February 13, 2020
Celebrating five years of protecting oceans and marine life
BY: Sarah Cameron
It’s Oceana Canada’s fifth birthday! To mark the occasion, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the state of Canada’s oceans and celebrate some major achievements, made possible thanks to the support of passionate ocean protectors like you.
We’ve all witnessed a radical shift in how people feel about protecting our planet and our oceans. The federal government declared a climate emergency. Environmental stories are making headlines every day. People around the world want to see the plastic crisis in our oceans averted, and are taking to the streets to demand climate action. And it doesn’t stop there.
Here are just a few of the many victories you’ve helped make possible in the last five years:
Your support helped pass a modernized Fisheries Act. For the first time in Canada’s history, the Act will make it illegal to allow overfished populations to perish. This is great news, because examples from other countries have shown that when rebuilding becomes law, fish come back, often in as little as 10 years. This is a critical turning point for coastal communities, Canada’s seafood industry, our oceans and our planet.
Until last year, Canada was the largest importer of shark fins outside of Asia. More than 300,000 of you decided that had to change and signed our petition demanding action from the government, and thousands more emailed or called your Member of Parliament directly. This public outcry resulted in a full shark fin ban being incorporated into Canada’s new Fisheries Act, which passed into law on June 18, 2019.
In 2015, less than one per cent of Canada’s oceans were protected. Today, we’re well over 10 per cent. Not only has Canada drastically increased the amount of ocean protected but it has also adopted new standards that ban industrial activities, such as oil and gas, in new marine protected areas. We called on the government to implement strong protection measures and meet international best practices. With your support, the new standards will protect fragile habitats that provide nursery, spawning and feeding areas for marine life.
As we celebrate Oceana Canada’s five-year anniversary, look how far we’ve all come. None of this work is possible without your generosity, and we refuse to stop here. Despite this progress, our oceans are facing growing threats and greater uncertainty: overfishing, climate change, habitat destruction and pollution are putting oceans and marine life at risk.
But together, we’re fighting to restore and protect Canada’s oceans. An essential part of our fight is advocating for the government to do the right thing for ocean conservation.
That requires having the independence to speak and act with integrity and demonstrate that our action is supported by thousands of Canadians. Your support is the guarantee of that independence.
Please consider donating today. With your continued support, Oceana Canada will keep pushing for what has to be done today to ensure an abundant and healthy ocean for the future. We can’t wait to see what another five years brings us.