Canada Announces National Oceans Protection Plan
The Canadian government recently announced a marine safety plan that meets or exceeds international standards.
Canada has the longest coastline in the world. Its coasts support traditional indigenous and coastal community livelihoods, enable the export and import of goods overseas, are home to abundant fisheries, attract tourism, and play a key role in strengthening the economy.
In order to meet these objectives, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a $1.5 billion national Oceans Protection Plan.
The plan is comprised four main priority areas: creating a marine safety system that improves responsible shipping and protects Canada’s waters; restoring and protecting the marine ecosystems and habitats; strengthening partnerships and launching co-management practices with indigenous communities; and, investing in oil spill cleanup research and methods to ensure that decisions taken in emergencies are evidence based.
The Oceans Protection Plan was developed based on work done over the past two years between indigenous and coastal communities and various government programs, and will be implemented next year.
“The Oceans Protection Plan will make Canada a world-leader in marine safety,” said Trudeau, “and takes a powerful step toward co-management of our coasts with Indigenous and coastal communities, together making sure they remain healthy, clean, and safe for generations to come.”
The Oceans Protection Plan will include over $1.5 billion in funding over five years, starting in 2017-18. As soon as 2017, Canadians will begin to see concrete improvements, according to a government statement, such as a Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre in St. John’s and legislation introduced to prohibit vessel abandonment in Canadian waterways. As part of the new marine safety system, improved marine traffic and navigation information—including hydrography and charting—will be provided to mariners, indigenous peoples, and coastal communities.
Enhanced resources will be provided to the Canadian Coast Guard, including new rescue stations, new towing capacity, and new communications equipment. New research into the impacts of increased shipping on marine ecosystems will be funded and new oil spill response methods will also be funded.
Marine trade currently employs 250,000 Canadians and injects more than $25 billion to Canada’s economy.
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