The province is asking for public feedback on a document proposing solutions and policies to guide the health of marine ecosystems and coastal communities in B.C.
As the government develops the province’s first coastal marine strategy, they want people to give feedback on its goals and priorities, the Ministry of Water, Land and Water Stewardship announced on Dec. 15.
The strategy aims to nurture healthy and productive ecosystems by supporting sustainable prosperity, human health and well-being, the document states.
There are six desired outcomes listed in the document and 30 corresponding policy intentions.
For example, a healthy and productive coast is one outcome, with some intended policies to boost recovery efforts for wild salmon, prevent and clean up marine pollution and help recover southern resident killer whales and other marine species at risk.
Other proposed outcomes include resilience to climate change; trusting, respectful relationships; holistic learning and knowledge sharing; community well-being; and a sustainable, thriving ocean economy.
Policy intentions that are proposed under these outcomes are diverse, from supporting seafood harvesters, producers, innovator’s fisheries to upholding the rights of First Nations and weaving traditional knowledge together with western science.
The government is developing the strategy in partnership with First Nations, the Ministry stated. First Nations’ historic knowledge and experience in coastal marine management will help advise long-term stewardship, they wrote.
B.C.’s ocean economy is responsible for about eight per cent of the provincial gross domestic product (GDP) or about $21 billion a year, the Ministry stated.
“With three-quarters of British Columbians living near the coast, a coastal marine strategy is seen as a vital tool for supporting environmental and economic well-being,” a press release about the new strategy states.
Individuals can read the document and give feedback between Dec. 15, 2022 and April 14, 2023 at www.engage.gov.bc.ca/coastalmarinestrategy/.
There will be more opportunities to provide comments on the draft Coastal Marine Strategy before it is published. The government intends for the strategy to be ultimately in place for 20 years, from 2024 to 2044.
Kaitlyn Bailey | Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
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