OTTAWA, Dec. 21, 2017 /CNW/ - After reaching its interim target of protecting 5% of Canada's marine and coastal areas by the end of 2017, the Government of Canada remains committed to increasing the proportion of protected marine areas to 10% by 2020. To achieve this target, we are establishing Marine Protected Areas and marine refuges to safeguard the health of our oceans for future generations. Resilient and healthy marine ecosystems help support sustainable industries, local economies and coastal communities across Canada.
Today, the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, announced the establishment of seven new marine refuges that will contribute an additional 145,598km2 of protected ocean area to Canada's coasts. This represents an additional 2.53% of protected ocean, bringing Canada's current total to 7.75%.
These marine refuges will make a lasting contribution to marine conservation in Canada:
Earlier this year, Minister LeBlanc announced that Canada will establish a national advisory panel that will provide the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard with advice on minimum standards of protection within future Marine Protected Areas in Canada's waters. Minister LeBlanc also highlighted the leadership role Canada is taking internationally on marine conservation and protection, particularly on the scientific criteria for other effective area-based conservation measures.
"As Canadians, we are fortunate to be bounded by three oceans, which are significant to our heritage, culture and economy?but this fortune brings with it the responsibility to protect our precious marine resources. That's why our government has worked hard to surpass its commitment to protecting five percent of our marine and coastal areas by this year, and is well underway to meeting our next target of protecting ten percent by 2020. Today's announcement of new marine refuges is another important step toward this goal of protecting our oceans for future generations."
The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, P.C., Q.C., M.P., Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
"These northern fisheries closures provide critical protection to deep water corals and sponges and marine habitat. DFO led a collaborative approach with the fishing industry and environmental organizations that was instrumental in realizing today's outcome."
Trevor Taylor, Vice President of Conservation, Oceans North
The Nunavut Offshore Allocation Holders Association (NOAHA) is proud to support today's announcement on the protection of sensitive benthic areas in the Eastern Arctic. The boundaries for each of the Disko Fan, Davis Strait, and Hatton Basin refuges were established through a unique collaborative process between NOAHA and other colleagues in the fishing industry (the Groundish Enterprise Allocation Council (GEAC) and Northern Coalition), the ENGOs and DFO. NOAHA was pleased to have participated in this successful initiative aimed at protecting our oceans.
Lootie Toomasie, Acting Chairperson, NOAHA
Other effective area-based conservation measures
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SOURCE Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Canada
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