Marine biologists, or those who work with the aquatic environment, are a growing sector of the Canadian workforce, as the Canadian government looks to grow the workforce to help with the country’s diversification efforts.
“The job that we are doing is really the job that our ancestors did, and the job of this nation’s history is that we have a duty to the environment, and our nation’s economic growth is based on our ability to manage the environment,” said Marine Science Minister David Emerson.
Emerson is an oceanographer who is part of a government committee reviewing the profession’s future.
He’s also a marine biologist who worked with his grandfather, who was one of the first to study the ocean and found some of the most beautiful creatures on earth.
“We need to have our ocean ecology and our fisheries management in place to continue to be an ocean nation,” Emerson said.
“I believe the Marine Biology profession has been at the forefront of marine science for quite some time.”
The Marine Science Association of Canada has been pushing for an overhaul in the profession, but Emerson is adamant that this will happen in a collaborative way.
“In the long run, there is a consensus that we need to come together to make sure that we take the best science that we can and do it in a manner that will benefit all of us.”
The association has been working to build up its science programs and support for the next generation of marine scientists, which will include those who come from an environmental perspective.
“There is a lot of support for that.
It’s not just a matter of funding, but it’s also the support of the leadership that you have,” Emerson told CBC News.”
It’s a matter not just of funding and the numbers but also of the people that are coming out of the program that are really doing that kind of research.”
There are currently nearly 5,000 marine biologists working in Canada.
Emerson is confident that the numbers will increase, especially as more graduates from this sector are drawn to the country.
“They are coming into this field that they would have never come into before and they’re doing things that they never thought they could do, but we want them to have a real sense of what is possible and to be proud of it,” Emerson explained.
“And they are really going to need a strong understanding of how the science is being applied and how the data is being used, how it’s being used to inform their own understanding of the world and what we need.”
It’s an important change, he added, and it will create more jobs and generate more income for the country and the world.
“You can’t really do this without a lot more education and a lot less emphasis on this area of the profession.
The Marine Biology Association of Ontario and the Canada Marine Science College are two great institutions that are going to be able to do this.”