Greenpeace is holding a march and rally in the West End this afternoon in honour of Oceans Day and the people who risk imprisonment to protect them.

Activists will march with banners demanding justice for two activists on trial in Japan for protesting that country’s controversial whaling program.

They face their final day in court today.

“Oceans Day should be a day to celebrate the diversity of our oceans and join together to protect them for future generations,” said Sarah King, Greenpeace oceans campaigner.

“This Oceans Day, not only do our oceans remain under threat but so too do those who seek to protect them.”

King said the biggest threats facing British Columbia’s coastal waters are overfishing, destructive fish farms and the risk of oil spill from projects like the proposed Enbridge pipe-line.

“(Those issues) and the sheer lack of adequate action to protect our marine ecosystems all threaten the health of our fragile coast,” King said.

“The federal government needs to permanently ban tankers from the coast, take strong action to protect our at-risk species like our resident orcas.”

Ottawa tables plan to protect waters of gwaii haanas The federal government yesterday announced plans to expand protection to 3,500 square kilometres of waters and seabed around a national park near Haida Gwaii — formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands.

The islands in Gwaii Haanas National Park have been protected for years but that protection had always stopped at the beach.

Environment Minister Jim Prentice tabled an amendment to formally establish the area as a marine conservation area, which is home to blue whales, endangered Steller sea lions, songbirds and corals.

With files from The Canadian Press