April 17, 2019 Truro Heights, Nova Scotia
Protecting the marine environment and all users of Canada’s oceans and waterways is of paramount importance. Through the Oceans Protection Plan, the Government of Canada is working in partnership with Indigenous peoples and in close collaboration with local stakeholders and coastal communities to protect Canada’s unique marine environment from coast-to-coast-to-coast.
Today, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Member of Parliament for Central Nova, Sean Fraser, with Member of Parliament for Cumberland-Colchester, Bill Casey, on behalf of the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, announced $877,838 for the Maritime Aboriginal Peoples Council to participate in a pilot project to develop, test, and evaluate a new maritime awareness information system. This national system is a key component of the Oceans Protection Plan’s Enhanced Maritime Situational Awareness (EMSA) Initiative.
The web-based system will display a range of valuable near real-time maritime information, including data on vessel traffic, weather, and marine protected areas. As one of 10 Indigenous organizations across Canada participating in the pilot project, the Maritime Aboriginal Peoples Council will test, provide feedback, and apply their local, traditional knowledge to improve and develop the system.
The Maritime Aboriginal Peoples Council is contributing fishing vessels, beginning in the spring, to test the system in a real-world, on-water environment. This input is a critical part of informing changes and updates to the system, so that the system can meet the needs of coastal communities across Canada.
The $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan is the largest investment ever made to protect Canada’s coasts and waterways. This national strategy is creating a world-leading marine safety system that provides economic opportunities for Canadians today, while protecting our coastlines and clean water for generations to come. This work is being done in close collaboration with Indigenous peoples, local stakeholders, and coastal communities.
“The Enhanced Maritime Situational Awareness Initiative under the Oceans Protection Plan is a significant project that exemplifies collaboration and innovation. The work being done with our Indigenous partners, including the Maritime Aboriginal Peoples Council, is crucial to the success of this pilot project. Thanks to the progress we are making on projects like this, our marine safety system is stronger now than it has ever been.”
The Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport
“Under the Oceans Protection Plan, the Government of Canada recognizes the importance of local knowledge and expertise in decision making. Our Government is grateful for the collaboration and partnership with Indigenous organizations, including the Maritime Aboriginal Peoples Council, to develop and test this new maritime awareness information system.”
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Member of Parliament for Central Nova
“This Enhanced Maritime Situational Awareness Initiative will improve the accessibility of maritime information, and in the case of the coastal communities including Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick, will improve safety for fishing vessel crews at sea, as Indigenous and non-Indigenous commercial fishing vessels will have access to a wide range of new, useful information.”
Member of Parliament for Cumberland-Colchester
The Government of Canada has announced over 50 initiatives under the Oceans Protection Plan since its launch in November, 2016.
The five-year, $62.5 million Enhanced Maritime Situational Awareness (EMSA) Initiative was announced in November 2017.
The EMSA system will help coastal communities access relevant data so they can make local decisions to plan vessel routes, identify sensitive areas, increase safety on the water, and help protect the environment.