The health of our oceans matters to all of us. The Government of Canada is dedicated to protecting our oceans and waterways and to keeping them clean, secure and productive for the benefit of all Canadians, now and into the future. We also recognize that scientific research is fundamental to evidence-based decision-making when planning and carrying out marine conservation efforts.
With the longest coastline in the world, Canada’s coastal communities rely on the fish and seafood industry as an integral contributor to local and regional economies. In Canada about 350, 000 jobs rely on sustainable fisheries.
The well-being of the endangered North Atlantic right whale population is of great concern to Canadians and its protection is a priority for the Government of Canada. We continue our commitment to taking an evidence-based approach to protect these endangered whales while continuing to promote sustainable opportunities for economic growth.
Canada’s Arctic coasts are home to an abundant marine ecosystem that supports the livelihood and culture of Inuit communities living in the North. We know that this environment is changing due to the impacts of climate change, biodiversity loss and persistent chemicals that are present in the North. Protecting this bounty for future generations requires science, data and Inuit knowledge. More data is needed so that we can track environmental changes as they happen over time.
There is no relationship more important to the Government of Canada than the one with Indigenous peoples. We are committed to advancing a renewed relationship with Indigenous communities based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation, and partnership. Canada is working to modernize and strengthen nation-to-nation, government-to-government structures, and through this, to support the First Nations-led development of new economic opportunities, including in the fisheries.
Communities across Canada are supported by small craft harbours that provide the commercial fishing industry with safe and accessible facilities. With approximately 45,000 Canadians employed in this sector, the Government of Canada is making investments to renew its network of small craft harbours and work with municipalities and other stakeholders where investments and divestitures can support local communities.
Today, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, and Minister of Democratic Institutions and Member of Parliament for Burlington, Karina Gould visited the Canada Centre for Inland Waters and the CCGS Limnos. During the visit, they received updates on a number of DFO science and operational programs conducted at these world class research labs and met many dedicated research scientists working to protect the Great Lakes.
The Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson visited this morning the marine science institute (Institut des sciences de la mer)(ISMER) in Rimouski. ISMER Director Ariane Plourde took the opportunity to present their main research projects and to discuss the productive collaborative arrangements between Fisheries and Oceans Canada scientists and ISMER scientists, particularly in hydroacoustics, physical oceanography, coastal ecology, fisheries ecology and resource management. In June 2018, the Department and the University of Quebec in Rimouski (UQAR) signed a scientific collaborative arrangement that promotes the implementation of joint projects and the sharing of expertise between Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Maurice Lamontagne Institute and the ISMER. The Minister’s visit ended with a tour, together with students, of Professor Dominique Robert’s laboratory, where he is conducting his work on cod.