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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.

Keeping Canada's oceans healthy

9 ways to get involved

Your community and you can have an impact on oceans 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. Share: Spread the word and organize community events on the importance of ocean health.


Conserving our oceans

Conserving our oceans

To date, Canada has conserved nearly 14 % of its oceans.

Report on Canada’s MPAs

National overview of how we are progressing toward the effective management of Oceans Act MPAs.

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