Climate change and its impacts on marine ecosystems are at the heart of Canada’s conservation goals now and in the future, according to a new federal report on the Pacific Ocean.
Released June 9th Canada’s Oceans Now: Pacific Ecosystems, 2021shows the key challenges facing marine ecosystems, coastal community livelihoods, fisheries and other marine economies.
Climate change is making the water warmer, more acidic and less oxygenated, according to a press release announcing the report. It also causes habitat and species loss and affects marine food webs.
Daily sea surface temperatures along BC’s coasts over the past 80 years show the water has warmed by 0.7°C, resulting in more extreme ocean heat waves. These changes are altering the ecosystems that Canadian Pacific salmon rely on throughout their life cycle.
“We are seeing changes happening on the West Coast that are having a significant impact on our coastal communities. This report contributes to how we understand these changes in the environment,” said Joyce Murray, Secretary of State for Fisheries and the Oceans. “The more we know what lies ahead for marine ecosystems, the more we can provide sustainable harvesting opportunities while preserving and working to restore marine ecosystems.”
Environment and Climate Secretary Steven Guilbeault added to this.
“We are seeing the impact of carbon-rich pollution on degraded ocean habitats, shrinking ice sheets and rising sea levels,” he said. “Our generation has the opportunity to stop this pollution and the warming of our climate, which is why our government has set the ambitious but achievable goal of net-zero emissions pollution.”
Guilbeault said conservation is one of the best ways to fight climate change and support biodiversity. Scientists are using tools and technology like sailing drones, environmental DNA, cameras and more to monitor changes in Pacific waters.
The government says it has protected 14.6 percent of its marine area and is on track to conserve and protect 25 percent by 2025 and 30 percent by 2030.
For the full report see Government of Canada website.
Climate ChangeFederal PolicyFisheries and Oceans Canada