The Government is taking action now to address these threats. We know that there is no choice but to act now to protect our oceans, coasts and waterways. Today, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, reaffirmed this commitment with the investment of over $13.6 million for an additional 24 Coastal Restoration Fund (CRF) projects to restore habitat on our coasts. This is the third installation of CRF project funding.
The first and second phases of CRF investments funded 40 projects. This has meant community lead projects across the country moving forward to recover wild salmon habitats effected by climate change, mitigate the impacts of infrastructure development on delicate coastal ecosystems, and to stabilize river banks, preventing trees and debris from falling into the water and causing serious damage. These projects are part of our historic $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan (OPP). In partnership with communities and Indigenous leadership we are helping restore the health of our vulnerable coastlines and marine habitats across the country.
Minister Wilkinson also announced further action under the OPP’s Coastal Environmental Baseline Program to track the impacts of port-related activities and the health of ecosystems on the west coast. We are investing more than $5 million in nine new data collection projects in the Port of Vancouver and Port of Prince Rupert areas of B.C. The vital evidence collected on the impacts of shipping traffic and climate change will inform what further action we will take to make our waters cleaner, safer and healthier.
The OPP is the most significant investment in Canadian history to protect our waters and coasts while spurring economic growth and job creation in the communities that rely on the health of these waterways.
Through this historic investment, and by strengthening our laws with the modernization of the Oceans Act, Canada Petroleum Resources Act and proposed changes to the Fisheries Act, we are delivering on our promise to restore protection for our oceans. We are taking these steps forward while supporting economic growth and jobs in coastal communities. These concrete measures are protecting species at risk like the Southern Resident killer whale and North Atlantic right whale as well as helping restore wild fish stocks – ensuring that our coastal communities remain environmentally and economically strong.
Our government understands that we cannot pass off protecting our waters and our environment to the next generation. We are taking real action now to ensure that our children and grandchildren will not only have access to the world-renowned nature across our country, but to ensure that they benefit from sustainable jobs and economic growth on these waters and coasts.
“Our government has a responsibility to Canadians, the world, and future generations to steward our environment and our resources with care. That is why we are taking real action to better protect our oceans and the livelihood of coastal communities. These new investments announced today will be critically important to our understanding of marine ecosystems and essential to knowing how to best recover marine species and their habitats moving forward.”
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
The Coastal Environmental Baseline Program, part of the $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan, will help collect wide-ranging scientific data in six marine ecosystems with high vessel traffic and coastline development: the Port of Vancouver, BC; the Port of Prince Rupert, BC; the Lower St. Lawrence Estuary, QC; the Port of Saint John, NB; Placentia Bay, NL; and Iqaluit, NU.
Projects are funded as part of the $50.8 million Coastal Environmental Baseline Program. The projects involve collaboration between scientists, Indigenous communities and coastal organizations to collect baseline data on broad range of marine life in the study areas.
The nine organizations receiving funding for projects announced today are: Tsleil-Waututh Nation, Tsawwassen First Nation, Lax Kw’alaams Fisheries Enterprise, Metlakatla Stewardship Society, Gitxaala Nation, Kitselas Band Council, Kitsumkalum First Nation, Prince Rupert Port Authority, and Ocean Wise Conservation Association.
The Oceans Protection Plan is establishing a world-leading marine safety system that provides economic opportunities for Canadians today, while ensuring our coastlines are healthier, safer and better protected for future generations.
The initial launch of the Coastal Restoration Fund funded 40 projects totaling approximately $55 million. With these additional projects, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has funded a total of 64 projects that contribute to healthier habitats for fish on all of Canada’s coasts.
Amendments to the Oceans Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act (Bill C-55) received Royal Assent on May 27. These amendments directly empower the Government to strengthen the protection of at-risk marine ecosystems by stopping new potentially detrimental activities from taking place in those areas through ‘interim protections’ until the permanent designation of a Marine Protected Area is made.
The proposed amendments to the Fisheries Act will provide strong protections for all fish and fish habitat, and will put a priority on rebuilding fish stocks and restoring habitat.