OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 06/07/13 -- On the occasion of World Oceans Day, the Honourable Keith Ashfield, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, issued the following statement about the June 8th celebration:
"More than 20 years ago, it was Canada that proposed raising awareness about the importance of our oceans by celebrating World Oceans Day and now, it is a day that is commemorated globally every year on June 8th.
"Decades later, our government remains committed to protecting the health of our oceans and ensuring the responsible use of our marine resources.
"Economic Action Plan 2012 contained several measures to protect and promote the responsible use of our resources. For example, our government renewed funding - for the second year in a row - for the Health of the Oceans initiative, which protects unique and vulnerable marine areas, improves monitoring of marine pollution, and increases coordination and management of marine-based activities.
"We have also established eight Marine Protected Areas under the Oceans Act, and the designations of an additional eight areas are in various stages of completion. Collectively, the Marine Protected Areas established by federal, provincial and territorial governments cover close to 60,000 square kilometers of Canada's marine territory.
"This week, we announced voluntary measures for merchant and cruise ships to reduce the risk of collisions with whales in areas of the St. Lawrence Estuary that are highly frequented for feeding. These measures have been developed in close collaboration with the marine industry and various organizations over the last two years.
"Internationally, we have also made important advancements. This past year, the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization, of which Canada is a member, adopted a wide range of enhanced measures designed to protect or rebuild key fish stocks in the Northwest Atlantic and to strengthen protection for vulnerable marine ecosystems.
"We have also been directly involved in the negotiation of the North Pacific Fisheries Convention. This Convention responds to international commitments to create a new Regional Fisheries Management Organization in the North Pacific Ocean to manage unregulated stocks. Canada is expected to be one of the first of the negotiating parties to ratify the new Convention.
"Important work continues to be done at the local level in our communities. Our government thanks each and every volunteer who participates in beach cleanups and Ocean Day activities that serve to recognize the importance of this incredible natural resource. Additional information can be found about these regional events at the Fisheries and Oceans Canada website at: http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca
"We are all connected to the oceans no matter where we live. On behalf of the Government of Canada, I invite all Canadians to participate in World Oceans Day activities. Together, we will work to protect and conserve Canada's oceans for future generations to come."
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Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Office of the Minister
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
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