Demand Canada Protect its Ocean Resources

Target: Keith Ashfield, Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Goal: Demand that Canada fulfill its promises to protect ocean resources.

The Oceans Act of 1996 was implemented in response to international criticism of Canada’s poor ocean conservation measures. The act promised dramatically higher standards for the country’s management of its vast marine resources. Now, sixteen years later, the Oceans Act remains unfulfilled and marine life in Canada maintains a steady decline.  Furthermore, the country has resisted implementation of a new ocean sustainability program, which was outlined during the June 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

Canada’s waters are plagued by declining fish populations, invasive species, extreme pollution levels, and general habitat degradation. These same waters are home to 32 endangered or threatened species. According to the Oceans Act, the country was to designate at least five Marine Protected Areas by the end of 2002. Now in 2012, only two have been designated, representing less than one percent of the region’s ocean area. Also, according to the act, Canada was to inform the public of its progress through state-of-the-ocean reports. These reports have been vague, and the accompanying online ocean tracking system has gone several years without updates. To put it simply, the Oceans Act has not been implemented.

Canada has a responsibility to protect its share of our planet’s resources, a responsibility that has been repeatedly ignored. Lazy government policies and greedy corporate practices threaten some of the world’s most celebrated ocean habitats. By signing the petition below, you can ask Canadian Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Keith Ashfield to institute the long-awaited environmental promises as outlined in the Oceans Act.


Dear Hon. Keith Ashfield,

Canada instituted the Oceans Act in 1996 as a response to internationally recognized shortcomings in ocean resource management. As you are probably aware, the commitments made at that time have not been fulfilled. Rather than the five promised Marine Protected Areas, Canada has instituted only two, representing less than one percent of the country’s ocean area. Overfishing has not been corrected, and vital populations such as salmon and cod remain on the decline. The unparalleled waters of your country represent an invaluable piece of the Canadian economy, and yet their protection has not been made a priority.

At the recent United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Canadian representatives resisted new measures of marine protection on the stance that they would be ‘duplicative’ of the already existing plans. This seems a poor excuse when you consider Canada’s lack of action to meet these prior commitments.

Please hold your country responsible for the promises it has made, and take action to implement the Ocean Act of 1996. There is still time to preserve these vital resources.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Soggydan via everystockphoto.

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65 Signatures

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