A polar bear amid melting ice in April 2017. Set against the backdrop of diminishing sea ice, Canada's Arctic Marine Atlas compiles complex scientific information into an accessible volume that can be read in English, French or Inuktitut. (Jimmy Thomson/Radio-Canada)

Conservation groups hope to educate Canadians with new Arctic marine atlas

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Faced with dramatic shifts in the Arctic due to joint pressures of climate change and industrial development, a trio of Canadian NGOs released Monday an educational tool they hope will help shape the conversation about protecting the region’s fragile environment and its Indigenous peoples.

The 122-page trilingual – English, French and Inuktitut – Canada’s Arctic Marine Atlas released by Oceans North, Ducks Unlimited Canada and World Wildlife Fund- Canada provides a comprehensive overview of complex interactions between humans and various Arctic marine species.

“We’re pleased to offer this first-of-its-kind resource to help educate Canadians about the Arctic marine environment,” said in a statement Louie Porta, vice-president of operations for Oceans North. “Fact-based conservation measures are essential to ensuring a healthy Arctic Ocean for generations to come.”

The atlas begins its discussion of industrial development and conservation management in the Canadian Arctic with a focus on Inuit and their reliance on the ocean for hunting and travel.

This Arctic Fishes Food Web shows the movement of energy through key Arctic marine and anadromous fish species and how each species is interconnected. (Oceans North)

“While recognizing what is known, it is important to understand that Canada’s Arctic is experiencing unprecedented ecological change,” Mary Simon, the veteran Inuit and Canadian political leader, writes in the foreword to the atlas.

“At the same time, the region is facing a new generation of geopolitical and industrial interests that will have a direct impact on the future of Inuit Nunangat and its 53 communities.”

The atlas surveys species ranging from cold-water corals to bowhead whales and describes the region’s physical oceanography and biosphere, from the bottom of the food chain up through fish, birds and marine mammals.

The atlas includes seven chapters with a total of 67 images, 77 maps, 33 scientific illustrations and three food-web graphics.

“The Arctic is undergoing rapid change, attracting attention from nations and corporations eyeing its business potential,” said in a statement Paul Crowley, head of Arctic conservation for WWF-Canada. “We have an opportunity here to get it right, and that starts with understanding the marine environment through the eyes of the people who rely on it and the wildlife that make it home.”

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2 comments on “Conservation groups hope to educate Canadians with new Arctic marine atlas
  1. cliff says:

    Hi my name is Cliff Hawk I have been commercial fishing and or Diving for for Sea Urchins going on 40 years. My Diving predominately takes place on the west coast of California from San Diego to San Pedro and the islands outside of the coast including San Clemente Island, Catalina,Santa Barabara Island.I have seen significant changes to the environment that I work in[That being 20 – 110 feet harvesting Sea Urchins which are sold as Uni in sushi bars}T he diving that I do is strenuous and exciting I have been diving since I was 18 I am now 58 and I love it! I care very much about the resource and the environment I have served as Sea Urchin Commissioner to both San Diego and San Pedro voted for size limits,Funding our own studies of the sea urchin resource, participated in those studies gathering data etc. I love producing and or harvesting food for people to eat it is honest and satisfying work! the changes we are experiencing are due to the warm water it started with El nino in 2016 the warm water came in and Wiped out the resource in the shallow’s 45 feet and above Gone!!the area I am talking about is the southern waters from Diego to pedro and out to Clemente this is where I dive and what I have seen the resource gone nothing but shells in the shallow water in these areas…. Hundreds of Thousands of pounds Gone!!! there is plenty of product and or resource in the deeper waters and the kelp is healthy. I have never seen this much of an impact to the resource from an Elnino I have lived through the 82, 97 el ninos all devastating but not quite like the 2016 El Nino in impact and the waters are not going back to the temperature they should be at the resource in the deeper areas doing well and I am seeing good recruitment My problem is I bought Volvo so many problems!!

  2. Pea Pod says:

    This is an amazing compilation of everything you need to know about Our #CanadianArctic! I commend all involved who worked for three long years as said in the article to see #TheAtlas to its completion! I love the #illustrations and of course all the #facts about the #InuitNunangat #LouiePorta #WWF-Canada #oceans