Ottawa – Canada participated in this year’s Our Ocean Conference in Panama March 2-3, 2023. Under the theme of “Our Ocean, Our Connection,” participants focused on the importance of knowledge as the basis for global action while considering how to ensure the protection of the ocean, responsible management of marine resources, and sustainable future economic growth.
Through their participation in the Conference, Canada advanced objectives in three strategic areas:
- Combatting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing;
- Promoting Canada’s progress towards a global commitment to protect 30 per cent of the world’s oceans by 2030; and
- Advocating the importance of the ocean to fight climate change.
Combatting IUU fishing is a top priority for Canada. At the Conference Canada engaged with partners and advanced international efforts to combat IUU fishing. Canada welcomed seven new members to the IUU-Action Alliance, which Canada established with the United Kingdom and United States last year. Canada continues to show its commitment to detecting and deterring IUU fishing activity, with a view to protecting fish stocks, marine ecosystems, and the livelihoods of those living in coastal communities around the world.
Canada has already made tremendous strides in conserving its oceans. Through the establishment and effective management of marine protected areas (MPAs) and other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs), including marine refuges, Canada has committed to conserving 25 per cent of Canada’s oceans by 2025, and 30 per cent by 2030. MPAs, OECMs, and conservation networks are vital nature-based solutions that can support global efforts towards climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Canada has also demonstrated global leadership in efforts to advance marine conservation, demonstrated most recently by hosting the Fifth International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC5) in February 2023. The Our Ocean Conference was an opportunity to continue building momentum in promoting global marine conservation.
“The ocean is a vital part of the Canadian identity. Through the global collective interest and cooperation in evidence at the Our Ocean Conference, measurable progress can be made to reduce IUU fishing, meet marine conservation targets and address climate change, ensuring that Canadians, and others around the world can enjoy the benefits of the ocean now, and into the future.” – The Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
- Climate change remains a considerable threat to our planet, our well-being and economic stability. Canada recognizes that our coasts and oceans play a fundamental role in addressing impacts of climate change by serving as major carbon sinks. Healthy coastal ecosystems also play a key role in mitigating the impacts of extreme weather events which result from changing climatic conditions. The Our Ocean Conference provided the opportunity for participants to better understand linkages between climate change and the ocean.
- In June 2022, Canada, along with the United Kingdom and United States, launched the IUU-Action Alliance to stimulate ambition and action in the fight against IUU fishing. This alliance builds on existing partnerships between Canada and other governments and non-governmental organizations to advance research and development, as well as data collection and sharing to combat IUU fishing.
- In November 2022, Canada announced its Indo-Pacific Strategy. As part of this strategy, Canada will establish a new Shared Ocean Fund ($84.3 million over five years), to promote a healthy marine environment, including taking on a broader role in combatting IUU fishing in the region.
- In February 2023, Canada welcomed the international community to Vancouver, British Columbia, for the Fifth International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC5). IMPAC5 brought together ocean conservation professionals and officials from around the world to exchange knowledge as well as inform, inspire and act on marine protected areas