Wednesday, July 13, 2016

World Wildlife Fund introduces new interactive map to highlight ocean concerns

The World Wildlife Fund has launched a new information system making use of an interactive map that explores Canada's three ocean environments, highlighting the balance to the eco-structure that they provide, while taking note of the challenges and perils that the WWF fears they face.

The map combines relevant marine data, featuring such areas as species, shipping, fisheries, habitat, sea ice and more in an informative overview. The project explores the current state of the oceans on from coast to coast to coast and how we can plan for a sustainable future from them.

In a media release to introduce the project the WWF noted the increase in the use of oceans and some alarming trends that oceans face from pollution to climate change.

Canada's oceans are busier than ever, and scientists have noticed the emergence of alarming trends, including warming and acidification due to climate change, and declining marine populations due to overfishing and pollution. Ocean planning, also called marine spatial planning, helps us understand how these shared spaces are used, where there are overlaps and how to best manage human activities so that people and nature can thrive together.

For the North Coast one area of particular note for the WWF is the Skeena River estuary, which receives a large amount of attention when it comes to their review of the Pacific Ocean.

Divided into four categories the review features an Introduction, a look at the Natural Riches of the North Coast, the Challenges that the region face and offers up the Solutions that the WWF believe address the issues.

Fish habitat is one key area of study
for a new inter-active map from the
World Wildlife Federation
Among the key features of the Natural Riches overview is the habitat of the Skeena estuary and its  importance to the North Coast fishery, with the infographic noting that 80 percent of commercially important fish species rely on eelgrass beds during some part of their lifecycle.

The WWF's focus on the challenges for the estuary take note of the many development plans for the North Coast, particularly in the LNG sector and the impact that those projects could have on both communities and wildlife in the region.

Concerns related to increased pollution and  a growing density in shipping activity on the Pacific Coast is also subject to some review by the interactive presentation, packing those two side effects of growing industrialization on the coast as items that are high list of issues when it comes to habitat and salmon migration routes.

The focus on the North Coast and Skeena River Estuary can be explored here.

You can launch the full map project from this link.

Further background on the need for a comprehensive plan of stewardship over the oceans can be reviewed here.

More on the work of the WWF can be found from their website homepage.

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