Government of Canada

Government of Canada

May 27, 2005 09:53 ET

Ministers Announce $28 Million Investment for Phase I of Canada's Oceans Action Plan

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(CCNMatthews - May 27, 2005) - Geoff Regan, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Jean-C. Lapierre, Minister of Transport, Stephane Dion, Minister of the Environment and John Efford, Minister of Natural Resources Canada, today announced a $28 million investment in Phase I of Canada's Oceans Action Plan (OAP).

The OAP will further strengthen the federal government's ability to protect Canada's fragile marine ecosystems while promoting opportunities for sustainable development for the benefit of Canadians and our coastal communities. This investment is a first step toward realizing the commitments made by the Government of Canada in both the 2004 Speech from the Throne and the 2005 Budget Plan. Phase I will be implemented over the next two years and is part of the government's longer term oceans agenda.

The OAP advances Canada's international leadership and recognizes the need to work together domestically and globally to truly make a difference on oceans issues. At an international conference held May 1-5, 2005 in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prime Minister Paul Martin spoke to the environmental, economic and human toll global over-fishing has on Canada. Dealing with these issues is one of our key challenges under the Oceans Action Plan.

"This new Oceans Action Plan is about taking action now," Minister Regan said. "With this investment of $28 million, we commit to taking leadership to work across governments and with Canadians and to take a stronger approach to science and technology to improve the management of our oceans. Our longer term oceans agenda and a sustainable economy require nothing less."

"It is essential for us to protect our waters and marine resources. We are taking targeted measures to help reduce ship pollution and the potential introduction of invasive species from ballast water into our oceans," said Minister Lapierre.

I am very pleased that today we are making a solid new investment in oceans ecosystem science," Minister Dion explained. "Environmental sustainability must be a priority if we are to leave our children a healthy environment as well as a strong and vibrant economy."

"We are providing the leadership necessary to ensure progress on this important agenda," said Minister Efford. "By using cutting edge Canadian technologies like seabed-mapping, we will take a vital step toward understanding Canada's oceans, and will work toward enhancing the sustainable development of our natural resources."

The Oceans Actions Plan is based on four pillars: international leadership, sovereignty and security; integrated oceans management for sustainable development; health of the oceans; and oceans science and technology. Canada's Oceans Action Plan takes a phased approach to implementation to ensure sustained, long-term change. Phase I will roll-out a series of short-term initiatives over two years, which will provide the essentials to manage a wide diversity of activities on our oceans and work with stakeholders to protect fragile ecosystems. It will look ahead and set the stage for subsequent phases that build on lessons learned from Phase I.

Participating departments will provide further information on their initiatives over the coming weeks and months.

To learn more about Canada's Oceans Strategy, or to obtain a copy of the Oceans Action Plan please visit http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca .



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Backgrounder
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OCEANS ACTION PLAN - PHASE I


With the passage of the Oceans Act in 1996, followed by the release of Canada's Oceans Strategy in July 2002, the Government of Canada established a new legislative and policy framework to modernize oceans management.

Guided by these principles the Government of Canada announced its intention to develop an Oceans Action Plan (OAP) in the 2004 Speech from the Throne. In the February 2005 budget $28 million was confirmed for Phase I of the OAP. This first phase will be implemented over two years and will focus on improving oceans management and preserving the health of marine ecosystems.

The OAP enables government-wide action to develop Canada's ocean resources for the benefit of coastal communities, while protecting fragile marine ecosystems. The OAP is the framework to advance an integrated federal oceans agenda and is a key priority in DFO's strategic plan. It recognizes that Canada, with almost 245,000 km of coastline, is an important maritime nation.

Our oceans are critical to the social and economic well-being and security of our country and particularly important to coastal, rural and aboriginal communities. Collaboration and consultation with citizens, communities, stakeholders, and other levels of government will continue as this plan moves forward.

