World Oceans Day

World Oceans Day is a time to remember we are all connected to the oceans no matter where we live, no matter how far from the coast. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, along with other organizations from across the globe, seeks to raise awareness of the benefits and value of our oceans and the current challenges they face. Celebrate the life-giving role of oceans and take part in stewardship events and activities in your community from coast to coast to coast.

This year’s theme is “Our Oceans: Our Future” with a focus on reducing plastic waste that can harmfully affect the many different species that call our oceans home.

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The Government of Canada proposed the concept of World Oceans Day at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and the day has been celebrated internationally ever since. As of 2009, June 8 has been officially declared by the United Nations as "World Oceans Day".

World Oceans Day is celebrated later in the summer in the Arctic because of ice conditions. 2017’s national celebration will take place in Paulatuk, Northwest Territories on August 11.

Objectives of World Oceans Day

  • Change attitudes — encourage individuals to think about what the oceans mean to each of us, and what oceans have to offer.
  • Learn — discover the wealth of diverse and beautiful creatures and habitats found in the oceans, and how our actions affect them.
  • Change our ways — inspire all of us to become caretakers of our oceans, helping to protect and conserve them for our future.
  • Celebrate — organize or participate in ocean events, whether we live inland or on the coast.

Why our oceans are important

Canada is an ocean rich country. We have the world’s longest coastline linking three different oceans –Atlantic, Arctic, and Pacific. Our oceans are not only home to an immense web of marine life, they also generate half of the oxygen we breathe, act as thermostats to regulate the Earth’s temperature, and support a majority of our planet’s biodiversity. The coastal ecosystems that surround our oceans are also important as they support a wide diversity of marine and terrestrial species.

As Canadians, we are all connected to our oceans, which are significant to our heritage, culture, and economy, and essential to all life on the planet.

By exploring our links to the oceans, we learn just how closely connected we are to these vast bodies of water, and how what we do in our own backyards can impact them.

Water travels from our oceans into lakes and rivers, into the atmosphere, and then back to our oceans again. Our water resources are limited. The water present now on Earth is all there is. Protection of our oceans starts with protection of our rivers, and protection of our rivers starts with each of us.

Taking care of our oceans is a priority and there are many different organizations, communities and individuals that work together to protect and conserve our oceans.

For the Government of Canada, one of the most important initiatives has been the establishment of Marine Protected Areas. These are defined geographical spaces in the water that are dedicated and managed in an effort to conserve and protect unique areas, ecologically significant species and their habitats, and representative marine environments. They can also strengthen ecosystems so they function properly, providing goods and services such as clean air, water and food.

For more information on Oceans Act Marine Protected Areas, please visit our page Marine Protected Areas and Areas of Interest.

10 ways to get involved

You and your community can make an impact on Oceans Day no matter where you live!

  1. Learn: Learn all you can. Read, surf the web and experience the ocean directly.
  2. Conserve: Be mindful of your water consumption, especially when washing your car or watering your lawn.
  3. Reduce:  Cut down household pollutants and properly dispose of herbicides, pesticides, paints, and cleaning products.
  4. Recycle: Reduce waste. Dispose of trash properly. Where possible, recycle, reuse, and compost.
  5. Commute Consciously: Use fuel efficient vehicles, bicycles, or carpool to reduce automobile pollution. Recycle motor oil and repair oil and air conditioning leaks.
  6. Don’t Dump: Protect ocean wildlife. Don’t dispose of fishing lines, nets, or plastic items in or near the water.
  7. Care:  Be considerate of sea life habitats. Don’t bother sea birds, mammals, and turtles or their nesting grounds. Support marine protected areas.
  8. Take Action: Get involved. Take part in a beach cleanup or other ocean-oriented activities.
  9. Host: Plan an Oceans Day event in your community.
  10. Share: Spread the word on the importance of ocean health, on community events, and on World Oceans Day.
  • Follow us on Twitter for all the latest information and share photos of your World Oceans Day celebration using #WorldOceansDay and #CdnOceans.
  • Many other organizations sponsor World Oceans Day activities. For more information, visit WorldOceansDay.org, WorldOceansDay.ca or UNESCO.org.
  • You can also “like” World Oceans Day on Facebook.

