Earlier this week, the Ecology Action Centre joined a group of 17 NGOs from across Canada in sending a joint letter to Bernadette Jordan, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coastguard. The letter calls on government to ensure that the protection of our marine ecosystems and coastal communities are a part of economic recovery efforts from the COVID-19 crisis, and outlines key areas of focus for investment.
The groups offer five blue priorities to ensure that a healthy ocean can help sustain Canada’s collective recovery:
- Ensure healthy oceans for healthy communities
- Protect and restore important coastal and marine ecosystems
- Invest in natural climate solutions and a just transition for ocean economies
- Reduce ocean pollution
- Attach “blue strings” to recovery investments
More than 7 million Canadians live on or near the coast and Canada’s ocean economy contributes more than $35 billion to the national economy while employing more than 350,000 people. Our oceans are a highly complex and integrated environment that provide us with an array of ecosystem services, but whose contributions and mysteries are in many ways still unknown. It is imperative we continue improving our understanding and support strong stewardship of marine ecosystems if we want them to provide for Canadians and the world, both now and in the future.
As the federal government prepares to implement paths forward out of the COVID-19 crisis, the EAC looks forward to working with Minister Jordan, and urges government at all levels to ensure that the protection of our oceans is a key part of a just and sustainable recovery for all.