State of the Atlantic Ocean report shows the effects of climate change on marine ecosystems

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By Milthon Lujan

Ottawa, Canada.- Canada’s Atlantic Ocean is one of the most productive marine environments in the world. It is home to an abundance of biodiversity from crabs, to lobsters and wild fish stocks, and supports more than 55,000 jobs in industries like fishing, aquaculture and tourism. The Atlantic Ocean is vital for Canada’s economy and culture, and it is important that we continue to invest in science and research to ensure the government and our partners understand the current state and pressures our oceans are facing. This data will help inform the steps we need to take to protect both the environment and the economy.

Today, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, announced the release of a new report, Canada’s Oceans Now–Atlantic Ecosystems, 2018. The interactive report, prepared by Fisheries and Oceans Canada with contributions from Environment and Climate Change Canada, is the Department’s first Atlantic Ocean status report in an annual series informing Canadians of the current state of Canada’s oceans. It highlights our knowledge of Atlantic Ocean ecosystems and how they are influenced by the changing environment.

Global climate change is affecting Atlantic Ocean ecosystems in Canada in many ways. Atlantic Ocean waters are warming causing reduced sea ice, rising sea levels, changes to ocean currents and more acidic water. Warmer temperatures also contribute to shifts in some marine communities and their habitats. These physical and biological changes are having serious impacts on the health of Atlantic Ocean ecosystems including shellfish, fish, marine mammals and seabirds.

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Fisheries and Oceans Canada scientists regularly monitor and conduct research on the oceans to track the status and trends occurring over time. Monitoring is essential to helping uncover how marine ecosystems are connected and how they are changing. The baseline data collected through this monitoring is essential to making responsible management decisions for our oceans, fisheries and coastal infrastructure.


“We are witnessing changes to marine life and ecosystems, changes that are directly affecting Canadians and our coastal communities. This report shows that climate change is impacting Atlantic marine ecosystems in complex interconnected ways. Understanding our ocean ecosystems in a changing world is now more important than ever for improving management and conservation measures” say Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“Climate change is real and Canadians across the country are feeling its impacts. The science is clear. Canada’s climate is changing, and it is impacting our air, our land, our waters and the species that depend on it. We will continue to rely on science and work with Canadians to reduce emissions and fight climate change. Together, we can protect the environment and our ecosystems like the Atlantic Ocean, and ensure a healthy and prosperous future of our kids and our grandkids.” say Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Quick facts

A report on the state of the Atlantic Ocean will be released every four years.

The next state of the ocean report to be released will be on the Arctic Ocean, later this year.

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The newly launched State of Canada’s Oceans website includes annual State of the Pacific Ocean technical reports and a Frequently Asked Questions section on some key findings from the 2016 meeting and report.

The consistent publishing of reports on Canada’s oceans will help establish a long-term record of the status and trends of the three oceans.

Canada is taking action to fight climate change through the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. This action plan includes measures to put a price on pollution, phasing out coal, and significant investments in clean technology, public transportation, infrastructure.

Report – Canada’s Oceans Now–Atlantic Ecosystem, 2018

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