Vancouver, B.C. – As we celebrate World Oceans Day on June 8, Canadians across the country say we’re not doing enough to care for our oceans, and they’re prepared to take action. A new poll*, conducted by Insights West on behalf of the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre, finds that 90 per cent of Canadians think about our oceans, and more than three-quarters of them say we’re not doing enough to conserve and protect them.
“It’s no surprise that Canadians are worried about the state of our oceans,” said Dr. John Nightingale, CEO and president of the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre. “We are intrinsically connected to them. Our oceans provide more than half of the oxygen we breathe and a great deal of the food we eat, and at more than 200,000 kilometres, Canada has the longest coastline in the world.”
According to the poll, nine in 10 Canadians (90 per cent) think about the oceans, with 47 per cent thinking about it “all of the time” or “often.” Three in four Canadians (76 percent) say we are doing too little to conserve and preserve our oceans.
The poll also found that pollution, litter and overfishing are a concern for more than four in five Canadians, and three-quarters say microplastics are also a worry. More than half of Canadians (53 per cent) would eliminate guilty vices related to plastic, including bags and water bottles.
“Plastic debris is a growing concern around the world,” said Nightingale. “Small particles contaminate the food web, and larger items can entangle animals. Here on the B.C. coast, we have hundreds of sea lions entangled in packing straps and netting. At the Vancouver Aquarium, we’re taking action through our Coastal Ocean Research Institute, and with our Marine Mammal Rescue Team, but we need help. All Canadians can take action, even in small ways, to improve the health of our oceans.”
These actions add up over time, and are imperative to ensuring our oceans are clean, healthy and full of life for future generations. It has been 60 years since the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre opened its doors, beginning decades of ocean conservation efforts, vital research, curriculum-based education and public engagement.
The reach of the Aquarium’s conservation efforts now extends coast to coast. In 1994, the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup was started by a handful of employees actively keeping garbage out of the local waters of Stanley Park. The program has grown into the largest conservation-based cleanup program in the nation. It’s easy to join the more than 59,000 Canadians who participate in this program annually by signing up for a local cleanup. Canadians across the country can also make a difference by choosing to eat sustainable seafood. The national Ocean Wise program has grown to include more than 650 partners since launching in 2005 and is making ocean-friendly seafood top-of-mind for leading chefs, markets and suppliers. They now offer more sustainable options to eco-conscious consumers who can simply look for the Ocean Wise symbol.
On June 18-19, the Aquarium will celebrate its 60th year and members of the public are invited to join. Waterfall Café, which is open to all Stanley Park visitors, will host an Ocean Wise salmon BBQ, where sustainable seafood lovers can purchase salmon burgers and salads. Visitors can journey back in time as they explore the galleries and the historic photos and stories that will be on display. The festivities will also include live aquatic-themed dance performances, face painting and crafts, and celebratory cake. For more info, visit www.vanaqua.org.
* Results are based on an online study conducted from May 4 to May 9, 2016, among a representative sample of 1,122 Canadian adults. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 2.9 percentage points.
Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre
The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre is a non-profit society dedicated to the conservation of aquatic life. www.vanaqua.org