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Reducing pollution from land-based activities and disposal at sea

Target 3.8: Marine water quality – Reduce the risks to Canadians and impacts on the marine environment posed by pollution from land-based activities.

Target 3.9: Marine water quality – Prevent marine pollution from uncontrolled dumping at sea. Ensure that permitted disposal at sea is sustainable such that 85% of disposal site monitoring events do not identify the need for site management action (such as site closure).

In 2010, 73% of Canada's shellfish growing area was classified as approved or conditionally approved for shellfish harvesting for human consumption. From 2006 to 2010, the percentage of approved and conditionally approved growing areas did not change.

 

Between 2001 and 2010, the percentage of permitted disposal at sea sites requiring no management action has been above Environment Canada's target of 85%.

Except for 2005, no management actions were required between 2001 and 2010.

The federal government has taken action to reduce the risks posed by pollution, such as spills and disposal practices from both land-based activities and uncontrolled dumping at sea. It ensures compliance with the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act, the Marine Liability Act, as well as international conventions in order to protect the marine environment. This includes regulating exchange and discharge of ballast water, and contributing to setting domestic and international rules that govern liability limits of marine pollution incidents.

In addition, regular aerial surveillance over all waters under Canadian jurisdiction through the National Aerial Surveillance Program has contributed significantly to the decrease in oil discharges from marine vessels, as ships are increasingly aware that their illicit polluting activities can be detected.

At the international level, Canada's engagement on marine pollution has led to stronger protection of the marine environment from both ships' pollution and the introduction of invasive alien species, beginning in 1972 with the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter. In 2001, Canada ratified the International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships. This was followed in 2004 with ratification of the International Convention for the Control Management of Ships Ballast Water and Sediments.

For additional information on the implementation strategies that support this target, please consult the following websites: Environment Canada and Transport Canada.

Progress towards Target 3.8: Classifications of Canada's shellfish growing areas

In 2010, 73% of Canada's shellfish growing area was classified as approved or conditionally approved for shellfish harvesting for human consumption, as illustrated in Figure 3.10. From 2006 to 2010, the percentage of approved and conditionally approved growing areas did not change.

Figure 3.10: Classifications of Canada's shellfish growing areas, 2006 to 2010

Classifications of Canada's shellfish growing areas, 2006 to 2010

Long description

The graph shows the area in square kilometres that was classified as approved/conditionally approved and restricted/conditionally restricted/prohibited for shellfish harvest in each of Canada's three shellfish growing regions (Atlantic, Quebec, Pacific) each year between 2006 and 2010.

On the Atlantic coast, 66% of the shellfish growing area was approved for shellfish harvest or conditionally approved, compared to 80% on the Quebec coast and 77% on the Pacific coast. While there can be local, short-term closures due to storms or other events, the results show that Canada's shellfish growing areas are stable overall.

For the purposes of the Shellfish Growing Area Quality Indicator, shellfish are oysters, clams, geoduck clams, mussels, scallops and cockles. Government conducts bacterial testing of waters in shellfish growing areas under the Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program to reduce the chance that people will get sick from eating shellfish collected in the wild or grown in aquaculture. To determine if shellfish are safe to eat, each growing area is monitored and classified as approved, conditionally approved, restricted, conditionally restricted or prohibited for fishing based on the concentration of bacteria in the water and the effects of pollution sources such as municipal wastewater discharge or boating activities.

For the most up-to-date information on this indicator, please visit CESI.

Progress towards Target 3.9: Disposal at sea

Disposal at sea is the deliberate discarding of approved material from a ship, aircraft, platform or other structure at sea. Disposal of any substance at sea is illegal without a permit.

Between 2001 and 2010, the percentage of permitted disposal at sea sites requiring no management action has been above the target of 85%, as shown in Figure 3.11. Except for 2005, no management actions were required between 2001 and 2010. Canada's ocean disposal sites are being used in a sustainable manner, and impacts to the sites are occurring as predicted.

For the most up-to-date information on this indicator, please visit CESI.

Figure 3.11: Monitored disposal at sea sites requiring no management action, 2001 to 2010

Monitored disposal at sea sites requiring no management action, 2001 to 2010

Long description

The bar graph presents the percentage of monitored disposal at sea sites that required no management action between 2001 and 2010. Management actions were required in 2005 (8% of sites). For all other years, no management action was required. Since 2001, the percentage of monitored disposal at sea sites requiring no management action has been above the 85% target set by Environment Canada.

 


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