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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Almost everyone who has seen the gruesome videos of sharks having their fins cut off and their mutilated bodies dumped back into the ocean, barely alive but doomed to drown, is outraged by this barbaric practice. Even more so upon learning that there is no nutritional value in shark fin soup or any shark fin products.
Don't cue the theme from Jaws for 20-year-old Madison Stewart, A.K.A. the "Shark Girl." Madison has been diving with the sharks since the age of 12 in the Great Barrier Reef and she loathes the hype propagated in movies from Jaws to Sharknado that these mysterious beasts are "mindless blood thirsty killers."