These coastlines are one of our most valuable resources, and with them come tremendous responsibility to protect them. That responsibility includes cleaning up abandoned boats and protecting our waters for tomorrow. As abandoned boats are a growing problem across Canada, the Government of Canada, under the Oceans Protection Plan, is working diligently to deter this irresponsible practice.
Namely, the funding foresees:
- The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, BC Parks and the Town of Ladysmith together will receive up to $90,000 in total for the removal and disposal of 12 abandoned boats and wrecks from their communities.
- Over $140,000 will be divided among four harbour authorities for the removal of 9 abandoned boats at small craft, commercial fishing harbours owned by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The recipients are Ford Cove Harbour Authority (British Columbia), Powell River Harbour Authority (British Columbia), Port Edward Harbour Authority (British Columbia), and Port Saunders Harbour Authority (Newfoundland).
- The Capital Regional District, the Pender Harbour Advisory Council, and the District of Sechelt are collectively receiving up to $90,000 in total for the assessment of 26 abandoned boats and wrecks. Once the assessments have been completed, these organizations will be eligible to request funding through the Program to remove and dispose of the boats, should they meet the Program’s criteria.
- As part of the Education and Awareness component of the Abandoned Boats Program, close to $540,000 will be divided among five recipients over the next three years. They are: Capital Regional District, the Boating British Columbia Association, the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Boating Ontario Association and the Eastern Nova Scotia Marine Stewardship Society. They will develop and lead education and outreach campaigns for small boat owners and the boating communities located across Canada.
- Innovation Maritime (in partnership with le Centre de développement des composites du Québec), CleanTech Renewables Limited and PlaySafe Production are collectively receiving over $475,000 over the next three years to research and develop environmentally friendly methods to recycle and dispose of boats at their end-of-life.
The Oceans Protection Plan, a $1.5 billion initiative, is the largest investment ever made to protect Canada’s coasts and waterways. The strategy aims to create a world-leading marine safety system that provides economic opportunities for Canadians today, while protecting coastlines. The strategy is being developed in close collaboration with Indigenous peoples, local stakeholders and coastal communities.
Under the plan, Canada has implemented several measures in recent months, including the proposed Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act, the 'Proactive Vessel Management' initiative aiming to address local marine traffic issues, the plan for bulk oil removal from the wreck of the Manolis L., the assessing of environmental effects of shipping, and others.
Marc Garneau stated:
Abandoned boats are not just an eyesore; they are a safety concern and a financial burden to communities. The Oceans Protection Plan’s Abandoned Boats Program – one of many initiatives launched to improve the issue of abandoned boats in Canada – is providing crucial financial support to communities, like those of British Columbia. Our government is also pursuing other measures to reduce the number of problem vessels that pose hazards in Canadian waters, and support the preservation and restoration of marine ecosystems.
Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, added:
Supporting fishers and the commercial fishing industry is important to our government. Abandoned and wrecked vessels pose serious risks to small craft harbours, coastal communities and safe navigation. As part of the Oceans Protection Plan, we are taking real action to address these, which means enhanced safety for fishers and better protection for our waters.