Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

June 07, 2015 10:00 ET

World Oceans Day

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - June 7, 2015) - The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, issued the following statement in celebration of World Oceans Day 2015:

"On June 8th, World Oceans Day is celebrated across the globe to recognize the importance of the world's oceans and the efforts to improve our oceans' health. In 1992, the Government of Canada proposed this day at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro to raise awareness about the importance of our oceans. It was officially established by the United Nations in 2009 and is now celebrated across the world.

This year's theme for World Oceans Day is 'Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet' which is appropriate given the progress we have made over this past year to preserve Canadian waters and aquatic ecosystems.

Today, Canada has eight designated marine protected areas - five on the East Coast, two on the West Coast and one in the Arctic, and the designation of an additional eight areas is in various stages of completion.

One area of interest being considered for full marine protection is the Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound Glass Sponge Reefs. These reefs were determined to be over 9,000 years old covering an area of approximately 1,000 square kilometres. These sponges are incredibly fragile. We are working hard to ensure that this area's unique marine features are protected for future generations. The consultation process to grant these reefs the full legal protection they deserve will reach another step in the very near future.

The protection of this area, to conserve its biological diversity, habitat and ecosystems, directly coincides with the Government of Canada's priority to strengthen marine and coastal conservation, as demonstrated under the National Conservation Plan. The National Conservation Plan, launched in 2014 by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, included dedicated funding of $37 million over five years for this priority.

This funding will also allow us to establish four new marine protected areas and identify three additional areas as candidates for protection.

The year 2015 is also the 10 year anniversary of Basin Head's designation as a Marine Protected Area in Prince Edward Island as well as the 10 year anniversaries of Eastport and Gilbert Bay as Marine Protected Areas in Newfoundland and Labrador.

On April 16th, 2015, Canada joined the European Union and the United States in announcing the first trans-Atlantic mapping survey which is taking place under the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance. This is a great example of international scientific cooperation in the study of the Atlantic Ocean to ensure that it continues to be healthy and productive.

Furthermore, our Government also developed a comprehensive Coral and Sponge Conservation Strategy for Eastern Canada to help facilitate the conservation and protection of cold water coral and sponge species, their communities and their habitats in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans in Eastern Canada. For more information, please visit: http://dfo-mpo.gc.ca/oceans/publications/corals-coraux-eng.html.

I would like to take this occasion to reaffirm our Government's commitment to protecting and conserving Canada's oceans and marine environments.

We will continue to work with our partners to ensure that our oceans and their resources remain healthy, sustainable and prosperous for Canadians in the future. I encourage you to visit the Fisheries and Oceans website to learn more about Oceans Day activities across Canada: http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca."

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

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Contact Information

  • Frank Stanek
    Media Relations
    Fisheries and Oceans Canada
    613-990-7537

    Sophie Doucet
    Director of Communications
    Office of the Minister
    Fisheries and Oceans Canada
    613-992-3474