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View Robert Chisholm Profile
NDP (NS)
I notice that ocean forecasting is down $5 million, and oceans management is also down from previous expenditures and estimates. I wonder if you could explain the rationale for this decrease.
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Roch Huppé
View Roch Huppé Profile
Roch Huppé
2013-03-07 12:24
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The ocean forecasting is down by $4.7 million. The larger part of that decrease is actually due to reallocation within the program activities. Over $3.3 million has been transferred to a new program activity that you would find under the climate change adaptation program. Basically, during the year, we move money around, and this was a new program activity. We received money through budget 2011 for that purpose. Based on what a program activity is, as we follow the guidelines from Treasury Board Secretariat, we created that new program activity because it's really a stand-alone. It was money moved. It's not a money decrease; it is really moved to a different program activity.
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Roch Huppé
View Roch Huppé Profile
Roch Huppé
2012-12-04 8:55
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I am pleased to be able to give the committee an overview of the department's supplementary estimates (B) for 2012-13.
I have prepared a small deck presentation, which you received a copy of, so I will take you to page 2. Today's goal is to provide you with details of the key changes to our spending authorities for the year 2012-13.
Page 3 gives you an overall picture of where the funding authorities for the department would stand following supplementary estimates (B) approval. As you can see, under the main estimates, the department was allocated just below $1.7 billion. Then we have carry-forward amounts for funding we were entitled to bring from one year to the following year. So within our authorities we've moved $123 million from the previous year to the year 2012-13.
Under supplementary estimates (A), the department was allocated an additional amount of close to $6 million.
Under supplementary estimates (B), we're seeking approval for an increase to our budget of over $82.6 million.
The total spending authorities of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans will be brought to slightly under $1.9 billion for year 2012-13.
I'll move to page 4. The gross increase to the appropriations we are seeking through this estimates exercise is just under $88 million, and I'll cover the key items of that amount a little later. That amount is offset with a decrease to our appropriations of $3.6 million. This $3.6 million that appears in supplementary estimates is in relation to the strategic and operating review reductions as announced in Budget 2012. In Budget 2012 it was announced that the department would sustain a reduction of $79.3 million in three years. The $3.6 million that you see in these estimates is actually the first-year reduction, so the reduction for the year 2012-13.
In addition, in the supplementary estimates you have a section called “Transfers”, which covers two types of transfers. One is transfers within the department, so between our votes. As you know, when we obtain our funding, it is in what I will call different “buckets” of money. We have our vote 1, which represents our operating expenditures, including salary expenditures; our vote 5, which is our capital expenditures; and our vote 10, which is our grants and contributions. The department and the minister, by the same token, do not have the authority to move funding from one bucket to the other, from one vote to the other, so as we need to move funding, we need to get the parliamentary authority through the estimates process. That's what's included in the transfers.
Transfers also include transfers between government departments. As we join forces to deliver on certain activities, we may need to transfer funding from Department A to Department B, or we may receive funding from another department. The net amount of these transfers equals a decrease to our funding of just over $1.6 million.
I'll go through the key items on page 5 of the document.
The first item is just over $21.6 million, relating to the Pacific integrated commercial fisheries initiative. In the main estimates...we had a considerable decrease from the main estimates of the previous year. When I was at this committee earlier on, in late May or early June, I indicated that one of the main reasons for these reductions was that a lot of our programs were sunsetting in March 2012. Budget 2012 actually gave us some renewed funding for a considerable number of these sunsetting programs. The Pacific integrated commercial fisheries initiative is one of them, so the funding was sunsetting in March 2012, but Budget 2012 gave us a one-year funding renewal of $21.7 million.
The next item is close to $18 million for the acquisition of offshore science vessels: three science vessels and one offshore oceanographic science vessel. Basically, $13.2 million of that close to $18 million is dedicated to the procurement of these ships. Also included in that amount is $4.8 million that was given to us through Budget 2012 for the effective management and oversight of the fleet procurement in relation to the fleet renewal.
