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Canada takes action with partners across the country to protect aquatic species at risk

Nov 26, 2020

Canada takes action with partners across the country to protect aquatic species at risk

Ottawa, Ontario – The health of our marine and freshwater environments and the wildlife they sustain are critical to our country’s culture, well-being, and economies. Yet some of the species that find their home in the waters, rivers, lakes, estuaries, and marshes throughout the country are at risk due to climate change, habitat loss and other factors. The Government of Canada is taking action not only to protect these species, but also to actively rebuild their populations.

Today, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, announced $52.3 million in funding under the Canada Nature Fund for Aquatic Species at Risk (the Nature Fund). This funding is supporting 49 multi-year projects across Canada, some of which are already underway.

Through this fund, established under the Nature Legacy initiative, the Government of Canada is helping to build a culture of conservation that empowers Canadian organizations to work together to protect our natural environments. This fund is taking an ecosystem approach to restoring and protecting aquatic species. Instead of targeting specific species, these projects aim to improve a priority place or address a priority threat. This broader approach looks at improving the entire ecosystem – from the specific species at risk, the habitat they call home, as well as other species in the area.

DFO selected key priority areas across Canada based on a number of factors, including the number of aquatic species at risk; the severity and significance of threats; and the potential for multispecies and ecosystem benefits. By strategically investing in the regions based on this criteria, the Nature Fund is targeting areas where we have the most potential to provide a real and lasting impact on species recovery.

The Government of Canada established the historic $1.3 billion Nature Legacy Initiative in Budget 2018. The five-year, $55 million Canada Nature Fund for Aquatic Species at Risk supports a new approach to the conservation of aquatic species through targeted federal investments in priority places, and addressing priority threats. The Fund makes it possible to support protection and recovery efforts by all partners, including Indigenous Peoples .


“With nearly 2 million lakes, endless connected waterways, and the longest coastline in the world, Canada is home to countless marine and freshwater species and habitats that breathe life into our environment. Our government is taking strong, consistent action to protect these species and revitalize the ecosystems they depend on – because when nature thrives, our communities thrive too. By making targeted investments through Canada Nature Fund for Aquatic Species at Risk, we are able to collaborate with Indigenous peoples, and environmental and community organizations on projects that have the greatest potential to make a lasting impact on our natural environments.”

The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard


Projects funded under the Canada Nature Fund for Aquatic Species at Risk focus on two marine priority threats and seven priority areas. Project descriptions for all of the funded projects are available on the Fisheries and Oceans Canada website, under the applicable priority threat or priority area.

The two marine priority threats are:

Fishing interactions (includes entanglement and bycatch of aquatic species at risk)

Physical and acoustic disturbance(includes vessel collisions and marine noise)