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Royal Society report underscores need for Canada to speed up marine protection


February 2, 2012
10 AM PST -- For Immediate Release

Vancouver -- The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) welcomes the release today by the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) of a major new report called Sustaining Canada’s Marine Biodiversity:  Responding to the Challenges Posed by Climate Change, Fisheries, and Aquaculture. The report echoes concerns that CPAWS has voiced that Canada has much work ahead to catch up to the rest of the world when it comes to marine conservation and sustainability.

“The Royal Society’s report underscores what we’ve been saying for years. Canada is a laggard in marine protection compared to other countries. We’ve been ranked 70th out of 228 countries when it comes to establishing marine protected areas (MPAs).  Canada is capable of moving much faster to protect our oceans,” says Sabine Jessen, CPAWS’ national marine program manager. Jessen is attending the Royal Society’s news conference to release the report in Vancouver today.

In an effort to help bring Canada up to par and to kick-start the establishment of a network of marine protected areas, CPAWS is calling on the federal government to move on the protection of 12 special marine sites in Canada’s three oceans by December of this year. Since CPAWS launched the call for “12 by 12” last May, the government has announced some progress towards protection of four of the 12 sites.

“We’re encouraged that there has been government movement on marine conservation in the past eight months, and we hope this is the sign of much more to come. Our oceans can’t wait,” says Jessen.

“By establishing a network of marine protected areas, Canada will help conserve nurseries for many species, including fish and whales.  Marine protected areas are not just vital to conserve endangered species. They’re also key for the long-term sustainability of the fishing industry,” adds Jessen.

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View more about CPAWS’ call for Canada to “dare to be deep” and create 12 new marine protected areas by December at  www.cpaws.org/campaigns/dare-to-be-deep

View Royal Society report at  http://www.rsc-src.ca/expertpanels_reports.php or for the full report

Contact: Sabine Jessen (604) 657-2813, sabine@cpawsbc.org  or Holly Postlethwaite, (613) 569-7226 ext.232,  holly@cpaws.org