The $11.8 million you see next is in relation to Budget 2012 and the fleet renewal we received, so that's the $5.2 billion announced in Budget 2012. That $11.8 million is particularly related to the vessel life extension and mid-life modernization of certain of our ships.
There is $10.8 million for the renewal of the Atlantic integrated commercial fisheries initiative. Again, this is the same as for the Pacific integrated commercial fisheries initiative. This program was sunsetting in March 2012, and Budget 2012 gave us a one-year renewal of $10.8 million for this program.
The following $10 million is to support science and sustainable fisheries—what we refer to as the Larocque program. This is a program with a portion that sunsetted in March 2012 and for which Budget 2012 gave us a one-year renewal.
The following item is the $7.5 million related to the implementation of the Species at Risk Act. Again, part of that funding was sunsetting in March 2012. In this case, Budget 2012 gave us a three-year funding renewal for just over $21 million.
The next item relates to the health of the oceans. We received close to $4 million relating to that. Again, this program was sunsetting in March 2012, and Budget 2012 provided us with a one-year renewal on that item.
On the following item, Budget 2012 provided the department with $7.4 million as it relates to the Digby Harbour repairs. The $2.4 million is the funding the department requires for this fiscal year. The remaining $5 million has been brought over to years 2013 and 2014.
The last three items are recurring items in our estimates. Basically, the next one represents royalties we receive from intellectual property, mainly through publication items such as navigational charts and so on. The department is receiving $1.5 million from these revenues, which it can re-spend. The $66,000 relating to oil pollution, where the CCG is sometimes called in to deal with oil pollution, is a recovery of the costs they incur, which we are entitled to recover and re-spend. The $32,000 is related to real property. The department actually disposes of certain property over the year, and we have access to these revenues.
I'll close with the items on page 6. As you can see, we've just covered the voted appropriations section at the top of the page. We have the decrease of $3.6 million, which represents our first year of the strategic and operating review. In the last section, as I mentioned before, are transfers, either within the department to move money, in this case mainly from vote 1 to vote 10, grants and contributions, or money we either receive or send to other government departments. As an example, the first item is $902,000, which we receive from Environment Canada to access our scientific expertise and facilities in connection with the Canada-U.S. Great Lakes water quality agreement.
I'll leave it at that for now. If you have any questions on any of these transfers, obviously we're ready to take your questions.
Thank you.
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View Peter Kent Profile
CPC (ON)
View Peter Kent Profile
2012-11-19 16:30
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Thank you, Chair. Good afternoon, colleagues.
As you have heard, with me today is my deputy minister, Bob Hamilton; the CEO of Parks Canada, Alan Latourelle; and Ms. Elaine Feldman, the president of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. In the back row ready for the call should we get into deep financial and accounting matters is Ms. Carol Najm, Environment Canada's chief financial officer.
Mr. Chair, I'd like to start off by expressing my sincere appreciation to the committee for the invitation to appear here today to discuss the supplementary estimates (B) tabled in the House earlier this month.
I will begin with a brief statement. After that, I would be pleased to answer any questions the members may have for me.
Since I last appeared before this committee on the main estimates, Environment Canada has continued to maintain its focus on the effective and efficient delivery of its mandate. I'm pleased to note the department is making steady progress initiating meaningful actions to protect Canada's environment, to protect Canadians, and the economy.
As a regulatory department our strength lies in our ability to successfully create, implement, monitor, and enforce effective federal regulations and legislation. On this front I am proud to say Environment Canada is a world-class regulator leading the way by integrating science into good regulatory decision-making and strengthening and deepening its monitoring networks where it matters most.
The department is continuing to engage expert scientists by using the best available research and relying on effective collaborations with its partners at home and abroad.
Environment Canada is protecting endangered species and our nation's rich biodiversity through strong leadership and effective partnerships.
Since 2006, thanks in significant part to the department's efforts, Canada's protected areas have grown by fully 53%. Almost 10% of Canada's land mass is now protected, an area greater than that of the province of British Columbia.
