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It’s International Biodiversity Day!


Whales and seals and kelp – oh, my! Today, people all across the globe are celebrating the wonders of our oceans and all of the magnificent flora and fauna that marine ecosystems support. Over a decade ago, the UN proclaimed May 22nd International Day for Biological Diversity, and this year the celebration is focused on increasing awareness and understanding of marine biodiversity.

Oceans offer up more than a whopping 90% of all habitable space on the entire planet, and here in Canada we are lucky to be home to one of the largest ocean territories in the world; however, it is unfortunately the case that less than 1% of this territory is protected through meaningful long-term conservation measures. Much of our prized marine habitat is under threat and there is a pressing need for us to recognize the importance of protecting this habitat.

Last year, CPAWS called for the creation of 12 new marine protected areas (MPAs) by the end of 2012 to renew a commitment our government made 7 years ago to establish a network of MPAs in Canada. We recently conducted a review of the progress being made at each of the 12 recommended sites – check out the full report here. What we found is that while certain sites are making progress, we still have a long way to go in establishing strong and effective conservation measures to safeguard the health of our marine ecosystems.

Marine conservation is a matter very near and dear to our hearts here at CPAWS, as it is with Canadians across the country, and we continue to work tirelessly towards increasing marine protection in Canada. We’re aiming to get 12,000 people signed on to support the creation of these MPAs – add your voice at www.daretobedeep.ca. Bonus: by signing on to the campaign, you’ll be automatically entered to win some great prizes from MEC!

Happy International Biodiversity Day everyone!

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Photo by Sabine Jessen - Gwaii Haanas