More low-impact shipping lanes and new MPAs in Canada thanks to FPA2 funding boost

Canada’s largest shipbuilder and home to the National Icebreaker Centre, Chantier Davie Canada Inc. (Davie), has announced funding of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation – Canada for the expansion of the Arctic Corridors and Northern Voices program.

The Arctic Corridors and Northern Voices program, a recipient of the Governor General’s Innovation Award, trains Inuit communities in advanced technologies to map culturally sensitive areas in order to inform policy and planning for Arctic marine use and oceans governance.

“Combining western technologies and training with Inuit knowledge has proven to be a highly successful formula in supporting national and international ocean policy,” said Dr. Jackie Dawson, lead researcher and associate professor and Canada Research Chair in Environment, Society and Policy at the University of Ottawa. “Davie and the National Icebreaker Centre’s role in building a new fleet of icebreakers for the Canadian Coast Guard is of paramount importance to conservation programs and Indigenous communities in the Arctic.”

Davie’s initial funding of $150,000 (€135,000) will allow the program to be extended to other Indigenous communities whose regions have not yet been included in the program and who have requested to take part.

“It is by listening to the voices of Indigenous peoples, as well as those of scientists, that we will be able to better know and understand these vulnerable environments in order to better protect them. In this regard, the collective approach of the Arctic Corridors project, alongside Canadian Arctic communities, academics and ship operators, is to be applauded, as they work to identify low-impact shipping lanes and the creation of new marine protected areas,” said Prince Albert II of Monaco.

“No-one knows better than the Indigenous communities”

As the marine and other industries seek to benefit from the opening of Arctic sea routes, the Arctic Corridors and Northern Voices program is training Indigenous communities and providing technology to map areas which are then used to identify and develop management strategies for low-impact shipping corridors.

“Dr. Dawson’s and her team’s work is both impressive and effective. No one knows the Arctic better than the Indigenous communities who have lived there for thousands of years. It’s about training and equipping those Indigenous communities with the tools they need to provide policymakers and the industry with information to ensure that responsible shipping can continue while mitigating the potential for devastating consequences to the local population, the environment and marine life,” said Alex Vicefield, Chairman and CEO of Inocea, Davie’s parent group. “In what is one of the world’s most ecologically and culturally sensitive oceanic basins and with a sharply increasing level of Arctic shipping, creating these Arctic corridors is absolutely critical.”

Mr. Vicefield added, “We are proud to work with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation – Canada, which is leading the way in Arctic conservation. This initiative is strongly linked to our work in building the Canadian government’s future icebreaker fleet which, amongst other things, will be critical for the protection of the Arctic and its Indigenous communities.”

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Monaco Life with press release. Photo provided.