On climate change, the department is heavily engaged in implementing our sector-by-sector regulatory approach and in working with the provinces and territories to reduce emissions. We have combined efforts to reduce electricity emissions through a range of measures designed to shift away from high-emission sources of electricity and to reduce demand through energy efficiency.
We've already put into place light duty vehicle regulations for the model years 2011 to 2016, and we're working with the United States to extend those regulations to model years 2017 and beyond. We proposed on-road heavy duty vehicle greenhouse gas emissions regulations for the years 2014 and later. We also introduced regulations to implement new standards to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in the marine sector. In September we announced final regulations for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired electricity generation.
These regulations will apply stringent performance standards to new coal-fired electricity generation units and units that have reached the end of their useful life. Greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector are now projected to decline by a third between 2005 levels and 2020 despite significant increases in economic activity and electricity production over this period.
Collectively, colleagues, our efforts have already brought Canada about halfway to achieving our greenhouse gas reduction target by reducing emissions by 17% from 2005 levels by 2020. The department is continuing to push forward. We're now turning our focus to the oil and gas sector.
When it comes to water quality, the department tackled one of the largest single sources of water pollution by introducing this past summer the first national standards for waste water treatment. It also supported the enhancement and renewal of the Great Lakes water quality agreement with the United States to address such issues as aquatic invasive species, habitat degradation, and the effects of climate change. It launched the Great Lakes nutrient initiative to address toxic and nuisance algae.
Environment Canada is continuing its work with Ontario to develop a renewed Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem.
Under the St. Lawrence Action Plan, Environment Canada is also focused on monitoring the St. Lawrence to improve biodiversity conservation, water quality and sustainability.
The department also progressed on its collaborative work with the provinces, with environmental non-governmental organizations, and with industry to improve air quality, when provincial and territorial ministers of the environment endorsed the air quality management system just a few weeks ago.
There is more, but in the interests of time, Mr. Chair, I'd like to turn to the supplementary estimates (B) before us today.
As you will note, Environment Canada's submission in the supplementary estimates (B) includes 12 items, a number of them further to budget 2012, which due to timing could not be included in the main estimates. I'd like to highlight them.
The major items include a proposed $17 million increase to support such initiatives as the Species at Risk Act, the Lake Winnipeg basin initiative, the Major Projects Management Office, and the health of the oceans initiative.
This amount includes $11.8 million for ongoing improvements to the species at risk program and $2.1 million to support watershed, land stewardship, and freshwater science initiatives under the renewed Lake Winnipeg basin initiative program. There's a request for $2 million to renew funding for the Major Projects Management Office to ensure timely and quality reviews of more than 70 high-profile major resource projects and to support implementation of the responsible resource development initiative. As well, there is a $1.2 million request to enable the health of the oceans partners and the Government of Canada to respond to an ongoing need to protect the health of Canada's oceans.
It also includes just under $13 million in savings that the department has identified for the budget 2012 deficit reduction action plan.
When considered together, this submission works out to a departmental request for about $5 million in additional funding.
As for Parks Canada, which also falls under my purview, supplementary estimates (B) include three transfers to and from other federal departments, which amount to a reduction of about $12,000. The agency would like to invest $3.7 million in the species at risk program and $800,000 to advance the establishment of two marine conservation areas through the health of the oceans initiative.
Mr. Chair, this highlights some of the activities these estimates will financially support in the department's work to provide Canadians with a clean, safe and sustainable environment.
I would like to thank you, Mr. Chair, members of the committee, for your time today. I would be happy to answer your questions.
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View James Lunney Profile
Ind. (BC)
View James Lunney Profile
2012-11-19 17:25
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Thanks.
I am going to move quickly because I'm going to try to pass the last moment or so over to my colleague, Ms. Ambler, who has a question as well.
I want to roll two questions together, but first I have a comment. I did hear in response to a question earlier about SARA that there is a question about deficiencies in science. I presume we want to make sure that responses are based on sound evidence, to make sure that we actually get results from our interventions.
