Canada’s Waters – Grossly Unprotected

Water, as everyone knows is essential to every living thing on the planet. Not only fresh water but oceans, rivers and streams, also provide life for many species.

So it stands to reason that we must all play a part in the protection of water no matter what form it takes. Be it fresh water or salt water it must be protected at all costs.

While most G8 countries are doing their part to protect the oceans, a group of 15 scientists from across Canada are raising concerns about the Canadian governments lack of protection for our oceans.

In fact they are so concerned they have collectively written a letter to the environmental minister as well as the minister of fisheries, calling on them to restrict the activities of humans in protected areas.

In the letter they state their concerns over the protected Canadian waters that the government still allows activities like commercial fishing and even oil and gas exploration and extraction.

A professor at a Newfoundland university states there’s a double standard in the way the Canadian government treats protected marine areas.

He says while national parks are off limit to most human activities, the same level of protection does not apply to marine areas. The level of protection also varies from area to area.

The scientists believe Canada’s oceans act should be amended and include protection for all marine protected areas. They also believe a scientific assessment of all areas should be done immediately.

While the fishing of these areas can be controlled by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, they have little control over other maritime activities, including shipping.

There is also no mechanism in place for monitoring existing areas. Due to this fact there is no way of knowing how effectively they are protecting vulnerable species.

A 2014 study by the Marine Conservation Institute showed that only 0.1 % of Canada’s oceans are “no take reserves”- these are areas that have absolutely no activity allowed.

In contrast to Canada the United States, and the United Kingdom have fully protected 10% of their waters. Canada was also ranked behind Australia, Germany and Russia.

LeBlanc, the minister of Fisheries and Oceans said they are working hard to develop protection for coastal regions that are home to vulnerable and valuable species and habitats.

We can only hope these matters are taken very seriously by the Canadian government. And that they do a greater part in protecting our oceans and marine habitat while there is still time.