Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Canadian Oceans Protection Plan

Canadian government officials have announced plans for a national marine protection plan aimed at support of the nation’s fisheries, tourism and overall strengthening of Canada’s economy.

“Canada’s economy, environment and history are inextricably linked to our coastal regions,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Nov. 7.

“The $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan will make Canada a world leader in marine safety 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 plan hasquick support from the Clear-Seas Centre for Responsible Marine Shipping, an independent, not-for-profit research center in Vancouver, British Columbia. Clear Seas provides impartial and fact-based information about marine shipping in Canada, including risks, mitigation measures and best practices for safe and sustainable marine shipping.

Richard Wiefelspuett, executive director of Clear Seas, said the organization supports the expansion and strengthening of Canada’s Coast Guard.

A recent poll commissioned by Clear Seas confirms that Canadians understand the importance of marine shipping for the economy, but that many are concerned about the effective enforcement of marine safety policies and procedures,” Wiefelspuett said. “A strengthened Canadian Coast Guard is a timely response to these concerns and an important step towards safe and responsible marine shipping on our coasts,” he said.

Clear Seas also supports the plan’s emphasis on measures that prevent possible marine incidents from happening, including enhanced marine traffic information sharing, new navigation aids and aerial surveillance to improve marine safety.

Priorities of the plan include creation of a marine safety system that improves responsible shipping and protects Canada’s waters, restoring and protecting marine ecosystems and habitats, strengthening partnerships and launching co-management practices with indigenous communities, and investing in oil spill cleanup research.

The oceans protection plan was developed based on work over the past two years between indigenous and coastal communities and various government programs.

It is to be implemented in 2017.

A large volume of Canada’s commodities and processed good utilized the marine transportation system, which employs some 250,000 Canadians and injects over $25 billion into Canada’s economy.

Trudeau said as soon as 2017, Canadians will begin to see improvements including a Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre at St. John’s, and legislation introduced to prohibit vessel abandonment in Canadian waterways.

The new marine safety system is to include improved marine traffic and navigation information for mariners, indigenous peoples and coastal communities, plus enhanced resources for the Canadian Coast Guard, and funding for new research into the impact of increased shipping on marine ecosystems and new oil spill response methods.

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