Minister Strahl visits researchers mapping Canada's Arctic continental shelf



    TUKTOYAKTUK, NWT, Sept. 27 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Chuck Strahl,
Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor
for Métis and Non-Status Indians, is on-board Canada's largest icebreaker,
CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent stationed in the Beaufort Sea, today to highlight the
work being done to strengthen Canada's Arctic Sovereignty.
    Canadian scientists are on the icebreaker conducting a six-week seismic
and bathymetric (water depth) survey, which will allow Canada to better define
the maximum extent of the continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean. The
continental shelf is the submerged slope of the continent before the drop-off
to the deep ocean floor, and the scientists' survey will measure the thickness
of sediment on the sea floor.
    "This mapping will enable Canada to establish with certainty where our
continental shelf begins and ends," said Minister Strahl. "This will give
Canada undisputed international recognition of our sovereign rights over the
seabed resources in the areas beyond our 200-mile limit."
    "Canada's extended continental shelf in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans is
approximately 1,750,000 square kilometres-an area equivalent to the size of
Canada's three prairie provinces," said the Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of
Natural Resources. "We already have sovereign rights in these areas, but to
provide certainty for future economic development and protection of seabed
resources, it is important to gain international recognition of their full
extent."
    The work being done to secure our claim of the extended continental shelf
will have a lasting impact on Canada's future role in the Arctic. The United
Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) confirms the sovereign
rights of coastal states over the continental shelf for exploration and the
use of natural resources within and beyond 200 nautical miles. Where the
continental shelf extends beyond 200 nautical miles, UNCLOS allows a coastal
state to define the shelf's outer limits. Canada has until 2013 to submit
proof of the outer limits of its extended continental shelf to the United
Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.
    "Canada is working to obtain the best scientific evidence to support our
claim to as much of the continental shelf as possible, in accordance with
international law," said the Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of Foreign
Affairs.
    "Establishing the limits of the extended continental shelf will allow
Canada to delineate precisely the full extend of the area over which it
exercises sovereign rights for the purpose of exploring its natural
resources," said the Honourable Loyola Hearn, Minister of Fisheries and
Oceans.

    Minister Strahl is currently on his first tour of the Arctic in his
capacity as Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. The tour
follows a recent visit by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, where he articulated
Canada's New Government's four priorities for the North: Sovereignty, Mineral
and Resources Development, Environmental Protection and Northern Governance.




For further information:

For further information: about Canada's Extended Continental Shelf
Program visit
http://geo.international.gc.ca/cip-pic/geo/continental_shelf-en.aspx; For more
information, media may contact: Indian and Northern Affairs Canada: Philippe
Mailhot, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Chuck Strahl, (819)
997-0002; Media Relations, (819) 953-1160; Natural Resources Canada: Louise
Girouard, Director of Communications, Office of the Minister, (613) 996-2007;
Fisheries and Oceans Canada: Genevieve Gareau-Lavoie, Media Relations, (613)
990-7537; Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada: Foreign Affairs
Media Relations Office, (613) 995-1874; Ce texte est également disponible en
français.


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