I noted with some interest that there was an article in the news this past week about the international census of marine life 2010. The headlines were that two-thirds of ocean species remain unidentified, even after a decade of science, according to the article in Current Biology. Obviously we want to make sure that our responses are appropriate.
I noticed that you have $1.2 million in supplementary (B)s to enable the health of the oceans partners to respond to the ongoing need to protect the health of Canada's oceans. Question one is related to where you see that $1.2 million going.
The second question has to do with the item in the supplementary (B)s for the habitat stewardship contribution program of some $4 million through transfer. This program helps Canadians protect species at risk and their habitats through enhancing existing conservation activities and encouraging new ones. It leverages funding. Through the program I think we have leveraged about 1,000 projects for $62 million up to a total investment of $215 million with partners.
I wonder if you would explain to us this habitat stewardship contribution program and if that is part of the comment that says there will be $11.8 million for ongoing improvements to the species at risk program to support watershed, land stewardship and freshwater science. I presume that $4 million is part of that investment.
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View Peter Kent Profile
CPC (ON)
View Peter Kent Profile
2012-11-19 17:26
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Yes, that's right.
To respond to your first question on the health of the oceans initiative, you're quite right in that there's a number of partners. That money is shared among, for example, Parks Canada, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Transport Canada, and Indian Affairs and Northern Development.
The only person at the table who can speak to the health of the oceans initiative is Alan Latourelle. I would just say that much of our focus has to do with our national marine protected areas and ensuring that, while they are accessible to use by a variety of recreational and commercial interests, we are responsible in those fairly significantly vast areas to ensure the health of the oceans and the species that are there.
Alan, would you like to say a couple of words?
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Alan Latourelle
View Alan Latourelle Profile
Alan Latourelle
2012-11-19 17:28
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Yes. In Parks Canada's supplementary estimates, for example, we have $797,000 this year for marine, and it is to advance our work on marine conservation areas in Lancaster Sound and the southern Strait of Georgia in British Columbia.
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Frederick Whoriskey
View Frederick Whoriskey Profile
Frederick Whoriskey
2012-05-29 10:02
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I'm falling into that redundancy problem again.
However, I will come back to the issue that Jeff has raised earlier about how you need your plan with your metrics so that you know what you've got, and then you can tell what you're losing if something is being cut here.
From my perspective, to answer your first question, in terms of developing new legislation processes, thinking about the oceans, about something that captures and forces an integrated coastal zone management or ecosystem management, whatever way you want to put that together, it's something that is going to be very important. Drive it similar to what you did with the Oceans Act, but push this forward so we develop out of that, plan the metrics, the other tools that we can use to assess what's going to happen if we cut or we do not provide the resources necessary to carry forth.
With regard to the climate change issue, yes, I agree with everything that's been said here before, but what I do know, especially in zones like the Arctic, where we're operating right now, is things are changing very rapidly. We need to put some resources into helping these local populations to cope with what's going to happen in the immediate short term, to understand how their lives are going to be different five years from now, ten years from now, while also trying to get to the point that we wrestle to the ground the commitments we need to make to control our own impacts.
Thank you.
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Jeffrey A. Hutchings
View Jeffrey A. Hutchings Profile
Jeffrey A. Hutchings
2012-05-29 10:07
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I think what we should do for now is we really need a Canadian discussion of this with the public. What's in the oceans belongs to all Canadians. The Supreme Court of Canada has made that very clear. It doesn't belong to industry. It doesn't belong to individuals. It belongs to Canadians. So Canadians have the stewardship responsibility to look after the oceans on a national and global basis.
One of the really good reasons for setting aside areas of the ocean from a protection perspective is simply to hedge against what we don't know, to hedge against our ignorance. There's a lot of work, and sometimes I think maybe too much work, in focusing on exactly where should we have this area or where should we have that area with sometimes the intention of helping fisheries. You're not going to help fisheries in many cases.
I think we have enough scientific information to ask Canadians if they think it's appropriate that we set aside the same percentage of our oceans that we do for our land.
