Sustaining Life in Canada's Seas

By Burridge, Mary; Healy, Claire | ROM Magazine, Summer 2012 | Go to article overview

Sustaining Life in Canada's Seas


Burridge, Mary, Healy, Claire, ROM Magazine


[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Will we learn from our mistakes in the Atlantic and Pacific in time to preserve the Arctic Ocean's fragile ecosystem?

Oceans play such a major role in defining Canada that they form the basis of our national motto: "From Sea to Sea." From the early colonization of this continent by maritime peoples along the Pacific Rim, and European colonization via the Atlantic coast, to future exploration of the Arctic Ocean as it emerges from ice, Canada's past, present, and future are embodied by our three oceans.

Even though the Arctic, Atlantic, and Pacific are interconnected, each has its own unique features: currents, topography, biodiversity. At more than 200,000 km, Canada's is the world's longest coastline, 68 percent of which is in the Arctic. Including the exclusive economic zone (or "200 mile limit"), 36 percent of Canada's territory is ocean.

The earliest recognized and still most renowned underwater feature of Canada's oceans is the Grand Banks off the southeast coast of Newfoundland. There lies a group of underwater plateaus at relatively shallow depths. It is a place where the cold water of the Labrador Current mixes with the warm water of the Gulf Stream, lifting nutrients to the surface. Plankton flourish, providing the foundation of a complex, productive food web and one of the richest fishing grounds in the world. When John Cabot reached the Grand Banks in 1497, legend says there were so many cod in the water that one day his ship ceased moving. When his sailors lowered buckets, they pulled them up filled with cod.

This vast supply of Atlantic cod drew the first European fishers (and, later, settlers) to what is now Canada. For hundreds of years, the cod stocks seemed inexhaustible. But in 1992, following a 20-year decline, the cod population crashed and the fishery collapsed. The cause? Massive overfishing, facilitated by industrial methods and bottom trawling. The cod population was estimated to be 2 billion individuals at its peak, even greater than that of the American bison. The decline of the cod is considered to be the greatest loss of a vertebrate in Canadian history.

Not only did the cod almost vanish but so did 40,000 jobs in Atlantic Canada and a whole way of life.

The Atlantic cod is a keystone species, playing a critical role in shaping the composition of its ecosystem. Its collapse affected not only the fishery, but also hundreds of species linked to it, as predators and prey, by complex food web relationships. Is there any hope for its recovery? The future for cod still seems bleak, although a glimmer of hope did surface in 2010. The southern Grand Banks cod population reached its highest level since 1994--but that was still just 10 percent of what it was in the 1960s. Clearly, only careful management of the cod fishery will enable this population and others to recover. Government, harvesters, retailers, and consumers alike must take part to ensure that such a disaster never occurs again.

On the west coast of Canada, an extraordinary ecosystem known as the Great Bear Rainforest is inextricably linked to the Pacific Ocean. This is one of the largest tracts of temperate rainforest left in the world, covering more than 2 million hectares of land. Here, wild salmon rivers and the adjacent cold-water seas provide food for such magnificent creatures as orca, humpback whale, coastal grey wolf, bald eagle, grizzly bear, and the rare and mysterious spirit bear. Pacific salmon, including chinook, coho, sockeye, chum, and pink salmon, connect life on land, river, and sea. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Sustaining Life in Canada's Seas
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.