Oceans North Canada

The Arctic harbours one of the world’s least disturbed marine ecosystems, plays a crucial role in moderating the planet’s climate and is home to spectacular wildlife, fish and marine mammal populations. The biological riches of the Arctic provide physical and spiritual sustenance for indigenous peoples who have vibrant communities in the north.

The Arctic and its people now face enormous challenges. Climate change is melting polar ice that contributes to climate stability, regulates ocean currents and is the foundation of the Arctic’s biological richness. The warming ocean is altering the Arctic marine ecosystem in ways never before witnessed by humans. At the same time, the disappearance of ice is beginning to provide unprecedented access for industrial development.

The Arctic is vitally important to Canada, making up 68 percent of its coastline and playing a central role in its identity as a northern country. Canada’s north stretches 165,000 kilometres (99,000 miles) from Baffin Island in the east, across the high Arctic archipelago to the MacKenzie River delta and the Yukon in the west. 

The Arctic is ever-present in Canadian culture. Every student sings about “the True North Strong and Free” in the National Anthem, learns about the creation of Nunavut in 1999 and studies famous Arctic explorers like Alexander Mackenzie and Sir John Franklin. Canadians read the work of poets and writers who weave the North into the fabric of their writing such as Robert Service, Margaret Atwood, John Ralston Saul and Robertson Davies.

© Noor Johnson

Nunavut Quest 2010 Finish Line

Likewise, Canada is important to the Arctic. Inuit and government leaders from Canada have played pivotal roles in establishing international cooperation in the Arctic Council, negotiating a global treaty on contaminants and alerting the world to the effects of climate change.

As we face the challenges ahead of us, Canada and its people will play an influential role in building northern solutions and providing northern voices for sustaining life in the Arctic.

To this end, Oceans North Canada promotes science- and community-based conservation of Canada’s northern seas and the resulting well-being of indigenous residents who rely upon its natural wealth.

Our Work

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  • Killer Whale Attack Altered Belugas Behavior in Hudson Bay

    A killer whale attack in 2012 on beluga whales in Canada’s western Hudson Bay caused the belugas to temporarily flee their summer habitat and is raising new questions about how climate change will affect future populations, according to a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Canadian Field-Naturalist. Read More

  • Agreement Holds Promise for Greenland Halibut Fishery in Disko Bay

    Stakeholders in the Greenland halibut fishery agreed in early April to work together to protect threatened inshore fish stocks in Disko Bay, on the country’s southwestern coast. At a meeting in Ilulissat, fishermen and other representatives of the seafood industry, scientists, and government officials signed a memorandum of understanding that outlines plans for ensuring a sustainable... Read More

  • Type of Ice Affects Shipping in Canada’s Northwest Passage

    Many have predicted that the loss of summer sea ice in the Arctic will soon trigger a dramatic increase in commercial ship traffic through Canada’s Northwest Passage. This rests on the assumption that summer sea ice has been the main obstacle to expanded use of this Arctic Ocean shortcut from Asia to Europe, and to easier and more profitable access to Arctic minerals. Read More

Protecting Manitoba’s Beluga Estuaries