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Canada's marine territorial waters measure 5.75 million square kilometres, equivalent to the combined area of India and Greenland. Collectively, Canada's coasts of the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic Oceans are more than 243,000 kilometres in length -- the longest of any country in the world.
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Researchers are just starting to learn about the two-metre, scale-free ragfish with cartilage skeleton and flabby flesh found in Alaskan waters, and the faceless fish found in Australian waters, whose eyes, gills and mouth are hidden. That we're still discovering new wonders in the oceans is even more reason to protect them. We have a long way to go, though.
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For the first time ever, the ocean protection community is commemorating World Oceans Day without one of its biggest champions, Canadian conservationist and filmmaker Rob Stewart. More than ever though, we are reminded of the movement he inspired with his 2006 film "Sharkwater," to stop the extinction-level crisis facing many shark species.
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there are two wolves inside each of us, continuously in conflict. One is evil: it is anger, jealousy, resentment, greed, arrogance and lies. The other is good: it is serenity, contentment, love, generosity, humility and truth. The grandson thinks for a minute, then asks, "Which one wins?" The old man answers simply, "The one we feed."
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The federal government recently created two marine protected areas in the Pacific region and has committed to increase ocean protection from one per cent to 10 by 2020. But will this be enough? Thinking of the ocean in square kilometres is just skimming the surface. Life thrives throughout the water column, top to bottom.
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There are currently 150 million tonnes of plastic debris floating in the world's oceans. Most of it takes centuries to break down. Thousands of large animals -- such as turtles and birds -- die every year from indigestible plastic debris in the ocean. Millions of other sea creatures suffer when they consume plastic.
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The first electrons of power flowed across the seabed in Nova Scotia's Minas Basin recently delivering electricity to homes, from a giant instream tidal device. I want to be excited about it. Happy even. Instead, it's tainted by the dismissive attitude of Nova Scotia's government towards indigenous people and fishers, or really anyone in the province who raises concerns about the potential impact on their lives from these experiments.
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Marine mammals such as the North Atlantic right whale are threatened by shipping collisions and entanglement in fishing gear. Beluga whales are threatened by chemical and noise pollution, as well as loss of habitat. And all species in Canada will feel the effects of climate change, which is happening faster than species can adapt.
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Climate change is amplifying a long list of stressors salmon already face. Sockeye salmon are sensitive to temperature changes, so higher ocean and river temperatures can have serious impacts. Even small degrees of warming can kill them. Low river flows from unusually small snowpacks linked to climate change make a tough journey even harder.
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Canada has its own commitments to live up to: to protect five per cent of Canada's marine territory by 2017 and 10 per cent by 2020. We know we can get there. We just need to get going.
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If you have a desire to sip on an endless string of rum cocktails by the beach -- well, dream no more -- it can be your reality. Feed your piggy banks generously and save up for a trip to Saint Lucia;...
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Some Canadians may remember the collapse of the cod and groundfish fisheries in 1992, which resulted in 30,000 lost jobs and cost $4 billion dollars. As we approach the 25th anniversary of this cautionary event, we are finally seeing early signs of a fragile but broad-based cod recovery.
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At Hawks Cay Resort on the island of Duck Key in Florida, people are not only drawn to this vacation spot for sun and relaxation, they come to interact with marine life as well. The resort property hosts a conservation area called Dolphin Connection.
Shell Canada has relinquished 30 oil and gas exploration permits that were the subject of a lawsuit launched by WWF-Canada. Now, after decades of struggle, nothing stands in the way of finally creating a National Marine Conservation Area in Lancaster Sound, with all the significant protection measures that includes.
June 8 marks World Oceans Day, but what if we celebrated oceans every day? Covering more than 70 per cent of Earth's surface, oceans, more than anything, define our small blue planet. We should celebrate their complex and vibrant ecosystems, life-sustaining services, calming effects and unimaginable diversity, much of which we have not yet even discovered.
