Canadians will be asked for their opinion when the federal government begins to formulate its strategy for developing a blue economy.
Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan says the online consultation process will begin in the new year to open discussion on provinces, territories, indigenous peoples and others. More details on the process will come soon, she said.
This was just one of the details unveiled on Thursday, Dec. 3, in a virtual panel discussion hosted by the Ocean Frontier Institute (OFI), following a day earlier announcement of Canada’s engagement with 13 other nations to manage steadily 100 percent of its oceans.
The OFI virtual discussion – Designing a Course for a Sustainable Blue Economy – focused on Canada’s opportunities for sustainable growth of the “blue” economy.
Panelists included OFI CEO and Scientific Director Dr. Anya Waite, OFI strategic engagement officer Catherine Blewett and Karin Kemper, global director of environment, natural resources and global blue economy practice with the World Bank, as well as Jordan.
Management worth 244,000 miles
WHAT IS THE BLUE ECONOMY?
The blue economy is described as an economy driven by sustainable ocean resources and accounts for about $ 31.65 billion a year in GDP. It is the source of almost 300,000 Canadian jobs with direct, indirect and induced benefits in various sectors such as fisheries and aquaculture, maritime transport, ocean energy and technology, recreation and tourism.
WHAT IS PROSHT PROBLEM?
This is a multi-donor trust fund that “supports the sustainable and integrated development of marine and coastal resources in healthy oceans”. PROBLUE has four pillars: fisheries and aquaculture, marine pollution, ocean sectors and landscape management. To date, PROBLUE has received pledges of nearly $ 110 million from Canada, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, France and Germany.
There are many challenges ahead for those aiming to grow the blue economy. One is just the clear space of the seas on planet earth.
Waite noted that if the world’s ocean were to be measured as one place, it would be the seventh largest in the world.
And among the nations of the world, Canada governs a massive marine environment – three oceans and a coastline of about 244,000 kilometers.
These maritime areas are essential, not only for national economies, but for the global environment.
The Labrador Sea, for example, off the east coast of Canada, is referred to as the “lungs of the Earth.”
Sea water in that space absorbs carbon and heat; is a natural filter that helps regulate the global climate.
“The Labrador Sea is a bigger carbon sink than the Amazon rainforest,” Waite said. “The ocean is our climate.”
Protecting the oceanic environment will be an important task.
The economy of the ocean
Finding the balance between environmental protection and economic needs will be another.
Globally, said the director of the World Bank Kemper, one in 10 livelihoods depends on fishing, with women making up about half of the fish harvesting / processing workforce.
She said as Canada and other nations move towards sustainable management, there may be some short-term exchanges, but “in the long run we need to focus on sustainability”.
And as countries begin the recovery process from COVID, she said, some short-term solutions could help the long-term goal of sustainable ocean engagement.
“Governments may want to do big infrastructure projects to create jobs – putting money in people’s pockets in the short term,” she said, “and this can lead to things like cement marine walls to prevent erosion.” coastal, planting mangroves to rebuild swamps or doing salvage work on reefs. “
There is no discussion that there is still much to learn about the ocean.
According to Jordan, the current Canadian government has done a lot of work since 2015 to improve research and rebuild fish stocks.
For example, she said, funds were recently increased to expand the knowledge of kaplin, the fish that feeds other fish, in the Newfoundland and Labrador region.
“We are using the new funds to review this data to determine how it can be used to set benchmarks to advise resource managers,” she told SaltWire.
As of 2018 she noted, the federal government has completed reconstruction plans for six of the 19 fish stocks selected.
More than fishing
The blue economy is not just the fishing industry.
“Our ocean industries account for nearly $ 32 billion a year in GDP and 300,000 jobs across fisheries, aquaculture, energy, ocean technology, maritime transport, tourism and other industries.”
And the goal of ocean sustainability is a global goal, with a challenge for progressive nations to help underdeveloped countries in sustainable ocean management.
That is why Canada is also committed to helping other nations design their sustainable ocean plans through the World Bank’s PROBLUE fund.
Jordan announced Thursday that Canada will invest another $ 4 million in that fund, for a total commitment of $ 69 million, making it the top donor to the fund to date.
You can watch the full panel discussion here:
Transforming the ocean economy; principles
The following principles are outlined in the Transformation for a Sustainable Ocean Economy report, a vision document created by Canada and 13 other nations that are committed to adopting sustainable management of 100 percent of their oceans by 2025.
• recap: Ocean protection and production must comply with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Paulant Pollution Principle as set out in the Rio Declaration. Actions need to be harmonized through ocean and land-based activities and ecosystems.
• Including: Human rights, gender equality, participation of indigenous communities and peoples, through their free, prior and informed consent, must be respected and protected.
• knowledge: Ocean management should be informed by the best science and knowledge available, including local and indigenous knowledge, and assisted by innovation and technology.
• legality: The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea is the legal basis for all ocean activities, and existing international ocean commitments must be implemented as a foundation for achieving a sustainable ocean economy.
• Precautionary measures: When there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, the lack of complete scientific certainty will not be used as a reason to postpone cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.
• Protection: A healthy ocean supports a sustainable ocean economy. A net profit approach should be applied to ocean uses in order to help maintain or restore ocean health.
• elasticity: The sustainability of the ocean and ocean economy needs to be increased.
• solidarity: The need for access to finance, technology and capacity building for developing countries, especially the Lesser developing countries and less developed countries, needs to be recognized, given their particular circumstances and weaknesses.
• Stability: The production and harvesting of oceanic resources must be sustainable and support resilient ecosystems and future productivity.
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