As we celebrate World Oceans Day on June 8, Canadians across the country say we’re not doing enough to care for our oceans, and they’re prepared to take action. A new poll*, conducted by Insights West on behalf of the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre, finds that 90 per cent of Canadians think about our oceans, and more than three-quarters of them say we’re not doing enough to conserve and protect them.

“It’s no surprise that Canadians are worried about the state of our oceans,” said Dr. John Nightingale, CEO and president of the Vancouver Aquarium. “We are intrinsically connected to them. Our oceans provide more than half of the oxygen we breathe and a great deal of the food we eat, and at more than 200,000 kilometres, Canada has the longest coastline in the world.”

According to the poll, nine in 10 Canadians (90 per cent) think about the oceans, with 47 per cent thinking about it “all of the time” or “often.” Three in four Canadians (76 percent) say we are doing too little to conserve and preserve our oceans. The poll also found that pollution, litter and overfishing are a concern for more than four in five Canadians, and three-quarters say microplastics are also a worry. More than half of Canadians (53 per cent) would eliminate guilty vices related to plastic, including bags and water bottles.

Plastic packing bands are the most common cause of marine mammal entanglements.

Plastic packing straps are the most common cause of marine mammal entanglements.

“Plastic debris is a growing concern around the world,” said Nightingale. “Small particles contaminate the food web, and larger items can entangle animals. Here on the B.C. coast, we have hundreds of sea lions entangled in packing straps and netting. At the Vancouver Aquarium, we’re taking action through our Coastal Ocean Research Institute, and with our Marine Mammal Rescue Team, but we need help. All Canadians can take action, even in small ways, to improve the health of our oceans.”

These actions add up over time, and are imperative to ensuring our oceans are clean, healthy and full of life for future generations. This year, the Vancouver Aquarium is celebrating 60 years since it opened its doors — beginning decades of ocean conservation efforts, vital research, curriculum-based education and public engagement. Today, our oceans need help more than ever. The next 60 years of ocean conservation are crucial to their long-term health, but with the support of 90 per cent of concerned Canadians, change can be effected.

Join a Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup to prevent marine debris from ending up in the ocean.

Join a Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup to prevent marine debris from ending up in the ocean.

* Results are based on an online study conducted from May 4 to May 9, 2016, among a representative sample of 1,122 Canadian adults. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 2.9 percentage points.

 The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre is a non-profit society dedicated to the conservation of aquatic life.

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