We NEED the ocean to breathe, it's really that simple! In fact, marine plants give us terra-firma dwellers 70 per cent of the oxygen we need to live. And, even though we know this, we are still polluting the atmosphere so much that the temperature and chemistry of the oceans are changing.
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There are nine restaurants and seven bars that offer a spectrum of international cuisines and drinks. As your willing guinea pig, I sampled my way through as many eateries as possible. Here are my top recommendations for what you should and should not devour.
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While the announcement about an investment in science is a welcome relief, it can only lead to healthier fish stocks if the government gathers and shares information about them, and uses the science to allow depleted species to rebuild - something successive governments have ignored.
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Why are creatures like electric rays, which prefer warmer southern California or Baja waters, turning up with greater frequency further north? Unlike land temperatures, which constantly fluctuate, ocean temperatures are usually stable, with virtually no daily changes, little seasonal differentiation and only minor shifts over decades.
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“That is a mass extinction and there is every reason to believe that we are triggering it.”
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"Marine mammal interactions" (a.k.a. deaths) are a well-known and inevitable consequence of open-pen salmon farming. It's hard not to see how putting large numbers of slow-moving, artificially fattened fish directly into the habitat of hungry sea lions is flawed by design.
It's encouraging that our newly elected federal government has agreed to improve efforts to safeguard Canada's oceans. Ocean protection here is shamefully deficient, currently at around one per cent. Weak ocean protection hinders our coasts' ability to remain resilient in the face of many challenges.
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Canada was one of many countries at the 2010 UN Convention on Biological Diversity to commit to protecting 10 per cent of its marine areas by 2020. As a marine nation bordering three oceans with over seven million square kilometres of ocean area and the longest coastline of any country, Canada has a responsibility to lead on ocean stewardship. We have acts, policies and departments to support strong positions to safeguard ocean ecosystems. Yet the reality is that more has been said than done.
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It's possible to extract resources with attention to environmental consequences, but unless it's done in ways that ensure the planet remains healthy enough to support human life, where all people enjoy peace, health and food security, can it really be called sustainable?
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We don't need to look any further than the collapse of Newfoundland's northern cod fishery to be reminded of how communities are impacted when resources are overexploited. For centuries, the cod stocks in this region seemed inexhaustible. But when the fishery collapsed in 1992, over 40,000 people lost their jobs.
A growing body of research confirms the health benefits of getting outside. Kids who spend time in nature every day are healthier, happier, more creative, less stressed and more alert than those who don't. As parents, grandparents, caregivers and educators, it's our responsibility to raise kids with healthy nature habits.
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I have written before about how you are never too old to learn a new sport or spend time outdoors. Kayaking is no exception. It is an amazing way to enjoy nature, be close to the water and spend some fun times with friends and family.
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Some of my favourite memories are paddling and laughing with friends. Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) has really taken off in the past few years and it seems now more than ever people are trying this fun outdoor activity.
This vast diversity of sharks globally play important roles in keeping our oceans healthy. Removing key species like sharks, can have serious consequences for marine ecosystems, which, because they are connected to everything else, has repercussions for people everywhere.
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June 8 is World Oceans Day. In Canada, it's a time to celebrate the rich marine life in three great oceans off the longest coastline of any nation -- trillions of plankton, billions of fish, millions of seabirds, thousands of whales and myriad other creatures great and small. Yet, we have little to celebrate when it comes to looking after this natural legacy
When carbon dioxide (CO2) is emitted into the atmosphere it doesn't just stay there -- about 25 per cent of emissions are absorbed into the ocean, increasing the acidity of the ocean. An ocean increasing in acidity is not a very friendly place for its creatures, many of which play critical roles in marine food webs and are vital sources of human food. I recently travelled to Italy and across North America investigating how ocean acidification could impact marine life. While I like to remain hopeful in most things, what I learned has made me very worried about the future of the ocean.
I used to eat a lot of shrimp, but based on my travels examining foreign shrimp farms and various unsustainable and sustainable fishing practices, now I am much more selective. Supporting more sustainable options is a good start but with the vast majority of the global shrimp industry based on destructive harvesting methods, widespread change will take a long time.