[Technical difficulties--Editor]
In essence, is that an appropriate reflection of who we are as a society? We do have the 10% of our terrestrial land protected, and perhaps Canadians might feel the same would be appropriate for the marine realm, but we should ask them.
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John Van Rooyen
View John Van Rooyen Profile
John Van Rooyen
2012-04-23 17:06
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The major problem, as I see it, is that the invasive species come in on the ocean boats. They come in ballast water. They come in attached to hulls.
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John Van Rooyen
View John Van Rooyen Profile
John Van Rooyen
2012-04-23 17:06
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That the boats be stopped and we go in to transshipping. We have the technology. We have trucks. We have rail. We have lake boats. Transship the materials and keep the ocean boats in the ocean.
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Jeffrey A. Hutchings
View Jeffrey A. Hutchings Profile
Jeffrey A. Hutchings
2012-03-12 15:34
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Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Yes, indeed, I would like to introduce Professor Ian Fleming from Memorial University of Newfoundland. He has worked on interactions between farmed and wild Atlantic salmon since the late 1980s. He's also worked on Pacific salmon and so he brings expertise from Europe, as well as from eastern and western Canada.
My name is Jeff Hutchings. I'm a professor of biology at Dalhousie University. I've worked on Atlantic salmon since the early 1980s, and I've worked on interactions between farmed and wild Atlantic salmon since the early 1990s.
We come here not only as professors of biology, but also as members of a Royal Society of Canada expert panel that recently addressed some issues pertaining to climate change, fisheries, and aquaculture on Canadian marine biodiversity.
My opening remarks will basically reflect the briefs sent beforehand.
Canada has a geographical imperative to be the international leader in oceans stewardship. Canada has the longest coastline in the world. Canada's seas might well be the largest of any country. Eight of ten provinces and all three territories, comprising 86% of Canada's population, border salt water. Canada is an ocean nation.
Canada's oceans constitute a vital biological and physical milieu that supports human health, societal well-being, and creation of wealth.
Canada has the benefit of, and responsibility for, three coastlines that contribute to society in numerous ways. For thousands of years, Canada's oceans have provided habitat for species of traditional and cultural significance to aboriginal people. Today, sustainably exploited fish populations and environmentally responsible aquaculture operations should provide secure local and national access to the protein and oils contained in seafood.
Dr. Fleming and I are co-authors of a recent national report on oceans, prepared in response to a request by the Royal Society of Canada that an independent expert panel be convened to advise on a series of questions related to the sustainability of Canada's marine biodiversity. Following its deliberations from June 2010 to January 2012, the panel released its report on February 2 entitled, Sustaining Canada's Marine Biodiversity: Responding to the Challenges Posed by Climate Change, Fisheries, and Aquaculture.
Pursuant to the current interests of this standing committee, the report attempts to describe and forecast how aquaculture has affected, and is likely to affect, Canadian marine biodiversity; to determine whether Canada has fulfilled its commitments to sustain marine biodiversity; and to provide strong, strategically based recommendations to establish Canada as an international leader in oceans stewardship and marine conservation.
The environmental impacts of open-net sea pen aquaculture, as opposed to closed containment facilities, are commonly grouped into four categories: ecological interactions; genetic consequences; diseases and parasites; and habitat alteration. More specifically, these include concerns about chemical inputs such as antibiotics, antifoulants, and pesticides; nutrient-loading and deterioration of the sea bottom; sources of feed for wild salmon; the effects of escapees and use of non-native species; and the exchange of pathogens and diseases such as infectious salmon anemia between the local, natural, and farming environments. All of these interactions are known to occur in the open-net sea pens typical of Canadian aquaculture operations. Most or all of these interactions can be mitigated by closed containment facilities, particularly those deployed on land.
There is no other region of the world where open-net sea pen salmon farming is practised that has greater salmon and salmonid diversity, abundance, and natural ecosystems potentially at risk than in British Columbia. On Canada's Pacific coast, it is generally accepted that open-net sea pen salmon farms can cause infections of the salmon louse—a type of sea lice—and contribute to infections in native salmon, and that these infections can increase juvenile salmon mortality. There is reason to believe that the harm posed by pathogens might be greater than is currently perceived.
