Canadian Wildlife Federation Continues Commitment to Marine Conservation with New National Marine Animals Emergency Response Initiative

OTTAWA, Oct. 30, 2013 /CNW/ - The Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) has officially completed its Bike for Wildlife cross-Canada trek in Halifax, N.S. with an exciting new national marine conservation announcement.

For over 50 years, CWF has been conserving Canada's wildlife and natural spaces. With a permanent Maritime presence over the past several years headed by CWF's Manager of Marine Programs Dr. Sean Brillant, CWF has funded and carried out numerous projects specific to Canada's marine conservation needs. For example, with our numerous partners, CWF has increased our knowledge about leatherback turtles in Atlantic Canada, studied the risk of commercial fisheries to large whales and turtles and used this research to make recommendations to Fisheries and Oceans Canada to reduce this risk. We have examined the role of Canada's Saltwater Cities (coastal urban communities) on marine wildlife including a study of the effect of shoreline development on marine biodiversity. And we have examined and summarized the scientific literature on the effects of open-pen finfish aquaculture on local wildlife and made this available to the public.

Continuing our commitment to marine conservation in Canada, CWF announced today its participation on a national steering committee for the coordinated response of marine animal emergencies nationwide.  "Canada's marine wildlife, including many species at risk, can become distressed, entrapped, entangled or injured due to natural causes and due to human activities", said Dr. Brillant.  "With effective and well-funded response systems in place, some of these distressed marine animals can be saved and in all cases, crucial information that would benefit their conservation can be gained. This can only be accomplished by properly trained and supported team members".

From 2011 to 2012, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada reported 913 incidents involving entrapped, entangled, injured and/or distressed whales and dolphins, seals, marine turtles and large fish. In most cases, regional networks of non-governmental organizations were involved in these incidents, but often have limited funding, equipment and appropriately-trained volunteers.

CWF will work with organizations representing the regional networks, such as the Marine Animal Response Society (Nova Scotia), Whale Release and Strandings (Newfoundland and Labrador), le Groupe de recherche et d'éducation sur les mammifères marins (Quebec), and the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre (British Colombia) to form a national steering committee. This committee will unify regional network efforts through the creation of a comprehensive operational and funding strategy launching in spring 2014.

CWF is excited to help drive this essential service in Canada and to ensure that the dedicated members of the regional networks receive the proper funding, supplies and training to continue contributing to the conservation of Canada's marine wildlife.

About the Canadian Wildlife Federation
The Canadian Wildlife Federation is a national charitable organization dedicated to ensuring an appreciation of our natural world and a lasting legacy of healthy wildlife and habitat. By spreading knowledge of human impacts on the environment, developing and delivering educational programs, sponsoring research, promoting the sustainable use of natural resources, recommending policy changes and co-operating with like-minded partners, CWF encourages a future in which Canadians can live in harmony with nature. For more information, visit CanadianWildlifeFederation.ca.

SOURCE: Canadian Wildlife Federation

For further information:

Jerika Bradford Public Relations Officer
Canadian Wildlife Federation
613-599-9594 x219
jerikab@cwf-fcf.org

Jon Stone
Maritimes Media Representative
902-817-0629
Jon_stone@ns.sympatico.ca

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