Sustainable development goal 14: life below water

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14Footnote1 aims to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources. It recognizes that the health of oceans and seas directly affects:

  • rainwater
  • drinking water
  • weather
  • climate
  • coastlines
  • much of our food
  • the oxygen in our air

SDG 14 aims for results such as:

  • significantly reduced marine pollution
  • more sustainable management, protection and conservation of marine and coastal ecosystems
  • an end to overfishing and ghost gear

Canadian ambition under Life below water

Canada’s ambition for his goal is to protect and conserve marine areas and sustainably manages ocean fish stocks. With the world’s longest coastline, SDG 14 is highly relevant to Canada. Changing ocean conditions are already directly affecting communities along our Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic coasts, including Indigenous communities. These include, rising sea levels, increasing temperatures, ocean acidification, and thinning sea ice. The Government of Canada has placed a high priority on conserving and protecting the oceans and ensuring sustainable fisheries.

The national targets are:

  • to conserve 25% of Canada’s oceans by 2025, and 30% by 2030
  • for key fishFootnote2 and invertebrate stocks to be managed and harvested at levels considered to be sustainable by 2023, from a baseline of 96% in 2016

What are we doing to improve life below water in Canada

Canada continues to make progress on marine conservation. Budget 2021 included $976.8 million towards the goal of conserving 25 per cent of Canada’s oceans by 2025, and 30 per cent by 2030. These targets will be achieved through the establishment of marine protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, including marine refuges. This builds on Canada’s success in exceeding its commitment to conserve 10 per cent of its marine and coastal areas by 2020. As of the end of 2020, 13.8 per cent of Canada’s coastal and marine areas were recognized as conserved through a network of marine protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures.

The Government of Canada conducts ocean monitoring to assess the state of coastal and offshore waters. This aims to better understand and predict the future state of Canada’s oceans. Canada works with domestic and international partners, particularly the United States, to coordinate ocean acidification observing and monitoring activities.

What Canada is doing to improve life below water abroad

The Government of Canada is addressing marine pollution by spearheading the Ocean Plastics Charter. The Charter is the only global framework that takes a comprehensive life-cycle approach to addressing marine plastic pollution. The Charter addresses plastic waste in developing countries, sparks innovation to beat plastic pollution, and supports innovative private-public partnerships. Canada’s funding includes $69 million through the World Bank for an international fund to address plastic waste in developing countries, and investments in made-in-Canada innovative approaches and technologies that help to stop the flow of plastics to the oceans.

The federal government works to protect marine and coastal ecosystems through involvement in international activities such as the International Coral Reef Initiative.

Government of Canada, 6 January 2023. Full article.

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