File photo.

File photo.

Researchers on Vancouver Island will help implement the first phase of a Canadian Integrated Ocean Observing System (CIOOS), that will help determine future steps to protect Canada’s oceans.

On Thursday, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) announced $1.5 million-per-year in funding to develop the web-based CIOOS for the ability to share observation data and make science-based decisions on the use of Canada’s ocean environment.

The government says that includes the ability to safely navigate through coastal waters, maintain coastal economies, and build infrastructure.

Ocean Networks Canada, a University of Victoria initiative, and the Tula Foundation out of Campbell River is partnering with other ocean research organizations, the DFO and the Marine Environmental Observation, Prediction and Response Network (MEOPAR) for work on the first phase of the system over the next two years.

MEOPAR is jointly funding the CIOOS with $2-million over four years.

“Our oceans provide so much to our coastal communities and in return, it is our responsibility to take care of them,” Minister of Fisheries and Ocean Jonathan Wilkinson said in a statement.

“Collaborations such as this with the Marine Environmental Observation, Prediction and Response Network help us better understand of how the oceans are changing and what that means for the way of life for so many Canadian who make their living on the sea.”