Minister Lebouthillier Statement for World Oceans Day 2024

OTTAWA, ON, June 8, 2024 /CNW/ – Every year on June 8th people around the world highlight World Oceans Day. It is a day to reflect on the state of our oceans, share our best practices and be part of a collective movement to conserve and protect them.

For many coastal Canadians, including myself, the oceans are the heart of our way of life. But their influence extends far beyond the coasts: everyone depends on healthy oceans, no matter where they live. In addition to producing more than half of the world’s oxygen, they absorb 50 times more carbon dioxide than our atmosphere, thus helping to regulate our climate and weather patterns.

Millions of people around the world also make a living from ocean-related industries. They provide food security, maritime shipping and international trade, provide renewable energy, support tourism and recreation, and are of considerable cultural and spiritual importance to many people. In other words, the success of our oceans is intimately linked to our own success, and the reverse is also true.

That said, we know that climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss are jeopardizing the long-term health and sustainability of our oceans, making this year’s UN theme ‘Catalyzing Action for Our Ocean and Climate‘ more relevant than ever.

From coast to coast to coast, Canadians have a shared ambition to sustainably grow our blue economy, and our government will always be there to support them. By working in partnership with governments, Indigenous groups, industry, scientists, academia, environmental organizations and others, we are taking bold actions to protect our coasts, waterways and marine life.

That is why, last March, I was at the United Nations headquarters in New York to sign, on behalf of Canada, the High Seas Treaty. With this simple signature, Canada has joined a growing number of countries in a global effort to protect 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030.

Our $3.5-billion Oceans Protection Plan is largely based on this important goal. We also set aside $1 billion to help us meet our marine conservation targets as well as $800 million that will support up to four large-scale Indigenous-led conservation initiatives. Taken together, this represents the largest investment in Canada’s history to protect its coasts and waterways. 

A concrete example of all this work inevitably involves our ongoing commitment to protect sensitive marine species and habitats from ghost gear ― that is abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear. That’s why I am proud to announce that Canada will host the 2nd International Gear Innovation Summit in February 2025. This two-day event will bring together harvesters and other experts from around the world to explore options for whale-safe fishing gear and innovative ways to prevent, retrieve and recycle abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear.

Today, but also throughout the year, I invite Canadians to a moment of collective reflection, and to continue to advocate for the right balance between protecting marine species and continuing to fish, which are crucial to the economy of our coastal communities. We owe it to our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

Happy World Oceans Day!

The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard 

SOURCE Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Canada

Minister Lebouthillier Statement for World Oceans Day 2024 WeeklyReviewer

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