(photo: Fisheries Oceans Canada)
The Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, speaking at the Vancouver Board of Trade today, outlined the Government’s path forward to achieve healthy, sustainable oceans and economic prosperity here in Canada and around the world. This includes reaching our target of protecting 25% of our oceans by 2025, working toward 30% by 2030, and developing a national Blue Economy Strategy to ensure Canada is positioned to take advantage of new opportunities.
The Government of Canada exceeded its 10 % marine conservation target ahead of the United Nations’ 2020 deadline, reaching 13.81 % in 2019. Minister Jordan spoke about the Government’s ongoing work to reach its next protections target, including a Pacific Area of Interest for marine protection off the coast of Vancouver Island.
At the same time as the Government has increased ocean protections, the Blue Economy has continued to grow, employing approximately 300, 000 Canadians currently across various industries. The Minister underscored the importance of creating a Blue Economy Strategy that will guide the Government of Canada’s actions and investments to grow Canada’s ocean economy.
Minister Jordan made clear that environmental protection must therefore continue to go hand-in-hand with economic growth.
To that end, she announced that Fisheries and Oceans will be accepting new applications for funding from July 15 to September 15, 2020, for the British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund (BCSRIF). Funding is open to Indigenous communities, industry associations, environmental non-governmental organizations, commercial enterprises, and academic institutions. Investments through this program will help recover salmon habitat, benefit commercial and recreational fishing and aquaculture, as well as support science and research initiatives. Pacific wild salmon are integral to British Columbia’s economy and cultural heritage, and restoring their populations is a shared, top priority.
Also, the Minister and the BC Minister of Agriculture, the Honourable Lana Popham, announced funding for eight projects under the British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund (BCSRIF). More than $10 million in funding will support research and monitoring activities, infrastructure upgrades to community hatcheries, and the development of strategies to enhance the sustainability of Pacific fisheries.