Federal government to release plan for sustainable development of ocean economy

OTTAWA – Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan says Canada can get more out of its marine resources through a strategy that also protects ocean health.

The federal government is beginning consultations today on a so-called Blue Economy Strategy that it plans to launch in late fall.

Jordan says the goal of a blue economy is to create middle-class jobs while ensuring healthy oceans and sustainable marine industries from aquaculture to shipping.

She says that can be achieved through strategic investment in areas like new technologies that enhance sustainable commercial fisheries, the development of offshore renewable energy and tourism.

Canada’s ocean industries contributed about $ 31.7 billion to the country’s GDP each year before the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

Jordan says Canada can model possible growth on countries like Norway, where one third of GDP comes from marine industries.

“I think there’s a huge potential for us to really look at the ocean as a space for post-pandemic recovery,” she says in an interview.

“This isn’t about industrialization of the ocean, this is about making sure we’re doing this in a sustainable, long-term, healthy way.”

The government is kicking off engagement with a series of virtual roundtables and will accept feedback from industry, Indigenous groups, academics, the public and other stakeholders until June 15.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 8, 2021.