The Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, announced that the Government of Canada is formally launching the Canada Nature Fund for Aquatic Species at Risk: a $55 million investment over five years to support the recovery of aquatic species at risk.

“Through the Canada Nature Fund for Aquatic Species at Risk, the Government of Canada will help protect and promote the recovery of species at risk,” said the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard. “We know this must be a shared responsibility, which is why we are partnering with others to fund the right projects that will help us protect aquatic habitat and species at risk for the future.”

This announcement was made as part of a $1.3 billion Nature Legacy Initiative, which was established by the Government of Canada in Budget 2018 to advance work towards meeting its nature protection goals.

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“Our waterways in Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge not only create a breathtaking natural environment, but they are also home to numerous aquatic species,” said Dan Ruimy, Member of Parliament for Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge. “Through the Canada Nature Fund for Aquatic Species at Risk, the Government of Canada will work with partners here in B.C., and across Canada, to protect and improve aquatic habitats. Our appreciation for nature must be coupled with action to protect it.”

In partnership with Indigenous communities, organizations, provinces and territories, industry, and academia, this fund focuses on seven priority freshwater places and two priority marine threats. These federal targeted investments will directly support aquatic conservation and species at risk across the country and in our oceans.

The priority areas identified are located in:

  • Fraser and Columbia Watersheds (BC)
  • Rocky Mountains’ Eastern Slopes (AB)
  • Southern Prairies (AB, SK, MB)
  • Lower Great Lakes Watershed (ON)
  • Lawrence Lowlands / basses-terres du Saint-Laurent (QC)
  • Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence Rivers (NB, NS, PEI)
  • Bay of Fundy and Southern Uplands Watersheds (NS, NB)

The two priority marine threats identified are:

  • Fishing interactions such as entanglements and bycatch of aquatic species at risk.
  • Physical and acoustic disturbance, including ship strikes and marine noise.

Protecting these species is a shared responsibility. Through this fund, the Government of Canada is helping to build a culture of conservation, and one that empowers Canadian organizations to join in the collaborative efforts to conserve nature.

The Government of Canada is now accepting Expressions of Interest from potential partners to support the conservation of biodiversity through collaboration and partnership to recover aquatic species at risk.

Project partners will be expected to match funding. Interested parties are encouraged to review the eligibility criteria and submit an expression of interest by March 22, 2019.  Successful applicants at this stage will be invited to submit a project proposal for further consideration.

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