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The Government of Canada takes action to protect aquatic species at risk

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Government of Canada is the Government of Canada's digital presence. The goal of this site is to make it easier for Canadians to find and understand Government of Canada information and services.

Canada’s natural environment and wildlife are at the core of our national identity. Biodiversity is the cornerstone of our way of life - the health of the natural environment supports our culture, our well-being and our economy. Unfortunately, some of the species in our waters, rivers, lakes, estuaries, and marshes are at risk and need our collective help to ensure their survival for future generations. We must take urgent, collective action to protect them. 

That’s why the Government of Canada established the historic $1.3 billion Nature Legacy Initiative in Budget 2018, which will advance work towards meeting our nature protection goals. 

The Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, announced that as part of the Nature Legacy, the Government of Canada is formally launching the Canada Nature Fund for Aquatic Species at Risk: a $55 million investment over five years to support the recovery of aquatic species at risk.  

“Through the Canada Nature Fund for Aquatic Species at Risk, the Government of Canada will help protect and promote the recovery of species at risk. We know this must be a shared responsibility, which is why we are partnering with others to fund the right projects that will help us protect aquatic habitat and species at risk for the future.”   - The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

In partnership with Indigenous communities, organizations, provinces and territories, industry and academia, this fund focuses on seven priority freshwater places and two priority marine threats. These federal targeted investments will directly support aquatic conservation and species at risk across the country and in our oceans. 

The priority areas identified are located in:

  • Fraser and Columbia Watersheds (BC)
  • Rocky Mountains’ Eastern Slopes (AB)
  • Southern Prairies (AB, SK, MB)
  • Lower Great Lakes Watershed (ON)
  • St. Lawrence Lowlands / basses-terres du Saint-Laurent (QC)
  • Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence Rivers (NB, NS, PEI)
  • Bay of Fundy and Southern Uplands Watersheds (NS, NB) 

The two priority marine threats identified are: 

  • Fishing interactions such as entanglements and bycatch of aquatic species at risk; 
  • Physical and acoustic disturbance, including ship strikes and marine noise. 

Protecting these species is a shared responsibility. Through this fund, the Government of Canada is helping to build a culture of conservation, and one that empowers Canadian organizations to join in the collaborative efforts to conserve nature. 

The Government of Canada is now accepting Expressions of Interest from potential partners to support the conservation of biodiversity through collaboration and partnership to recover aquatic species at risk.

Project partners will be expected to match funding. Interested parties are encouraged to review the eligibility criteria and submit an expression of interest by March 22, 2019. Successful applicants at this stage will be invited to submit a project proposal for further consideration. 

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