Turning to the Atlantic coast, unlike the Pacific, Atlantic salmon are native to Atlantic waters. Thus, there is a threat to wild salmon resulting from interbreeding between farmed salmon that escape from open-net sea pens and wild salmon.
To date, escaped farm salmon have been reported in 54 rivers and bays, which constitutes 87% of the watersheds that have been investigated since the inception of the salmon aquaculture industry.
Farmed salmon differs genetically from wild salmon. When farmed and wild salmon interbreed, the outcome is frequently negative for wild salmon. Compounding the documented environmental impacts of aquaculture is the fact that the abundance of wild salmon is at historically low levels on the east coast, especially where salmon aquaculture farming is prosecuted. These salmon populations have recently been assessed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.
Regarding pathogens, infectious salmon anemia, or ISA, has already caused enormous economic losses to salmon aquaculture and constitutes a threat to wild populations because of the magnification of pathogen abundance in sea cages. Just last week a third salmon farm in Nova Scotia was destroyed because of ISA.
The Royal Society report found the following pertaining to salmon aquaculture, and this is just a summary. First, wild bottom-dwelling organisms and their habitat can be affected by organic wastes and chemicals inputs. Second, exchange of pathogens between farmed and wild fish can threaten the persistence of wild populations. Third, interbreeding between wild Atlantic salmon and farmed escapees threatens the reproductive capability and recovery potential of wild salmon of conservation concern, and finally, open-net sea pens have far greater potential and realized negative consequence to marine life than closed containment facilities.
The sustainability of Atlantic salmon farming will continue to be debated until there is a fuller understanding and more meaningful inclusion of public values and opinions within aquaculture management and government policy decisions. For example, the lack of transparency and public reporting of diseases at aquaculture farms has hindered meaningful, constructive, and respectful debate. A higher standard of transparency and accountability by both industry and Fisheries and Oceans Canada should have been anticipated, but this has yet to be achieved.
From a statutory perspective, Canada continues to rely on a complex patchwork of federal and provincial laws to regulate the aquaculture industry. This existing patchwork of more than 70 pieces of federal and provincial legislation does not appear adequate for ensuring environmentally sustainable aquaculture and healthy marine biodiversity.
The Pacific aquaculture regulations, for example, lack clear legislative guidance regarding objectives, principles, and procedures, and existing licences in Atlantic Canada might be open to legal challenge for being beyond the constitutional jurisdiction of the provinces.
The Royal Society panel recommends that Parliament draft and enact federal aquaculture legislation that specifies requirements and guidance on national objectives and procedures for all aquaculture operations. Such a recommendation is not new. Indeed, a federal aquaculture act was recommended by this standing committee in 2003.
Benefits of such legislation include the assurance of a principled approach to aquaculture access and operations, clarification of property rights, and encouragement of an integrated regulatory approach. The Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance has been especially vocal about the need for Canada to join other major farmed seafood-producing countries in having dedicated national aquaculture legislation.
Canada faces significant challenges in its efforts to conserve and sustain marine biological life, in light of climate change, fisheries, and aquaculture. The simplest and best strategy to deal with these three stressors to biodiversity is to protect existing diversity, and rebuild depleted populations and species to restore natural diversity.
The challenge then will be to sustain species and populations at levels at which Canada's marine biodiversity is able to optimize the ecosystem services the oceans provide in support of Canadian society and the welfare of the global community. By improving and protecting the health of Canada's oceans, such a strategy will restore the natural resilience of Canada's ocean ecosystems to adapt in response to the challenges posed by human activities.
With specific reference to aquaculture, the use of closed containment technology, particularly on land, will mitigate many of the environmental and biodiversity impacts of open-net sea pen salmon farming.
The Royal Society of Canada expert panel asserts that an environmentally responsible aquaculture operation should represent a fundamentally integral component to any comprehensive strategy by Canada to assert its national and international ocean stewardship responsibilities.
Therein ends my opening remarks, Mr. Chair.
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