In a joint announcement of Natural Resources and Fisheries, Oceans and Coast Guard, Canada has iterated its official stance on seabed mining: it will not be allowed in areas under Canadian jurisdiction.
The Hon. Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources, and the Hon. Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, released a statement confirming Canada's position on seabed mining. Canada does not currently have a domestic legal framework that would permit seabed mining. Without such a framework, the government will not authorize seabed mining in areas under its jurisdiction.
The position of the federal government is that seabed mining should only take place if effective protection of the marine environment is provided through a rigorous and comprehensive regulatory structure, taking precautionary and ecosystem-based approaches, using science-based and transparent management, and ensuring effective compliance with effective inspection mechanisms.
Canada has committed to protecting 25% of our oceans by 2025, and 30% by 2030. The protected regions now amount to 14% today, up from 1% in 2015. The government has committed to investing $3.5 billion in its Oceans Protection Plan, which as renewed and expanded last year.
"The ocean is critical to the resilience and well-being of coastal and Indigenous communities. Canada has made real progress in protecting the oceans, and that includes taking a strong stand in banning seabed mining in marine protected areas. We have a responsibility to protect nature and biodiversity and are delivering on this commitment," said Murray when the announcement was made at the Fifth International Marine Protected Area Congress held earlier this week in Vancouver.
Canada is a member of the International Seabed Authority Council, actively engaged in the negotiation of seabed mineral exploitation regulations. The council is made up of 167 member states and the European Union.
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Albert F Reeve
It is difficult to imagine any harm coming from deep sea mining beyond the continental shelves.