Canada must do more to protect its oceans, report says


The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society states in a report that, despite the progress made in recent years, the recommendations of international scientific bodies suggest that more work needs to be done.

"At least 30% [of the oceans] should be protected if we want to ensure that all habitats are protected and that the future and health of the oceans are assured," Sabine Jessen, director of the group's oceans program, said on Monday. .

The report states that the protection of ocean areas includes the banning of oil and gas projects, the absence of waste dumping and the elimination of bottom trawling.

Jessen credits the federal Liberal government for the improvements seen in recent years.

Two years ago, less than 1% of Canada's seas were subject to some form of conservation agreement. This figure has since exceeded 8%.

Jessen estimates that Canada will likely exceed its protection target by 10% by next year, going beyond its international commitments.

But this goal, which is part of a multilateral treaty signed by 168 countries, relied more on politics than on science, she said.

It was based on the fact that there was so little protection, but people knew that something had to be done.

Sabine Jessen, Canada's Parks and Wilderness Society

"It's been a good call to action, but we know we are changing the ocean and we really need to protect places that still have healthy ecosystems. "

She pointed out that groups such as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, one of the largest associations of governments and scientists in the world, suggest redoubling their efforts.

They examined the evidence of what was needed and passed a resolution that at least 30% of the oceans should be protected.

Sabine Jessen, Canada's Parks and Wilderness Society

The report states that Canada is lagging behind many of its international peers. Of the 10 countries with the largest marine economic zones, Canada ranks seventh. The United States, Australia and the United Kingdom all rank higher.

Jessen acknowledges that some of these countries have large protected areas off overseas territories. In addition, the degrees of protection vary.

But the ranking shows what is possible, she noted.

The report states that Canada could achieve more than half of the 30% goal simply by completing ongoing marine protected area projects.

He also notes that saving the seas of Canada is also a good deal. According to Statistics Canada, more than 100,000 jobs in Canada are directly related to fishing and nearly 60,000 to ocean ecotourism.

Climate change is making work even more urgent, Jessen said.

We are changing the Earth. We must protect the Earth.

Sabine Jessen, Canada's Parks and Wilderness Society

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