Project Watershed staff and volunteers prepare to sample the beach at Frank James Park in Campbell River on Aug. 11 to assess the site for beach-spawning forage fish. The Coastal Marine Strategy will be integrated with the province’s Wild Salmon Strategy and new watershed security strategy. Photo by Sean Feagan / Campbell River Mirror.

Project Watershed staff and volunteers prepare to sample the beach at Frank James Park in Campbell River on Aug. 11 to assess the site for beach-spawning forage fish. The Coastal Marine Strategy will be integrated with the province’s Wild Salmon Strategy and new watershed security strategy. Photo by Sean Feagan / Campbell River Mirror.

Province wants feedback on coastal marine strategy

Strategy developed in partnership with coastal First Nations

The B.C. government is developing the province’s first coastal marine strategy and wants the public’s input.

The province is asking for feedback on an intentions paper that outlines the goals and priorities of the program. These include ensuring coastal areas remain healthy and resilient to climate change and can support community well-being and a sustainable ocean economy into the future.

Seventy five per cent of British Columbians live on or near the coast, and a coastal marine strategy is a vital tool to support both environmental and economic well-being. The province’s 26,000 km of coastline helps support a variety of habitats ranging from kelp forest and seagrass meadows to rocky intertidal shores. The ocean also moderates B.C.’s weather, and also provides transportation, economic, cultural and recreational opportunities.

“The ocean-based economy in B.C. generates approximately 8 per cent of B.C.’s gross domestic product, or more than $21 billion according to latest research, and employs approximately 133,000 people,” a release from the province says.

This strategy will help protect B.C.’s ocean resource, and will be integrated with the province’s Wild Salmon Strategy, and an in-development watershed security strategy.

“Combined, these strategies can make a greater contribution to healthier marine and freshwater environments, which can better support protection and revitalization of wild salmon populations,” the release says.

The strategy, which is being developed in partnership with First Nations, whose historic knowledge and experience in this area will help inform B.C.’s long-term stewardship of these marine ecosystems and habitats.

Public input on the coastal marine strategy, which will span at least 20 years, opens Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022, and closes April 14, 2023.

People can provide input at engage.gov.bc.ca/coastalmarinestrategy.

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marc.kitteringham@campbellrivermirror.com

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