Regional events and activities

Location Description Date / Time
Descanso Bay Regional Park, Gabriola Island, BC British Columbia B.C. Event hosted by Regional District of Nanaimo and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. DFO staff will be hosting interactive ocean touch tanks, a display on “determining the age of fish” and a display about marine mammals and leatherback turtles. Strawberry Isle Marine Research will bring BUILD-A-WHALE, an interactive killer whale skeleton that participants will build bone by bone. Over a dozen community groups will be sharing information about the marine conservation and education work they do. This is a community effort that is full of fun and learning for the whole family! Sunday June 11, 2017, 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm 2017-06-11 2017-11-06 06-11-2017 11-06-2017 2017/06/11 2017/11/06 06/11/2017 11/06/2017
Maffeo Sutton Park, Nanaimo, BC British Columbia B.C. Event hosted by City of Nanaimo and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). DFO staff will be hosting an interactive marine touch tank and displays on deep sea marine conservation, marine mammals and leatherback turtles, as well as how and why we age fish. Participants will get a chance to build a killer whale skeleton bone by bone with the interactive BUILD-A-WHALE program. This incredible day will have local students and the public diving deep into learning about the ocean and marine conservation! Thursday June 8, 2017, 10 am to 2 pm for students and 2 pm to 4 pm for the general public 2017-06-08 2017-08-06 06-08-2017 08-06-2017 2017/06/08 2017/08/06 06/08/2017 08/06/2017 2017/06/08 2017/08/06 06/08/2017 08/06/2017
401 Burrard Street, ground floor lobby, Vancouver, BC British Columbia B.C. DFO staff will be hosting a marine life viewing tank, and will be hosting two special presentations relating to this year’s conservation focus of plastic pollution and marine litter. The first presentation, Microplastics in the Ocean: Science in Support of Solutions, will be given by Dr. Peter Ross (Director of Ocean Pollution Research Program, Vancouver Aquarium). The second presentation will be on marine litter and strategies for minimizing shoreline debris, and will be given by Rachel Schoeler (Manager of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, Vancouver Aquarium). Oceans Program staff will be in the lobby for the duration of the event to answer questions about marine conservation, and to serve cake and coffee to guests! June 8, 2017, 10:30 am to 2:00 pm 2017-06-08 2017-08-06 06-08-2017 08-06-2017 2017/06/08 2017/08/06 06/08/2017 08/06/2017 2017/06/08 2017/08/06 06/08/2017 08/06/2017
Confederation Centre Public Library, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island PEI P.E.I. Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and the Confederation Centre Public Library are presenting a special storytime for Oceans Day. Chlidren aged 3 to 5 are invited to come learn about the adventures of The pout-pout fish in the big-big dark by Deborah Diesen. There will be an arts and craft project and an opportunity to learn about moss and seaweed with Irene Novaczek, DFO scientist.
Call the library to register at : 902-368-4644
June 8, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. 2017-06-08 2017-08-06 06-08-2017 08-06-2017 2017/06/08 2017/08/06 06/08/2017 08/06/2017 2017/06/08 2017/08/06 06/08/2017 08/06/2017
Basin Head Fisheries Museum located in Souris, Prince Edward Island PEI P.E.I. Learn all about the Basin Head Marine Protected Area with DFO’s an interactive kiosk at the Museum. Visit their website for more details. Starting June 5, 2017, and until the end of the Summer 2017-06-05 2017-05-06 06-05-2017 05-06-2017 2017/06/05 2017/05/06 06/05/2017 05/06/2017
Newfoundland and Labrador – Province-wide NL N.L. NFLD World Oceans Day Art Contest for Grades K-6
This is a joint effort of the Newfoundland and Labrador World Oceans Day Planning Committee (Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Parks Canada Agency, Fisheries Land and Resources, Canadians Parks and Wilderness Society, World Wildlife Fund Canada and the Marine Institute). One winner per grade level and classes that participate will be entered to win a class prize. Submissions will be displayed at the World Oceans Day Event held in St. John’s on June 3rd.
April 13, 2017 2017-04-13 2017-13-04 04-13-2017 13-04-2017 2017/04/13 2017/13/04 04/13/2017 13/04/2017
Newfoundland and Labrador – Province-wide NL N.L. NFLD World Oceans Day Photo/Essay Contest for Grades 7-12
