Skip to main content

Clear Seas At Five Years: Research For A Sustainable Future

4 minute read

On its fifth anniversary, Clear Seas looks back at its accomplishments and reflects on the key role it will continue to play to support safe and sustainable marine shipping in Canada.

Clear Seas provides research on issues around sustainable marine shipping – from underwater noise, oil tankers, air pollution from ships and more – to over 200,000 website users, most of whom are in Canada.


Figure 1: National Distribution of Clear Seas’ Website Users


As Clear Seas Centre for Responsible Marine Shipping marks its fifth anniversary, there is a growing recognition that its approach to fact-based research will play an important role in providing trusted information on the safety and sustainability of marine shipping in Canada during the post-COVID-19 recovery and beyond.

“Heading into this new environment, Clear Seas’ role will be as important as ever in helping the marine shipping industry contribute to a sustainable future,” says Bud Streeter, Chair of Clear Seas’ Board of Directors. “It seems that many organizations, policy makers and members of the public are recognizing that the recovery is an opportunity to ‘re-build it right’.”

Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, sits on the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy made up of the governments of 14 seafaring nations. In a recent statement, the panel recognized that the ocean transports around 90 per cent of world trade and is the key to a prosperous world. “This will be more important than ever as we embark on post-COVID-19 recovery,” the panel said in a joint declaration in June 2020.

Business leaders and CEOs from multinational companies are also committed. A coalition of companies representing US$3.6 trillion in market capitalisation formed earlier this year, including French shipping giant CMA CGM and many other companies involved in marine shipping. The coalition reaffirmed their commitment to the UN Global Compact with plans to bring sustainable policies to the forefront to aid in the global recovery. They called on governments around the world to match their ambition to assist in “rebuilding it right.”

In assessing the role Clear Seas can play in “rebuilding it right,” Streeter says that the organization’s accomplishments show that it will be a highly relevant part of this changed world. Streeter, who has more than 50 years of experience in the marine shipping industry and the public sector, believes that the organization’s accomplishments and credibility speak for itself. In the global disruption that occurred as a result of COVID-19 — and the recovery that is following — Clear Seas’ vision of a vibrant, safe and sustainable marine shipping industry will inform the direction of this recovery, Streeter says.

Clear Seas’ Website: First Port of Call on Sustainable Marine Shipping

During its first five years, Clear Seas’ website has become the key to create awareness about commercial marine shipping and to reach Canadians of all ages and backgrounds, from policy makers, researchers, and educators – all of them people who want to know more about marine shipping issues. The website is a resource to learn about the importance of shipping to Canada’s economy and the key issues affecting the industry, the environment and the country.

Since the website was launched in 2016, it has attracted some 200,000 users1 – including 130,000 from across Canada – who together viewed Clear Seas’ online resources more than 370,000 times. By providing in-depth, unbiased and comprehensive information on topical and often contentious issues, Clear Seas reaches a cross-section of Canadians in both official languages, encouraging informed dialogue on the impact and value of commercial marine shipping.


Figure 2: Overview of Clear Seas’ Resources


Recognizing the Role of Indigenous Peoples

Clear Seas’ path to researching future issues around the sustainability of marine shipping will continue to stress the important contributions of First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples and how Canada’s maritime industry can embrace the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This is especially relevant as people throughout Canada have shown interest on marine shipping issues, particularly around transporting natural resources while ensuring environmental safety. Traditional Knowledge will play an increasingly important role in this and other Clear Seas research areas.

Kim Baird, Vice Chair of Clear Seas’ Board and a former chief of the Tsawwassen Nation, says that for her community, the coastline is their identity. She embraced the creation of Clear Seas as an “opportunity to be a part of something that provides reliable information on shipping safety, spill prevention and response.” In her view, it will play an even more important role moving into the future as attention focuses on reconciliation and respecting First Nations’ important role as stewards of our coastal and marine resources.

“Rebuilding it Right”

Five years out from its launch, Clear Seas has shown that it can make major contributions to research on the topic of sustainable marine shipping in Canada and continues to engage with Canadians from all regions on many different issues.

What’s next? Continuing to identify sustainable marine shipping issues and publish trustworthy independent research on these issues to support better decisions by and for all Canadians.

#RebuildingItRight #SustainableShipping #Anniversary

1 Clear Seas uses Google analytics to measure the use of its website to help improve the user experience. The term “users” is the number of new and returning people who visit the site during a set period of time.

Published | Last modified on