British Columbia’s rich coastal waters are home to an incredible abundance and diversity of species, from ancient glass sponges to mighty whales. These waters support a rich and enduring First Nations culture, together with coastal communities and a variety of human activities, including fishing, tourism and recreation, and shipping. Marine planning provides an integrated and holistic approach to managing ocean activities and ensuring sustainable use of our precious marine resources.
In April 2015 CPAWS hosted the MPAs and Fisheries Science Forum in partnership with the BC Commercial Fishing Caucus, BC Seafood Alliance, Living Oceans Society and World Wildlife Fund. The aim of the Science Forum was to answer the over-arching question “When and where can MPAs be used as an effective tool for biodiversity conservation and fisheries management on the Pacific coast of Canada?”
The Forum was held in Vancouver and featured a series of roundtable discussions by panels of international experts from the fields of fisheries science and marine conservation, focusing on four key questions:
1. What are the biological and ecological effects of MPAs on fisheries?
2. What are the social and economic effects (the human dimensions) of MPAs on fisheries?
3. How can MPAs networks and fisheries management be integrated and coordinated?
4. What tools are available, or could be developed, to plan an MPA network on Canada’s Pacific coast that considers both biodiversity conservation and healthy fisheries?
It is our hope that by working together, the conservation and fisheries sectors in BC can help to inform the design of a MPA network on the Pacific coast that achieves both biodiversity conservation and healthy fisheries.
You can download and read the full proceedings and appendices at the links below.
Established in 2011, the Marine Planning Partnership (www.mappocean.org) is co-led by First Nations and the Province of B.C. CPAWS, the David Suzuki Foundation, Living Oceans Society and WWF have been working collaboratively with various stakeholders to provide input on the plans and ensure that conservation is a strong focus.
The aim is to develop comprehensive marine plans that will ensure that our oceans are used sustainably and will establish the basis for a coast-wide network of marine protected areas.
Four sub-regional plans have been developed within the broader PNCIMA region, for Haida Gwaii, the North coast, the Central coast, and North Vancouver Island.
The draft marine plans are now available for public comment. Click on the links below find out more about each plan and how you can voice your support.
The north and central coasts of British Columbia are the site of a potentially world leading marine planning initiative.
This beautiful stretch of wilderness covers about 88,000 square kilometres, with a wide range of habitats and ecosystems, which in turn support a diverse marine life. The region is home to many endangered and rare species including blue and North Pacific right whales, marbled murrelets and albatrosses. People and wildlife alike depend on thriving fisheries from huge schools of herring and salmon, to 100-year old rockfish, giant halibut and shellfish.
These rich ocean resources have attracted people to the region for millennia; roughly 34,500 people live in 25 communities from Prince Rupert and Queen Charlotte City in the north, to Port Hardy and Alert Bay in the south. First Nations represent 36 percent of the population in the region. In one-way or another, everyone depends on the health of the ocean.
Increasing pressure from human activities such as fishing, shipping, industrial development and oil and gas exploration threaten the health of these waters. The impacts of these activities including species extinctions, declines in fish stocks, pollution and invasive species will likely be compounded by climate change, acidification and sea level rise.This area is an important ocean region to undergo a planning process that would improve management and ensure long-term ecosystem health.
CPAWS is actively working on a number of projects to advance ocean planning in BC including participating in the federal Pacific North Coast Integrated Area Planning Process (www.pncima.org) and in the provincial and First Nations Marine Planning Partnership (www.mappocean.org). This is in addition to our ongoing work on climate change, marine protected area network planning, and reviewing the social, economic and political aspects of ocean planning.
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