This past weekend, the Government of Canada announced new marine refuges off the coast of British Columbia and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in Quebec. This brings the total protection of Canada’s oceans to more than five per cent.
For years, Canada’s oceans were left largely unprotected: as of earlier this year, this represented less than two per cent. With the government now meeting its commitment to protecting five per cent of Canada’s oceans by 2017, we are on the right path to meeting an important international commitment of protecting 10 per cent by 2020.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)’s recent investments in science and partnerships, including through expeditions and ocean exploration, are vital to providing the evidence needed to select candidate areas for enhanced management. Oceana Canada and DFO partnered this past August to explore the Gulf of St Lawrence.
Together, we used a state-of-the-art remotely operated vehicle to visually explore and study the seafloor in never-before-seen sensitive marine areas. The expedition provided evidence of the incredible diversity of marine life and habitats in these areas.
By managing the impact of human activity in ocean ecosystems that play essential roles in the lives of marine animals – providing food, protection from predators and places to reproduce – we can allow fish populations and other marine life to flourish. Healthy, abundant oceans are essential for the planet and for everyone who depends on them as a source of food, livelihood, recreation and inspiration.
Oceana Canada will continue to conduct expeditions and use the research gathered to advocate for habitat protection, the future of the oceans depend on it.