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Public input will enhance B.C.’s first-ever coastal marine strategy

CANADA, August 15 - Following extensive consultations with British Columbians, the Province has received valuable feedback that will help shape British Columbia’s first-ever Coastal Marine Strategy, co-developed with coastal First Nations.

A summary of more than 900 submissions received from individuals, environmental non-governmental organizations, local and regional governments, industry associations and businesses across British Columbia is now available in the Coastal Marine Strategy’s What We Heard report. This report summarizes key themes captured during the public engagement and will help inform the Coastal Marine Strategy.

“Healthy and biodiverse coastal marine ecosystems that are stable, vibrant and full of life, predictably deliver a range of benefits to people and help mitigate the impacts felt by a changing climate,” said Nathan Cullen, Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship. “That is why our government and coastal First Nations have made the co-development of a Coastal Marine Strategy a key priority.”

The Coastal Marine Strategy will concentrate on activities, uses and values that the Province of British Columbia is accountable for in the coastal marine environment, while recognizing the need for strong collaboration and co-operation with First Nations and other governments that share responsibility. The strategic initiatives proposed in the Coastal Marine Strategy will expand on existing programs, present new concepts and identify shared values that will guide provincial actions over the next 20 years.

Once complete, the Coastal Marine Strategy will be strengthened through alignment and co-ordination with B.C.’s Wild Salmon Strategy and the Watershed Security Strategy, which is in development. Combined, these strategies can deliver a greater impact to healthier marine and freshwater environments, which will better support a stronger British Columbia and more resilient communities.

Quotes:

Kelly Greene, Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and Aquaculture –

“We have shared values as coastal peoples, and we are working to protect what matters to us all. One of the most unifying calls through this engagement has been to prioritize wild salmon restoration and other important wild fish populations. It’s important to bring those shared values to the forefront in building a sustainable marine and coastal economy for all British Columbians.”

Fin Donnelly, Parliamentary Secretary for Watershed Restoration –

“By supporting a thriving costal environment, we can better protect ecosystems and enhance community well-being. We can build a sustainable ocean-based economy, fostering clean green innovation and marine conservation. The Coastal Marine Strategy is our blueprint for achieving ecosystem resilience and creating a skilled workforce to support these efforts.”

Jim McIsaac, executive director, T. Buck Suzuki Foundation –

“Our coast is a valuable treasure.  We support and commend B.C.’s efforts to create a cohesive strategy that protects what makes our coast so special. B.C. and 17 North Coast First Nations have done an admirable job in initiating this work through the Marine Plan Partnership for the North Pacific Coast. Growing this coast wide and engaging the federal partners in this work will bring benefits coast wide.”

Walt Judas, CEO, Tourism Industry Association of BC

“As connected sector associations focused on the marine tourism environment, we commend the Province of British Columbia and First Nations for the extensive work on the Coastal Marine Strategy intentions paper as a first step towards a provincial coastal marine strategy. The six outcomes and 30 policy intentions that will inform specific objectives, targets and actions are laudable and extremely helpful in our efforts to provide input and recommendations that would benefit our members, stakeholders and B.C. communities at large.”

Damon Nowosad, biologist, Q'ul-lhamunutsun Aquatic Resources Society –

“Such a strategy requires recognition of UNDRIP and needs to actively involve First Nation co-governance, inclusion of traditional values and perspectives, and co-stewardship to ensure the preservation of diverse and healthy marine ecosystems for future generations. We are encouraged by this strong initial collaboration and acknowledge the additions of Indigenous ethics, First Nations relationships to the sea, and the overview of reconciliation and the rights of Indigenous Peoples sections within the paper.”

Quick Facts:

  • B.C.’s ocean-based economy generates approximately 8% of its gross domestic product, supporting 300 coastal communities and full-time work for more than 131,000 British Columbians.
  • British Columbia is one of the few maritime jurisdictions in North America without a comprehensive coastal marine strategy.
  • First Nations have historic knowledge and experience in coastal marine management that will help inform long-term stewardship of B.C.’s diverse and unique marine ecosystems and habitats.
  • The Province of British Columbia holds considerable responsibility for the marine and coastal area.
  • If managed well, all coastal communities and the entire province will benefit.

Learn More:

The Coastal Marine Strategy’s What We Heard report: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/govtogetherbc/engagement/coastal-marine-strategy/

The Intentions Paper of B.C.’s Coastal Marine Strategy: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/app/uploads/sites/121/2022/12/Coastal-Marine-Strategy-Intentions-Paper.pdf