VANCOUVER, BC — The federal government’s announcement of temporary measures on shipping to address one of many anthropogenic risks to North Atlantic Right Whales highlights the need for formal integrated marine spatial planning to better manage human activity such as marine transportation, says the Canadian Chamber of Shipping.
At 1.8 percent of the Canadian economy, ships move more than $200 billion worth of goods to and from global markets. From farmers to retailers, thousands of Canadian jobs depend on a healthy and thriving trade environment.
While Canada is making progress on enhancing its marine protection, it has not adequately progressed integrated planning in coastal areas of high usage. Adopting integrated marine spatial planning would not only better anticipate changing environmental conditions, but also ensure that Canada’s regulatory and transportation framework could adapt to meet changing circumstances and avoid actions that make Canada’s supply chain less competitive in a global marketplace, the Chamber said in a statement.
“While the Oceans Protection Plan is a positive initiative, the current suite of federal legislative tools do not adequately manage and protect our coasts in areas of high human activity,” said Chamber of Shipping President Robert Lewis-Manning. “If we are to properly protect our coastal waters and also grow the Canadian economy with international trade, we require a more robust coastal planning and management framework for marine transportation corridors.”
International and domestic shipping in Canada has an extensive history of developing solutions to support the protection of marine mammals, including actions taken in the Bay of Fundy, the St Lawrence Estuary and, more recently, in the Salish Sea. Currently, the international marine industry is conducting a trial in Haro Strait, BC to determine the potential effects on Southern Resident Killer Whales from reducing ship speed and the corresponding acoustic disturbance.
The Chamber of Shipping said it looks forward to continued collaboration with the federal government and other stakeholders on protecting endangered marine mammals.