Canada's Oceans Strategy

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Our Oceans, Our Future

As Canada's Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, it gives me great pleasure to present Canada's Oceans Strategy. This far-reaching policy framework will make Canada's vision for modern oceans management a reality.

As a country bordered by three oceans, Canada is truly an oceans nation. Today we see an ever increasing number of demands on oceans and their resources. While traditional fishing and marine transportation continue to be of prime importance, they are now joined by other uses, such as aquaculture development, oil and gas exploration and development, recreational and commercial fishing, and eco-tourism. Canada's oceans also support important features of Canada's social and cultural identity. Managing these demands is critical to the protection of the marine environment and the long-term sustainability of Canada's oceans and their resources.

On January 31, 1997, the Government of Canada brought the Oceans Act into force, making Canada the first country in the world to have comprehensive oceans management legislation. The Act authorizes the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada to lead the development of a national oceans management strategy, guided by the principles of sustainable development, the precautionary approach and integrated management.

Since 1997, the federal government has moved quickly to develop and implement, with interested Canadians, oceans management initiatives on all three coasts. The Oceans Strategy, which provides an overall strategic approach to oceans management, has been developed based on the lessons learned and the issues identified through this work.

We are now seeking to implement this strategy through further collaboration. The sustainable development and integrated management of our oceans requires the help and ideas of local communities, industries, Aboriginal peoples, provinces and territories, environmental groups and other interests.

Your support is important. I am confident that by working together we will ensure that Canada strengthens its well-deserved reputation as a world leader in oceans management while also ensuring the long-term sustainability of Canada's oceans and their resources.


Robert G. Thibault,
Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

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