Canada is an Ocean Nation
We outline 5 areas of focus and provide specific examples of concrete actions we hope to see taken by diverse interests, including government:
In December 2017, over 30 of Canada’s most respected, passionate and informed marine communicators, scientists, Indigenous representatives, artists and storytellers came together at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto for an event called Canada’s Oceans: Towards 2020. The event was public facing and included over 600 people. After the two-day public event the 30+ leaders, including representatives from Parks Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, met privately to craft a vision for Canada’s oceans with the goal of confirming Canada’s identity as an ocean nation. The signatories of this Open Letter recognize and applaud the Canadian Government for their leadership and progress thus far on our ocean protection commitments, including recent announcements and revisions to the Fisheries Act. There is still more work to do, and it is our goal with this Letter to prioritize and contextualize next steps.
The public mandates of Canada’s Ministers have offered Canadians and Indigenous peoples an opportunity to hold government accountable and to engage collaboratively in ensuring mandates are met. For our ocean, this has meant a reinvestment in science, commitment to international protection targets and incorporation of climate change into stock assessments and ongoing efforts to modernize Canada’s legal framework for managing our fisheries and oceans.
Charting a course for an increased and consistent focus on our ocean will ensure that reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and a commitment to sustainable oceans are interlinked priorities. While Canada has returned to the global stage on a number of important issues, it is increasingly important that we ensure that our efforts at home reflect our ambitions for the rest of the world.
Continued and increased support of Indigenous leadership on oceans
Convening of an Indigenous Oceans Conference that provides space for indigenous peoples to move forward with an oceans agenda and for non-Indigenous participants to listen and learn.
Establish networks of conserved and strongly protected areas
By 2020, networks of conserved and protected areas should be determined for all three oceans, with implementation of these networks achieved by 2030.
Building on its past record of international oceans leadership, Canada should take a championship role in upcoming negotiations on a new international treaty to protect high seas biodiversity which once in place would help ensure connectivity and compatibility with marine protection measures within our national waters.
Commit to rebuilding and sustaining our fisheries
Community engagement on these issues on all three coasts is imperative so that economic development desires are tempered with ecological reality.
Canada establish a plan to report on progress towards meeting indicators and overall goals of Aichi Target 6.
Canada develops and implements an Ecosystem-Based approach to fisheries.
Take action on reducing plastic pollution
Canada needs to develop a National Plastics Framework and take a leadership role on international efforts to set targets for reduction of plastic use and related emissions.
The government of Canada and its provinces and territories as well as Indigenous communities need to make progress on the 2009 commitment by Council of Canadian Ministers of Environment to implement Extended Producer Responsibility to reduce plastic pollution and divert plastic from the waste stream.
Communication, Outreach & Advocacy – ocean literacy
Collaborate across government, Indigenous, private and non-profit sectors to develop outreach projects, programs, and funding streams that leverage Canadian talent to help position Canada as an ocean nation.
Adopt shared messaging and principles for ocean literacy, and support the emerging National Ocean Literacy Coalition, and their associated draft ocean literacy plan.
Ensure ocean literacy and conservation priorities are included in all K-12 curriculum systems in all provinces, territories, and Indigenous communities.
We see these 5 areas of focus and associated examples of concrete actions as a logical, needed, and appropriate next step toward propelling Canada into an international leadership role on ocean protection. We are prepared to assist the Government in realizing this ambition and look forward to your response.
Chair, Canada’s Oceans: Towards 2020,
Ecology Action Centre
Dr. Susanna D. Fuller
Co-Chair, Canada’s Oceans: Towards 2020,
Dr. Chelsea Rochman,
University of Toronto
Dr. Brett Favaro,
Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University
Dr. Boris Worm,
Killam Research Professor in Marine Conservation Biology,
7-time World Freediving Champion
Filmmaker & Surfer
Mayor of Tofino
Dr. Robert Rangeley,
Show your support. Sign the letter.
|123||Debbi Kill||North Vancouver|
|122||christian gould||Newmarket, Ontario|
|115||xi ya dai||toronto|
|114||Anne Stewart||Bamfield (not a city)|
|108||Megan Curren||North Vancouver|
|107||Glenn Archibald||North vancouver|
|103||Courtney Mccallum||Owen Sound|
|102||Jamie Gallupe||Owen Sound|
|101||Doug Bromley||Cow Bay, Nova Scotia|
|100||David Oxner||St Catharines|
|98||Molly Furness||Waterloo Ontario|
|96||Giulia Sala||Middle Sackville|
|87||Eric Hanlin||Dartmouth NS|
|86||Jonna Grace Gladwell||Flesherton, Ontario|
|85||Nureileen Kamaruizam||Shah Alam, MY|
|81||Lynda Bromley||Maple Ridge|
|80||Jens Gemmrich||Niagara on the Lake|
|75||Sarah Lim||Maple ridge|
|72||Malak Bayoumi||North York|
|64||Elaine Sullivan||St. John's, NL, Canada|
|49||Malae Blakeley||NORTH VANCOUVER|
|48||Maryann Watson||Victoria, BC|
|47||Colleen Walsh-Bouman||Windsor NS|
|44||Mya Van Woudenberg||Toronto|
|43||Julie Reimer||St. John’s|
|38||roger sheppard||NORTH VANCOUVER|
|37||Luke Krayenhoff||Victoria BC|
|36||Kate Moran||Victoria, BC|
|32||Lorie Pierce||Quebec City|
|24||Katrina Stobbart||North Vancouver|
|18||sally sheppard||NORTH VANCOUVER|
|14||Henriette Maier||West LaHave|
|8||Cristina Mittermeier||Nanoose Bay, BC|