Thank you, Madam Chair, for letting me know. My apologies to the interpreters.
We are making difficult decisions and important investments today to ensure that Pacific salmon are available for future generations. With many wild salmon stocks at historic lows, it is only with the dedication of all members of this chamber that we will be able to ensure that these populations are able to return to traditional levels of abundance.
Of course, wild salmon do not live in a bubble. They, like all of the ocean's creatures, are affected significantly by the cumulative effects of human activity. This means that we must fight not only for our salmon, but for biodiversity itself and for the health of the marine environment in its entirety. Ensuring a healthy ocean is essential for Canada's long-term economic prosperity and will play an important role as we build our economy following this global pandemic.
As fellow parliamentarians know, the United Nations has proclaimed a Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, beginning in 2021. Our government has pledged Canada's support, with major investments dedicated to the planning, promotion and coordination of activities related to this decade. Canada must be a leader in this space, as our nation has the longest coastline in the world.
Starting in 2015, as a nation, we had only protected less than 1% of our marine environment, which was completely unacceptable. We pledged to increase this to more than 10% by 2020. Thanks to the hard work of Canadians, we not only met this target but exceeded it. Canada has now protected approximately 14% of our marine environment, and we will get to 25% by 2025. This means that in 10 short years, we will have protected 25 times more ocean marine habitat than all governments before us since Confederation.
This is a significant achievement that all members of the House and all Canadians should be proud of. It is a major investment in the future of our country and the future of our planet. However, we intend to go further.
This summer, Canada joins the United Kingdom's Global Ocean Alliance to support the adoption of a global target of 30% marine conservation by 2030, which is anticipated to be a key pillar of next year's Convention on Biological Diversity's COP 15 meeting. We are also implementing the commitments we made during Canada's 2018 G7 presidency to shape international efforts to clean up the oceans, tackle oceans plastics and advance ocean observation.
We know that just like fighting climate change, protecting and restoring our ocean is an existential necessity. Canada needs to continue to take a leadership role on this and other global environmental issues. We will champion ocean science to help counter threats to ocean life and health, and we must advance a strategy to end illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. We do this not just for environmental necessity, but because growing the blue economy is a significant economic opportunity for the entire country.
New, sustainable technologies are going to present increasing opportunities to coastal communities. Our commitment to transition away from open net-pen fish farms on the west coast of this country speaks to that sustainable opportunity. British Columbians feel strongly about the health of our fish stocks, and they need to transition farms in a way that is workable, economically feasible and takes into account social impacts.
A change like this requires close collaboration with the Province of British Columbia, indigenous communities, industry and other stakeholders, and I am excited to help build this reasonable path. The timing of this transition is beneficial not only to our wild salmon stocks and marine biodiversity, but to opening our imaginations for what the future of aquaculture can look like in Canada.
Aquaculture goes far beyond salmon. I had the opportunity to visit an oyster farm in Prince Edward Island, which not only creates delicious oysters, but effectively cleans the oceans while doing it.
Companies and communities across Canada are already leading the world in aquaculture in areas that include fish, seaweed and shellfish. It is a core part of our blue economy growth strategy and strengthens the need for the legislative and economic certainty that a dedicated aquaculture act can provide, an act I expect we will be debating in the House in the next number of months. Such an act would bring clarity and transparency to Canadians as to how aquaculture will be managed in order to achieve responsible and sustainable growth.
Our waters provide immense opportunity, but I would regret it if I did not take some time to highlight the work of the men and women who patrol them, who respond to emergencies on them and who keep our economies moving through them despite thick ice and strong Canadian winters. Of course, I am referring to the brave men and women who serve in the Canadian Coast Guard.
Last year, our government announced the single-largest investment ever made to renew the Canadian Coast Guard fleet, with up to 18 new large ships, the construction of six new icebreakers and an additional $2 billion in investments for vessel life-extension maintenance and repair work for the existing fleet. These ships are being built through Canada's national shipbuilding strategy.
Our offshore fisheries science vessels were Canada's first-ever vessels purposely designed and built for vital offshore fisheries research science and monitoring. These vessels were constructed at Seaspan shipyards, a world leader in shipbuilding, whose facility happens to be in my own backyard. Many of my constituents are directly employed at Seaspan and my entire constituency, indeed the entire country, benefits from their world-class work.
We are ensuring that the Coast Guard has the safe, reliable and modern equipment needed to carry out important work, such as icebreaking operations, search and rescue, and environmental response, all while creating good jobs and economic opportunities that will extend across the country.
I value deeply the wealth of experience my fellow parliamentarians bring to the House. It is an honour to rise today and discuss some of the great work we are doing and even more so to express that we are doing this in collaboration with members on all sides of the House for the good of all Canadians and for the benefit, most important, of future generations.
As members know, Canada has the largest amount of coastline of any nation in the world. We are abundantly lucky to face three oceans, including the Pacific, the Atlantic and the Arctic. We know that despite them having different names, we all really share one giant ocean.
When the minister was first elected, Canada protected less than 1% of our oceans. Could the minister update us on how much is protected now and what the plan is for providing greater protections as we go forward?