a six-week expedition in the Arctic Ocean.

On the voyage between Canada and Norway, the Canadian Hydrographic Service will undertake a seabed-mapping expedition under the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance. This will be the fifth such expedition, which involves Canada, the European Union and the United States.

After the Canada-Sweden expedition ends, Canadian researchers aboard the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent will go on to collect data in the Canada Basin, in the western Arctic Ocean, as part of a collaboration with colleagues from the United States.


“Securing international recognition of the outer limits of Canada’s continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean is a Canadian priority. Our collaboration with Sweden, Denmark and the United States is a prime example of positive cooperation in the region.”

- Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“Collaboration with our international partners strengthens Canada’s ability to make decisions based on sound science. With the combined scientific expertise of the Canadian Hydrographic Service and the professional navigation know-how of the Canadian Coast Guard, this scientific survey will increase our knowledge of the seabeds of the Atlantic and Arctic oceans and contribute to Canada’s submission to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.”

- Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“The work of our scientists and researchers on this survey, in collaboration with our Swedish partners, is vital to improving our collective knowledge of the Arctic and supporting the science that enables sound, evidence-based decisions. Our government is proud to support this important research to gather necessary data to help determine the outer limits of Canada’s continental shelf.”

- Jim Carr, Minister of Natural Resources

Quick facts

  • The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea provides that all coastal states have a continental shelf extending 200 nautical miles from coastal baselines or beyond 200 nautical miles if the shelf is a natural prolongation of its land territory.
  • An estimated 85 countries, including Canada, have an extended continental shelf.
  • On December 6, 2013, Canada filed a partial submission with the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in respect of its continental shelf in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • The goal of the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance is to share resources and expertise in order to better understand the Atlantic Ocean and to promote the sustainable management of its resources.

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Patricia Bell
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Office of the Minister
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

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Fisheries and Oceans Canada

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