Specifically, Phase I of the OAP consists of targeted actions over the next two years under the following four pillars:

International Leadership, Sovereignty and Security:

The Government of Canada will invest $800,000 over the next two years to advance the Arctic Marine Strategic Plan (AMSP) and improve oceans management in the Gulf of Maine. The AMSP is a comprehensive strategy involving eight Arctic nations and Indigenous peoples to address key pollution, biodiversity, and marine use issues in the Arctic. Our efforts in Phase I of the OAP will focus on Arctic marine shipping assessment, and promoting ecosystem-based management. In the Gulf of Maine we will work collaboratively with the United States to address transboundary fisheries management, and improve environmental protection emergency response.

This funding complements other key Government investments such as, $75 million over 5 years and an additional $20 million over 3 years to combat overfishing and strengthen international fisheries governance, as well as $70 million over 10 years to map the continental shelf of the Arctic and Atlantic coasts to support a claim to extend our shelf rights beyond 200 nautical miles.

Integrated Oceans Management for Sustainable Development:
Over the next two years, almost $15 million new dollars will help to advance integrated oceans management. We will set up planning forums consisting of governments and oceans interests in five large oceans areas off Canada's west, north, and east coasts. Integrated management is key to managing a wide range of oceans activities and working with stakeholders such as industry, other governments, aboriginal groups and communities, to protect fragile ecosystems. The aim is to work collaboratively on common objectives that are based on a greater understanding of ecosystems, to better manage oceans activities and to determine where special measures are necessary to protect biologically and ecologically productive areas.

Health of the Oceans:

The Government of Canada will invest close to $10 million over the next two years to help improve the health of the oceans. Our actions will be pragmatic and results driven. Three federal organizations - Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Environment Canada and Parks Canada - will release the Federal Marine Protected Areas Strategy.

The objective of the Federal Marine Protected Areas Strategy is to guide the establishment of a network of marine protected areas on all three coasts in order to protect important species, their habitats and critical ecosystems, and protect Sable Island's unique scientific and ecological value. Transport Canada will enhance existing measures to protect our waters from ship source pollution. The department will increase air surveillance on the East Coast to better identify and investigate marine pollution from ships. In addition, new regulations will be proposed to control invasive species from ships ballast water to help reduce the risk of harmful species altering our ecosystems.

Science and Technology:

Over two years, $2 million will be invested in an Oceans Technology Network and to pilot oceans technology capability in Placentia Bay. The Placentia Bay project will provide state-of-the-art internet access for sharing coastal and ocean data and information and demonstrate leading oceans technology. It will produce electronic charts for navigation and management, real-time oceans information, habitat maps and help identify sensitive ecological areas. The Ocean Technology Network will link the various networks that represent Canadian coastal and ocean interests in Canada, including NGOs, community groups, First Nations, industry, academia and governments. Both initiatives will encourage the growth of Canadian ocean science and technology and contribute to the sustainable use and well-being of Canada's marine resources and coastal communities.

We have the Oceans Act (1996) and Canada's Oceans Strategy (2002) in place. Canada's Oceans Action Plan is about action and making demonstrable progress on our legislative and policy commitments to improve the way our oceans are managed. The Plan provides coordinated leadership and is forward-looking, recognizing the value of advancing partnerships across governments and with stakeholders towards managing our oceans in a sustainable way.

In pursuing this agenda we are laying the foundation for the future of Canada's oceans, maximizing their potential through safe and sustainable development of ocean resources and fair and equitable consideration for the interests of different ocean users.

More information on the Oceans Act, Canada's Oceans Strategy, and related activities and programs is available on the Internet at: http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca.

Internet : http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Contact Information

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa
    Phil Jenkins
    Media Relations
    (613) 990-7537
    or
    Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa
    Sujata Raisinghani
    Press Secretary, Office of the Minister
    (613) 992-3474
    or
    Natural Resources Canada, Ottawa
    Ghyslain Charron
    Media Relations
    (613) 992-4447
    or
    Natural Resources Canada, Ottawa
    Tom Ormsby
    Office of the Minister
    (613) 996-2007
    or
    Transport Canada, Ottawa
    Marie-Josee Dubois
    Communications
    (613) 993-0055
    or
    Transport Canada, Ottawa
    Irene Marcheterre
    Office of the Minister
    (613) 991-0700
    or
    Environment Canada
    Sebastien Bois
    Media Relations
    (819) 953-4016
    or
    Environment Canada
    Brigitte Caron
    Office of the Minister
    (819) 997-6754