Managing Disposal at Sea

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Since 2005, the percentage of permitted disposal at sea sites requiring no management action has been higher than Environment and Climate Change Canada's 85% performance target. Management actions have been required five times, once in 2005, once in 2011, once in 2012 and twice in 2013, indicating Canada's ocean disposal sites are being used in a sustainable manner.

Monitored disposal at sea sites requiring no management action, Canada, 2005 to 2014

Column chart

Long description

The column chart presents the percentage of monitored disposal at sea sites that required no management action between 2005 and 2014. Management actions were required at 8% of sites in 2005, 9% of sites in 2011, 8% of sites in 2012 and 11% of sites in 2013. For all other years, no management action was required.

Data for this chart
Monitored disposal at sea sites requiring no management action, Canada, 2005 to 2014
Monitoring seasonNumber of sites studiedNumber of management actionsPercentage requiring no action

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 575 B)

How this indicator was calculated

Source: Data provided by the Marine Protection Program, Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Disposal at sea is the deliberate discarding of approved material from a ship, aircraft, platform or other structure at sea. Without a permit, it is illegal to dispose of any substance at sea in Canada. The material disposed of at sea is primarily dredged material, fish and excavation waste.

Canada protects its marine environment by regulating disposal at sea through a permit system under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. This permit system also allows Canada to meet its obligations on preventing marine pollution by disposal at sea, as set out in the London Convention, 1972 (Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter) and the 1996 Protocol to the London Convention.

Managing what is discarded at sea prevents marine pollution by controlling the material disposed of at these sites. A management action is a change to how waste is managed at a disposal site and includes changing the timing or the mechanism by which the waste is deposited at the site, changing the site boundaries or even closing the site. The change is made when monitoring data show waste is having a different effect on the environment than predicted during the permit assessment or when the sustainable use of the site is questioned. Since 2005, there have been five instances of management action taken as a result of disposal site monitoring. In three cases, monitoring found the sites had reached their capacity. In the other two cases, one site was interfering with a commercial fishery and the other was interfering with navigation. In all cases, the sites were permanently closed before navigation was affected, not because of contamination or long-term impact to the marine environment.

Related information

Theme II icon
This indicator is used to measure progress toward Target 3.9: Marine Pollution – Disposal 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) from 2013–16 of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy 2013–2016.

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