Government of Canada making significant progress and investments to protect Canada’s oceans
Ottawa – With three oceans surrounding us and the longest coastlines in the world, Canadians are deeply connected to our oceans. Healthy oceans mean healthy coastal communities – they feed our families and support vital industries. Canada is committed to protecting our oceans, and the ecosystems and marine life they sustain.
Canada has made significant progress in marine conservation in the last six years, working in partnership with coastal communities and provincial, territorial, and Indigenous governments. In 2015, the Government of Canada announced a target to protect ten per cent of our oceans by 2020. That target was met and surpassed in 2019. Canada has protected approximately 793,906 square kilometres – nearly 14 per cent – of our marine and coastal areas.
Today, the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, announced a $976.8M investment through Budget 2021 to continue our marine conservation efforts and reach our goal of protecting 25 per cent of Canada’s oceans by 2025, and working toward 30 per cent by 2030.
To help ensure that our existing MPAs are effectively achieving their conservation objectives, today Minister Jordan also launched a report entitled The Current – Managing Oceans Act MPAs Now, For the Future. The first in a series to be published every five years, it provides an update to Canadians about the progress and benefits of effectively managing Oceans Act MPAs in Canada, and will help inform future decisions and reporting on marine protection through the successes, challenges and lessons learned from Oceans Act MPAs established to date.
Achieving effective protections for our marine environments will require substantial efforts in years to come, which will continue to be advanced through extensive consultations, discussions and negotiations to identify new areas, establish protections and ensure areas are effectively managed and monitored. Moving forward, we’ll continue to rely on a collaborative approach with provincial, territorial, and Indigenous governments, as well as meaningful engagement with marine industry stakeholders and coastal communities, to ensure that our approach is both effective and sustainable.
Canada’s oceans are home to a rich diversity of species, habitats, and ecosystems, such as deep sea hydrothermal vents, cold-water corals, essential habitats for endangered species such as whales and other cetaceans, fish stocks that support productive and sustainable fisheries —the list goes on. Safeguarding these areas not only protects biodiversity and natural ecosystems below the surface, but also helps to support Canadian livelihoods in coastal communities, providing economic benefits for Canadians.