Science-based Decision-making Vital for Proper Ocean Management

OTTAWA – New Democrats have introduced a motion calling on the government to recognize the need for better integration of science in ocean management and use, to establish greater support for healthy ocean ecosystems and a sustainable marine economy in Canada.

“Oceans science is vitally important to Canada’s economy and environment, yet the Conservatives continue to undermine the importance of science,” said MP Murray Rankin (Victoria), the sponsor of the motion. “It is crucial that governments, universities and industries work together to deal with the critical challenges facing our marine ecosystems - that is the objective of the motion I have introduced today.”

The motion reflects widespread concerns expressed by environmental organizations, university associations and scientists about the reduced role of science in managing ocean ecosystems.

“From ocean acidification due to climate change, to determining the effects of raw bitumen in a marine environment, to the protection of our wild salmon and how we best support of a sustainable fishery and seafood industry, the challenges are real,” said Rankin. “We must ensure that we are guided by the best science and research possible while we navigate these complex issues.”


The full text of the motion:

M-506 — April 29, 2014 — Mr. Rankin (Victoria) — That, in the opinion of the House, the government should work with the scientific community and other key stakeholders to develop an overarching structure or body to provide a forum for leadership and strategic direction for the entire ocean science community in Canada that would: (a) engage in the establishment of a body to coordinate ocean science activities and data archiving, provide periodic assessments of the state of ocean science, and lead the development of a national vision for the future development of ocean science in Canada; (b) manage access to shiptime, through scientific consortia, using standardized access procedures and a central information hub for available capacity and use, to improve transparency and efficiency of research vessel management; and (c) facilitate international sharing of research infrastructure, information and scientific collaboration to address common problems and build international partnerships and an essential channel for mobilizing science to inform international collaboration and governance.