This is a joint effort of the Newfoundland and Labrador World Oceans Day Planning Committee (Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Parks Canada Agency, Fisheries Land and Resources, Canadians Parks and Wilderness Society, World Wildlife Fund Canada and the Marine Institute). Prizes are awarded in two categories (grades 7-9 and 10-12). Submissions will be a photo-essay or a five minute video that demonstrates how they are an Ocean Hero. Submissions will be displayed at the World Oceans Day Event held in St. John’s on June 3rd.
May 8, 2017 2017-05-08 2017-08-05 05-08-2017 08-05-2017 2017/05/08 2017/08/05 05/08/2017 08/05/2017
Marine Institute, St. John’s, NL Newfoundland and Labrador N.L. NFLD World Oceans Day Family Event
Fisheries and Oceans Canada is partnering with the provincial Dept. of Fisheries and Aquaculture, the Fisheries Food and Allied Workers Union, World Wildlife Fund-Canada, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society and the Marine Institute for a World Oceans Day Family Event. The event showcases attractions for all ages including a variety of interactive and educational activities related to our oceans and fisheries. In 2016, this event hosted 28 exhibitors with an attendance of over 2000 people of all ages. It is expected these numbers will be repeated in 2017.
June 3, 2017 2017-06-03 2017-03-06 06-03-2017 03-06-2017 2017/06/03 2017/03/06 06/03/2017 03/06/2017
Corner Brook, NL, Benoit’s Cove, NL, Meadows, NL, Pasadena, NL, Deer Lake, NL Newfoundland and Labrador N.L. NFLD Youth Ocean Workshops
Fisheries and Oceans Canada is partnering with the Marine Institute, ACAP and the Qalipu First Nations for a series of six youth oceans workshops for all K-12 students in the areas of Corner Brook, Benoit’s Cove, Meadows, Pasadena and Deer Lake. One workshop will be facilitated in French. Workshops will include Aboriginal water dance/and presentations in respect to the ocean, talks on expanding the opportunity to increase awareness about marine sustainability, and provide hands on engagement activities in marine innovation and youth leadership.
June 5-7, 2017 2017-06-05 2017-06-06 2017-06-07 2017-05-06 2017-07-06 06-05-2017 06-06-2017 06-07-2017 05-06-2017 05-07-2017 2017/06/05 2017/06/06 2017/06/07 2017/05/06 2017/07/06 06/05/2017 06/06/2017 06/07/2017 05/06/2017 05/07/2017
Corner Brook, NL Newfoundland and Labrador N.L. NFLD World Oceans Day Radio Feature
CORNER BROOK CAFÉ RADIO with guest speakers will be hosting a 1 hour long session highlighting World Ocean Day activities and the week-long celebrations on the west coast of Newfoundland.
June 8, 2017 2017-06-08 2017-08-06 06-08-2017 08-06-2017 2017/06/08 2017/08/06 06/08/2017 08/06/2017
Grenfell Campus, Corner Brook, NL Newfoundland and Labrador N.L. NFLD World Oceans Day Lecture
This is open to the public and college students and will be held at the Grenfell Campus from 6-8:30pm. Discussions will be held on the Carbon Code, Qalipu presentation, and a recap of Oceans Day events in the area followed by refreshments. Guest speaker: Dr. Brett Favaro from the Marine Institute.
June 8, 2017 2017-06-08 2017-08-06 06-08-2017 08-06-2017 2017/06/08 2017/08/06 06/08/2017 08/06/2017
Rocky Harbour, NL, Norris Point, NL Newfoundland and Labrador N.L. NFLD Better Bag Challenge
As part of the International Better Bag Challenge (commit to the use of reusable bags instead of disposable for a year), 2-3 local grocery stores will be supplied with reusable bags to be handed out on June 8th.
June 8, 2017 2017-06-08 2017-08-06 06-08-2017 08-06-2017 2017/06/08 2017/08/06 06/08/2017 08/06/2017
Stephenville, NL, St. George’s , NL Newfoundland and Labrador N.L. NFLD Beach Clean‐ups and World Oceans Day Activities
Fisheries and Oceans Canada is partnering with local elementary and high schools, ACAP, River Guardians, Canadian Coast Guard, Qalipu First Nations, Sub Sea 7, Museum of Nature, RCMP and local towns to carry out various activities for grades K - 8. These include beach clean ups, creation of beach art, marine plastics and ecosystems climate hero activities, and Qalipu First Nations talks with mini breakout sessions.
June 8, 2017 2017-06-08 2017-08-06 06-08-2017 08-06-2017 2017/06/08 2017/08/06 06/08/2017 08/06/2017
Change Islands, NL Newfoundland and Labrador N.L. NFLD Community Beach Cleanup
Open to the public, a community beach cleanup will take place in the area of Change Islands.
June 8, 2017 2017-06-08 2017-08-06 06-08-2017 08-06-2017 2017/06/08 2017/08/06 06/08/2017 08/06/2017
New World Island, NL Newfoundland and Labrador N.L. NFLD Community Beach Cleanup
Open to the public, a community beach cleanup will take place in the area of New World Island.
June 8, 2017 2017-06-08 2017-08-06 06-08-2017 08-06-2017 2017/06/08 2017/08/06 06/08/2017 08/06/2017
Johnson Geo Centre, St. John’s, NL Newfoundland and Labrador N.L. NFLD World Oceans Day Lecture
