March 7, 2019
St. Andrews, New Brunswick – Canada’s marine ecosystems are vital to the livelihoods, well-being and cultural heritage of countless Indigenous and coastal communities. They are home to abundant fisheries, attract tourism and recreation, and allow the import and export of goods through responsible shipping.
Conserving and protecting these areas for future generations while encouraging economic growth requires wide-ranging scientific baseline data. This data is vital for scientists to detect changes in our environment and any impacts on marine ecosystems over time caused by shipping and other human activities.
To support these objectives, Member of Parliament for New Brunswick Southwest, Karen Ludwig, on behalf of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, announced today in Saint John, New Brunswick, that the Government of Canada is investing $710,000 in four marine environmental data collection projects in the Port of Saint John through the Coastal Environmental Baseline Program, which is part of Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan.
These projects, which fall under the $50.8 million Coastal Environmental Baseline Program, will support the advancement of coastal data collection projects and involve close collaboration between Fisheries and Oceans Canada scientists, Indigenous and coastal communities, and other local partners. Participating groups will gather comprehensive data that will help detect changes in our marine environment over time.
The three organizations receiving funding announced today include Eastern Charlotte Waterways Inc., Fundy North Fishermen’s Association and Huntsman Marine Science Centre.
Their projects will focus on obtaining environmental baseline data on: fish and zooplankton communities; underwater noise and its impacts on marine mammals; the presence of microplastics and other environmental contaminants resulting from human activities; fish harvesters’ knowledge of surface currents as a source of oceanographic data; and other important ecosystem parameters in the Port of Saint John.
These collaborative efforts will enable researchers to track baseline ecosystem status, detect changes over time in the marine environment and gain insights needed to protect sensitive aquatic species and habitats. The information generated may also inform a new assessment framework to help understand the cumulative impacts of marine shipping and to better safeguard Canadian waters.
“Close partnerships with Indigenous and coastal communities are vital to the success of the Coastal Environmental Baseline Program. These communities have been safeguarding Canadian waters since time immemorial. They have precious insights and expertise to share about Canada’s coastal species and spaces.”
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
“These Coastal Environmental Baseline initiatives reflect a deep understanding that a strong economy and a healthy environment go hand-in-hand. The resulting data will reinforce science-based policymaking and continue to guide economic growth while conserving Canada’s marine ecosystems into the future.”
Karen Ludwig, Member of Parliament for New Brunswick Southwest
- In September 2017, the Government of Canada announced the $50.8 million Coastal Environmental Baseline Program to collect wide-ranging scientific baseline data in six marine ecosystems with high vessel traffic and coastline development: the Port of Vancouver, BC; the Port of Prince Rupert, BC; the Lower St. Lawrence Estuary, QC; the Port of Saint John, NB; Placentia Bay, NL; and Iqaluit, NU.
- This baseline data will be critically important to our understanding of marine ecosystems and essential to our ability to protect marine species and habitats into the future. The data will also be used to inform decisions that could impact on sensitive marine environments.
- The Coastal Environmental Baseline Program is one of many actions the Government of Canada is taking to safeguard our coasts and waterways under the $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan. This national plan will establish a world-leading marine safety system that provides economic opportunities for Canadians today, while ensuring our coastlines are healthier, safer and better protected for future generations.
- Backgrounder – Collecting vital baseline data on the state of coastal ecosystems Oceans Protection Plan
- Coastal Environmental Baseline Program (webpage)
- Coastal Environmental Baseline Program (factsheet)
- Oceans Protection Plan
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
Fisheries and Oceans Canada