Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

October 12, 2010 15:24 ET

Government of Canada Collaborates with the Arctic Ocean Coastal States to Improve Charting in the North

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 12, 2010) - The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, announced today that the five Arctic coastal states: Canada, Denmark, Norway, the Russian Federation and the United States, under the leadership of Canada, have established the Arctic Regional Hydrographic Commission.

"The establishment of the Arctic Regional Hydrographic Commission is an important step in building synergy among the Arctic Ocean Coastal states and will help to improve safety of life at sea," said Minister Shea. "The establishment of this Commission will contribute to protecting the ecosystem and promote social and economic development in the North."

The Commission will promote technical cooperation in science, technology and chart making to establish and promote common standards and help to define the needs for new hydrographic products and services including surveys.

Canada boasts 250,000 km of coastline, the longest of any country in the world, 60% of which is in the Arctic. In the North there is no extensive road network, and safe transportation of goods and people to and from communities is least expensive by sea and in many cases it is the only possible option. Ocean transport is wholly dependent on accurate and up-to-date navigational charts. For the Arctic, these charts are the "road map."

"Our government is committed to improving navigational charts in the Arctic. The value of the creation of an Arctic Regional Hydrographic Commission is aimed at encouraging innovation and the development of new technologies that will be necessary for success in Arctic charting," said the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs. "Our number one Arctic foreign policy priority remains to exercise our sovereignty. In addition to improving Arctic charting, we have made further investments in our North through monitoring, frequent military exercises and significant investments such as a new generation of satellites."

Increases in ice-free waters over longer periods of time coupled with increasing cargo demands and emerging resource development and eco-tourism, have resulted in a doubling of vessel traffic in the North since 2005 with further increases in marine traffic foreseen.

Under the Oceans Act, the Canadian Hydrographic Service is responsible for conducting hydrographic surveys, producing and distributing official government navigation charts in paper and electronic forms, and a wide range of supporting nautical publications to help guide mariners safely.

For more information on Nautical Charts and Services please visit:

Contact Information

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa
    Nathalie Trepanier
    Media Relations
    Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa
    Office of the Minister
    Nancy Bishay, Director of Communications