Implementing the Oceans Protection Plan: Challenges and Exciting Developments for the Next Five Years
Canada has the longest coastlines in the world and water is one of its most valuable resources. To ensure the sustainability of these resources for all Canadians, on November 7, 2016, the Prime Minister introduced the Oceans Protection Plan with a budget of $1.5 billion over five years.
Through this plan, the Government of Canada intends to:
- improve marine safety and responsible shipping;
- restore and protect marine environments;
- strengthen partnerships with coastal Aboriginal communities.
The many projects required to implement the Oceans Protection Plan will essentially be led by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and Transport Canada.
The projects spearheaded by Fisheries and Oceans Canada include the $75-million Coastal Restoration Fund to support priorities for marine habitat restoration over the next five years.
Marine safety will be enhanced through the use of new dynamic mapping products in key marine traffic areas. Many of the vessels that have been abandoned in small craft harbours will be removed to reduce environmental, operational and safety risks.
Work will be undertaken by the Science Regional Direction to establish special measures to manage the impacts of marine traffic on marine mammals, including those caused by noise. Prevention of oil spills, as well as the response when oil spills occur, will also be the subject of special measures. In addition, fishery officers will have increased capacities to respond to incidents involving marine mammals.
Lastly, among the various initiatives that will be carried out, the government will seek input from Aboriginal communities in certain areas, such as the cumulative impacts of marine shipping and the best tools to solve the problems caused by this type of transportation. The government will also focus on having Aboriginal communities play a more active role in marine safety-related decisions and interventions.
Regional Director General