Life began in the oceans, and life forms are more diverse in the oceans than on land. 71% of the world's surface is covered with oceans
There is more natural production of oxygen and more absorption of carbon dioxide in the world's oceans than on the world's lands. Ocean acidity rises as CO2 rises.

Canada's coastline is more than 200 000 kilometres in length, the world's longest. Nunuvat, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and British Columbia have the most coastline. The coastal shelf and other coastal management issues are the common property of all Canadians.

Fish contribute more than a fifth of the animal protein intake for over half the world's people.

Thus, oceans are the main foundation for a healthy global ecosystem and are the ultimate repository of most wastes. Ecosystem-based approaches to resource management help to preserve living ocean resources. The principles of sustainability and precaution are as important in oceans as on land.

Specific ocean and coastal ecosystems of concern:

related issues: