A new interactive map launched on July 13 brings together for the first time the fullest picture of how people and wildlife use Canada’s oceans.
This powerful Oceans Map, created by WWF-Canada, is the only resource that pulls together relevant marine data — species, shipping, fisheries, habitat, sea ice and more — into one tool that can be used to create customizable views of what’s going on from coast to coast to coast.
Canada’s oceans are busier than ever, and scientists have noticed the emergence of alarming trends, including warming and acidification due to climate change, and declining marine populations due to overfishing and pollution. Ocean planning, also called marine spatial planning, helps us understand how these shared spaces are used, where there are overlaps and how to best manage human activities so that people and nature can thrive together.
This WWF-Canada interactive map includes:
- Fisheries data from all three oceans, compiled in one place for the first time;
- Disparate shipping-route data, compiled in one place for the first time;
- Protected areas such as National Parks, National Marine Conservation Areas, proposed Marine National Wildlife Areas, Areas of Interest, Marine Protected Areas;
- Ecologically important areas such as eelgrass beds, Important Bird Areas, and spots designated as ecologically and biologically significant;
- Fisheries closures, federal marine bioregions and regional planning initiatives;
- Subsistence harvest and traditional knowledge areas;
- Information about species by region.
Species at risk
The map also examines challenges, species at risk and solutions in key regions such as the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Grand Banks, Skeena River Estuary and others.
David Miller, president and CEO of WWF-Canada, said: “This new interactive map is a powerful tool to see what’s happening in our oceans now so we can plan for the future. Our oceans are vital habitat for incredible species. Improving our understanding and management of our oceans is key to protecting species and the healthy marine ecosystems that sustain us, our communities and our economy.”
WWF-Canada’s Oceans Map is available free online. It can be customized to examine a segment of coastline or ocean space, and layered with information on shipping routes, fisheries, species, marine protected areas and more. Customized maps can easily be downloaded and shared.
Follow these links to see examples of customized maps for:
- The Bay of Fundy, showing critical habitats for right whales, salmon and striped bass, overlaid with National Parks and ecologically significant areas;
- Haida Gwaii, showing orca and humpback habitats, shipping routes, and proposed industrial development in Kitimat and Prince Rupert;
- The Arctic distribution of narwhals, bowhead and beluga whales, overlaid with knowledge of traditional fishing areas.
About World Wildlife Fund Canada
WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. – CNW