As part of the Public Lecture Series by the Johnson Geo Centre, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has partnered with World Wildlife Fund Canada and the Johnson Geo Centre to provide a free evening of talks with an oceans focus. The lecture series is a platform to bring together scientists, researchers and the general public – effecting a sharing of knowledge that can broaden each individual’s outlook on our marine world.
June 8, 2017 2017-06-08 2017-08-06 06-08-2017 08-06-2017 2017/06/08 2017/08/06 06/08/2017 08/06/2017
Twillingate, NL Newfoundland and Labrador N.L. NFLD World Ocean Day Activities for Schools
Fisheries and Oceans Canada will host a Poster Contest with Primary/Elementary Schools with Oceans Day related prizes and an essay Contest with Junior/Senior High Schools with the prize being a Fishery Officer for the day.
Week of June 5-9, 2017 2017-06-05 2017-06-06 2017-06-07 2017-06-08 2017-06-09 06-05-2017 06-06-2017 06-07-2017 06-08-2017 06-09-2017 2017/06/05 2017/06/06 2017/06/07 2017/06/08 2017/06/09 06/05/2017 06/06/2017 06/07/2017 06/08/2017 06/09/2017
Twillingate, NL Newfoundland and Labrador N.L. NFLD Community Beach Cleanup
Open to the public, a community beach cleanup will take place in the area of Twillingate.
June 8, 2017 2017-06-08 2017-08-06 06-08-2017 08-06-2017 2017/06/08 2017/08/06 06/08/2017 08/06/2017
Twillingate, NL Newfoundland and Labrador N.L. NFLD World Oceans Day Family Fun Day Event
Fisheries and Oceans Canada will host a family day event including educational displays and videos, prize draws, salt water aquarium, touch tank, tours of patrol vessels, dunk tank and a fish pond. Donations to the local food bank will be accepted for game playing. Local Lions Club will be attending with Cotton Candy. This event will also promote the Better Bag Challenge (commit to the use of reusable bags instead of disposable for a year).
June 10, 2017 2017-06-10 2017-10-06 06-10-2017 10-06-2017 2017/06/10 2017/10/06 06/10/2017 10/06/2017
Fogo Island, NL Newfoundland and Labrador N.L. NFLD Beach Clean‐up and World Oceans Day Celebration
Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Town of Fogo Island, the Fogo Island Harbour Authority and the Shorefast Foundation have partnered for a community beach clean‐up and celebration at the Fisherman’s Union Trading Company premises with local music, face painting, touch tank, guest speakers, games for the kids and a BBQ (provided by Scotiabank).
June 10, 2017 2017-06-10 2017-10-06 06-10-2017 10-06-2017 2017/06/10 2017/10/06 06/10/2017 10/06/2017
Glovertown, NL Newfoundland and Labrador N.L. NFLD World Ocean Day Activities
Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Glovertown Academy are having a beach clean-up followed by school presentations on species at risk, a demonstration of urban pollution and their effects on wetlands, estuaries and the ocean, a touch tank experience and viewing of a fisheries patrol boat.
TBD
Hopedale, NL Newfoundland and Labrador N.L. NFLD World Oceans Day Event
Fisheries and Oceans Canada has been invited to join the North Coast Community and local schools in World Oceans Day events. Further details to follow.
TBD (weather-dependant)
Terrenceville, NL Newfoundland and Labrador N.L. NFLD Community Beach Clean-up and World Oceans Day Celebration
Fisheries and Oceans Canada has partnered with the Town of Terrenceville for a community beach clean-up. Cake a refreshments will be provided. Further details to follow.
TBD
Placentia, NL Newfoundland and Labrador N.L. NFLD Community Beach Clean-up
Fisheries and Oceans Canada will be partnering with the RCMP in a community beach clean-up. Further details to follow.
TBD
Rocky Harbour, NL, Norris Point, NL Newfoundland and Labrador N.L. NFLD Community Beach Clean-up and World Oceans Day Activities
Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Bonne Bay Marine Station and the community of Norris Point have partnered for a beach clean-up, oceans related games and activities and refreshments at the community hall.
TBD
Maritime Museum of the Atlantic on the Halifax waterfront Nova Scotia NS N.S. The Ocean + You
DFO employees from Ecosystem Management and Science will be at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic to take part in the annual Oceans Day celebration. DFO’s exhibit will include fish samples from research efforts that visitors can see and touch, information related to marine protected areas, species at risk as well as information about whales including insight into the sounds they make.
Friday June 2, 2017 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m 2017-06-02 2017-02-06 06-02-2017 02-06-2017 2017/06/02 2017/02/06 06/02/2017 02/06/2017
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