Health of the Oceans: Enabling Responsible Marine Management

Description of Program, Policy or Program Proposal

The Health of the Oceans Initiative (HOTO) was established to protect unique and vulnerable marine areas, prevent degradation by countering pollution and strengthening pollution controls and prevention measures, and facilitating collaborative oceans management.

The renewal of the HOTO Initiative will advance the effort of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and Environment Canada (EC). DFO will work with EC to protect marine ecosystems through: the designation of new Marine Protected Areas; the advancement a network of Marine Protected Areas; the identification of key habitat sites to support better ocean management; and, Canada-US cooperation of the Gulf of Maine.

Summary of SEA Results

This proposal was developed to focus on both conservation and economic prosperity, and to build on previous investments. Proposed actions will focus on improved coordination and use of existing conservation tools, and enabling targeted conservation and stewardship efforts across marine ecosystems to take a holistic approach to management. The positive environmental outcomes include: conserving the biodiversity of marine ecosystems; and, restore species and ecosystems at risk.

Direct outcomes include: protection of vulnerable or sensitive habitats and species, through the creation of marine protected areas; and, oceans that are more resilient to change, supported by a national network of marine protected areas.

Indirect outcomes include: creation of the opportunity for the federal government to exercise modern oceans management in a complementary and harmonized manner, responding to expectations of Canadians to effectively implement the Oceans Act; build on progress made on the first Health of the Oceans initiative; offer opportunities for collaborations; and, increase certainty to industry and other marine users regarding the use of marine space.

Linkages to the Goals of the Federal Sustainability Development Strategy

The proposal will support Theme II "Maintaining Water Quality and Availability", Goal 3 "Water Quality and Availability" by supporting the protection of oceans and ecosystems. HOTO enables a modern and coordinated approach to managing the impact of human activities on Canada's oceans. This initiative is also making important progress in developing the network of marine protected areas, to protect the underlying integrity of the marine ecosystems for the sustainable development of Canada's Oceans and to safeguard special places and species.

The proposal will support Theme II "Protecting Nature and Canadians", Goal 4 "Conserving and Restoring Ecosystems, Wildlife and Habitat, and Protecting Canadians" by maintaining productive and resilient ecosystems with the capacity to recover, adapt, and protect areas in ways that leave them unimpaired for present and future generations.