Océans en santé. Communautés en santé

Federal budget ignores Canada’s ocean environments and ocean economies

January 28, 2009

VANCOUVER: The 2009 federal budget ignores recommendations of many Canadians to conserve and improve the management of our oceans and the industries that operate in Canada’s ocean environments said a group of environmental organizations today.

The environmental groups, which include the David Suzuki Foundation, Living Oceans Society and the Sierra Club of BC, were looking for investments to help protect critical ocean resources, like fish stocks, and to improve management of the full range of industries that use our oceans. 

Oceans represent an important ecological and economic resource for Canada, generating $23 billion annually. Many communities depend on healthy oceans to support their local economies.

While demand for Canada’s ocean resources is steadily increasing, resulting in escalating stress on marine environments, federal government support and the funding needed to protect our oceans has faltered, putting coastal economies at risk. The groups submitted proposals to government during the budget process that highlighted the future economic benefits of investing in the conservation and management of ocean resources. 

“We were looking for new funding in this budget to improve marine fisheries management and research that is essential for maintaining and enhancing markets for our fisheries products and for ensuring sustainability of these resources,” said Bill Wareham, Senior Marine Conservation Specialist for the David Suzuki Foundation. “We are disappointed government chose not to support these initiatives. Canada needs to invest more today if we hope to have productive, sustainable fisheries in years to come."

“Resource-based communities on all of Canada’s coasts suffer when fish stocks and marine environmental quality declines,” said Catherine Stewart of Living Oceans Society. “Scientists in Canada and around the world are united in saying that fish stocks and other marine life are undergoing a global decline. This budget utterly fails to ensure that short term economic measures are designed to build towards longer term sustainability.”

“One of our key recommendations for the budget was for integrated marine planning and conservation to help provide stability for the people who live and work on the coast in these uncertain economic times,” said Colin Campbell of the Sierra Club of BC. “Integrated Marine Management would streamline these processes, resulting in efficiencies and improved economic and environmental outcomes. Conflicts between users will be reduced and industry will have greater regulatory and market certainty.” 

The groups noted that even former US President George Bush, with his dismal environmental performance record, recognized the value of conserving ocean areas and designated a number of ocean conservation sites. Canada is falling further and further behind other developed nations who are doing far more to protect the future of our oceans.

Recent public opinion research in British Columbia revealed broad public support for enhanced government action to protect marine ecosystems. 90% of respondents supported establishment of more marine protected areas (MPAs) off the B.C. coast. 



Bill Wareham, Senior Marine Conservation Specialist, David Suzuki Foundation,  Ph. 604-740-4318

Kim Wright, Marine Planning and Protected Areas Director,Living Oceans Society, Ph. 604-696-5044

Colin Campbell, Marine Campaign Coordinator, Sierra Club of BC, Ph.(250) 386-5255 ext. 236