Ocean planning is an opportunity for stakeholders to put aside their conflicts and work together to find solutions to create sustainable economies, vibrant communities and healthy oceans. We need a vision to protect the natural abundance of Canada’s oceans and the coastal communities that rely on them so we can manage our use of the ocean without using it up.
Canada is a maritime nation, with the longest coastline in the world bordering three oceans. Each coast is special and has unique circumstances that ocean planning can address.
Canada’s Pacific coast, where Living Oceans Society has focused its work for the past 14 years, particularly British Columbia’s North and Central Coasts and Haida Gwaii, are home to a spectacular diversity of life. These rich waters teem with tiny plankton that provide a buffet for small fish and gigantic whales alike. Millions of seabirds nest on the jagged rocky islands near the coast and in the ancient coastal forests. Hundred-year-old rockfish live in the depths, while five species of salmon navigate the cold currents to return to their natal streams. Living Oceans is working with and provincial and First Nations governments in a co-lead planning processes which extends the Great Bear Rainforest’s high standard of conservation into the ocean environment to ensure we our communities benefit for many generations to come.
Our Atlantic coast has a great variety of ecosystems from the complexity of the Maritimes, and St. Lawrence Seaway to the Grand Banks and Hudson’s Bay. With areas of pristine beauty alongside areas that have been exploited for their resources for hundreds of years, ocean planning helps reduce conflicts between the many different industrial uses competing for space.
Our Arctic coast with its extreme seasonal fluctuations is changing rapidly, as the impacts of climate change open up the waters of the north, ocean planning is necessary to ensure to prevent new activities such as shipping lanes; drilling for oil and gas; and, fisheries from damaging the fragile arctic ecosystems.