The world’s oceans produce more than half of the oxygen that sustains life on the planet. And their ability to absorb carbon dioxide helps protect all life from the harsh impact of climate change.
Our oceans are also the main source of protein for about one billion people around the world. And more than 200 million people fish for a living.
Canada has the world’s longest coastline—bordering the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic oceans—and one of the largest ocean bodies of any country in the world.
Once considered an inexhaustible source of food, our oceans are now in a state of global crisis caused by overfishing—which is the single biggest threat to ocean life—and poor management.
Oceans in crisis
Bycatch, which is the unintended capture of certain species, is one of the biggest problems in fishing. Every day, millions of non-target fish are caught and die. Each year, more than 250,000 marine turtles, 300,000 cetaceans and thousands of endangered sharks are trapped in commercial fishing gear.
Other demands on our oceans are accelerating. Shipping, tourism, oil and gas, renewable energy and the growth of coastal communities—all of these take a toll on ocean habitats and species. What’s more, climate change is changing ocean temperatures and acidification.
This is why we urgently need smart ocean management plans that protect important ocean ecosystems—and will keep all our oceans healthy.