Outcome 2017 and Best Wishes for 2018
Each year, the holiday season offers an opportunity to reflect on the year that has passed and the one to come, and to connect results and projections.
A positive outcome
When we think of 2017, we can only be happy with our accomplishments. Once again, we worked tirelessly to ensure the safety of all those who navigate Canadian waters, and to support our economy by promoting safe and efficient maritime trade. Celebrating its 55th anniversary, the Canadian Coast Guard continued delivering its services to Canadians, once more saving many lives.
Furthermore, driven by a desire to share and increase its expertise in this field, the Canadian Coast Guard took part in the first, real-time search and rescue exercise organized by the Arctic Coast Guard Forum. Meeting in the Denmark Strait, with Iceland, Norway, Denmark and the United States, we sought to increase cooperation and communication between the different units, shore-based personnel, and relevant agencies in our respective countries. In collaboration with the US Coast Guard and Greenland’s Joint Arctic Command, we also learned how to better plan and organize the logistics of assisting cruise ships in the Arctic.
The Department is proud to have reached its goal of protecting 5% of coastal and marine areas in the country by the end of 2017. This result now makes it possible to increase the protection of the corals and sponges of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. In other news, the Maurice Lamontagne Institute welcomed nearly 4,000 guests during its open house days. This was one of the key events in celebrating the 30th anniversary of our research centre.
For the fisheries, 2017 was a record year in Quebec. Landings reached an unprecedented level, with an increase of over 30% compared to 2016, despite declining shrimp stocks and constraints related to the presence of right whales. We began reviewing the management of individual transferable quota programs with fishermen to improve management rules, and will continue on this path in 2018.
More than ever, we increased partnerships, mobilized Indigenous communities, and continued to support scientific research on the oceans, which we will also continue in the next year.
A very busy year ahead
The year 2018 will undoubtedly allow the Department to further enhance its achievements under the Oceans Protection Plan launched in late 2016. In particular, we plan to set up a 24/7 operations centre at the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary Regional Office. We are also planning to increase our Arctic workforce in the teams of the Search and Rescue Program and the Environmental Response Program. Our goal is to improve maritime safety and protect the marine environment from pollution and marine incidents. We will also strengthen the capacities of Indigenous people and local communities to design and implement environmental protection measures. That is why we will ensure that the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary can deploy to the Arctic, and that Indigenous people are trained in Incident Command.
In addition, the coming year will lead us to continue our efforts to protect right whales. We will continue to work with the fisheries and shipping sectors to put forward effective measures to protect this endangered species and support the economy. In addition, we will continue to build toward our next marine protected areas target, which is 10% by 2020. We will also continue our hard work to ensure sustainable fisheries. Lastly, thanks to the Coastal Restoration Fund, new projects to improve the environmental performance of important sites in the Estuary and the Gulf of St. Lawrence can be created.
On behalf of all Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Canadian Coast Guard employees, we would like to wish you and your loved ones our best wishes for happiness, health, and prosperity in 2018.
Regional Director General
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Canadian Coast Guard
Central and Arctic Region