Government of Canada taking action to protect the health of the Gulf of Maine



    ST. ANDREWS, NB, Nov. 8 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Greg Thompson,
Minister of Veterans Affairs, on behalf of the Honourable John Baird, Minister
of the Environment, today announced $751,000 of new funding for four
initiatives of the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment as part of
Canada's Action Plan For Clean Water. This announcement is a component of the
Government of Canada's total investment of $61.5 million over 5 years to
improve the health of our oceans.
    "Today's announcement is further proof of our Government's commitment to
protecting and preserving our environment," said Minister Thompson.
"Maritimers understand the need to ensure Canada's marine resources are
protected and our Government is taking real action to make it happen. Today's
investment in the Gulf of Maine area will ensure a balanced approach between
ongoing economic prosperity and the health of our oceans."
    Today's announcement will contribute to four initiatives of a joint
Canada/USA 5-year action plan of the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine
Environment:

    
    - The Climate Change Network which is working on increasing awareness of
      projections of how climate change will affect the region and on
      developing strategies for adapting to the changes.
    - Gulfwatch is a special program for the joint monitoring for toxic
      chemicals in the transboundary ocean waters
    - Ecosystem Indicators Partnership which is developing a new Internet-
      based reporting system for information about the Gulf of Maine's
      environment.
    - Public Education Products which are developed and delivered by the
      Council's outreach committee.


    (Egalement offert en français)


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                                 BACKGROUNDER
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             THE GULF OF MAINE COUNCIL ON THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT

    Created in 1989, the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment is a
cooperative effort of the Canadian and American federal governments, two
provincial and three state governments, academic institutions, non-government
organizations and private sector organizations throughout the Gulf of Maine
cross-border ecosystem area.
    The Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment has developed its
2007-2012 Action Plan which has three major goals:

    - That coastal and ocean habitats are in a healthy, productive and
      resilient condition;
    - That environmental conditions in the Gulf of Maine support both
      ecosystem and human health and;
    - That coastal communities in the Gulf of Maine area are vibrant and have
      marine-dependent industries that are healthy and globally competitive.
    

    To support these goals the Government of Canada is investing $751,000
over five years from the Health of the Oceans component of Canada's Action
Plan For Clean Water to four of the Council's Action Plan programs.

    The Climate Change Network focuses on the latest scientific information
about climate change, its potential impacts in the area, and the latest
information about adaptations that the Gulf of Maine community will need to
make. The Network's current priorities include preparing regional criteria to
identify coastal habitats at risk from sea-level rise and other climate change
impacts.

    Gulfwatch is a monitoring program for measuring and assessing the types
and concentration of chemical contaminants in the coastal waters of the Gulf
of Maine. The funding announced today will assist the program to better track
the presence and effects of toxic contaminants which will enable improved
decision-making information for people in the coastal waters area.

    The Ecosystem Indicators Partnership is developing indicators about the
nature of the ecosystem of the Gulf of Maine and integrating data for a new
Internet-based reporting system for marine ecosystem and
state-of-the-environment information.

    Public Education and Outreach's activities include the development of
materials and marketing strategies to promote the Council's other three
programs. A Council website is updated and maintained and various press
releases, fact sheets, and other documents are prepared for public
distribution and for use at public events.




For further information:

For further information: Eric Richer, Press Secretary, Office of the
Minister of the Environment, (819) 997-1441; Environment Canada Media
Relations, (819) 934-8008, 1-888-908-8008


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