Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray today announced funding of $46.5 million for a research institution on the B.C. coast that will help unravel what she calls the “great mysteries” of the ocean.
The money, spent over five years, aims to strengthen coastal monitoring systems run by the University of Victoria’s Ocean Networks Canada.
The floor of the deep ocean is, on average, 4 kilometres deep, Murray told a press conference at the IMPAC5 conference underway in Vancouver. “Think about how little we know about that ecosystem,” she said.
Oceans Network Canada will use the funds toward monitoring changes in the ocean from global warming, underwater noise, acidification, and wave and surface currents.
The research will help communities that rely on coastal waters, Oceans Canada Network president Kate Moran told reporters.
“Climate change is the issue of our time,” said Moran. To understand its impacts, she added, a combination of science research and Indigenous knowledge is needed.
The network employs a staff of 160 people in high-tech jobs, said Moran, and serves as a “learning factory for many young ocean technologists.”
The new spending will help “protect our ecosystems, support safe navigation, and inform emergency response planning,” said a federal statement.
The statement said the funding will come from $3.5 billion allocated to the federal Oceans Protection Plan over the past seven years, “the largest investment Canada has ever made to protect its coasts and waterways.”