Surfing Tofino

A True Sea Change in Federal Policy

New efforts will help reach the government's goal of protecting 10% of Canada's marine ecosystems by 2020. Will it be enough?


Canada is marking this year’s World Oceans Day with Canada’s Ocean Summit 2016. One of the main topics to be discussed by attendees today in Ottawa is conservation.  Under the Liberal government, Canada has committed to protecting 10% of its marine areas by 2020. This is a far cry from the 1% that are currently designated as marine protected areas, but great strides towards the 10% goal were made with the announcement that Shell Canada would give up drilling permits in Lancaster Sound, which could help to establish a new Arctic Conservation Area.

But conservation alone will not improve the health of our oceans. The other sessions at Canada’s Ocean Summit will address sustainable management of our marine resources as well as the impact of climate change on aquatic environments. At the heart of these discussions – scientific evidence.  Whether your focus is sustainable fishing, microplastics, biodiversity or climate change, one thing is clear: Canadian research is crucial to support policy decisions to ensure our oceans are protected and well managed.


Training Canada’s Next Generation of Ocean Scientist
Video Courtesy of Canadian Healthy Oceans Network

To this end, the Canadian government allocated $197-million in additional funding to Fisheries and Oceans Canada in the latest federal budget.  In turn, Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced that it will be hiring 135 researchers and technicians to help restore ocean science in our country.  This is welcome news to young researchers in Canada who may no longer have to go abroad to pursue a passion for the sea.

To learn more about some of the research currently being conducted on the health of our oceans and marine life in Canada, watch our Orange Chair Interviews with Charlie Trick from Western University and Amanda Vincent from the University of British Columbia.

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Allison Guy is a freelance science writer who is passionate about increasing scientific literacy and enhancing scientific discourse among the public. She holds a MSc in neuroscience from the University of Toronto and has been working as a drug development consultant for the pharmaceutical industry both domestically and abroad for the last 5 years. She is also a lecturer at Ryerson University in the Department of Chemistry and Biology and at the G. Raymond Chang School where she teaches pharmaceutical development and regulation.