Océans en santé. Communautés en santé

Historic forum paves way for improving ocean management and conservation on B.C. coast

April 1, 2009

VANCOUVER -- Delegates to one of the largest ocean management planning events in Canadian history are sending a clear message to the federal government that it’s time to take action to improve the conservation of British Columbia’s coastal waters.

Nearly 400 people – including representatives from all levels of government, First Nations, coastal communities, marine industries and non-governmental organizations –participated in a two-day marine planning forum in Richmond, B.C., last week to determine the future of a region known as the Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area (PNCIMA). The event was the biggest of its kind in Canada focusing on marine use planning and conservation.

The conference is being described as a positive step forward by environmental organizations, which have long argued that the most effective way to protect PNCIMA is by working with the people who live and work there, and by using credible science to inform decisions about its future use.

“What became clear at the PNCIMA forum is that the question is no longer whether or not we should engage in a marine planning process, but how exactly to go about it,” says Bill Wareham, senior marine conservation specialist for the David Suzuki Foundation. 
“The momentum created during the forum is a major impetus for the federal government to continue to take steps to engage the many people who want and need to be involved in ocean conservation.”

The forum addressed the future of the PNCIMA, a vast ocean region stretching from northern Vancouver Island to the Alaskan border, and provided an opportunity for people to discuss how to balance this area’s environmental needs with its economic and social benefits.

“As evidenced by the number of people who participated in last week’s forum, there is broad agreement that we must work now to achieve a balance that will meet the sustainable resource use requirements of future generations,” says Jennifer Lash, executive director of Living Oceans Society.  

The forum occurred on the heels of a media campaign (www.HealthyOceans.ca) launched by the David Suzuki Foundation, Living Oceans Society and Sierra Club of BC, which sought to raise awareness about the urgent need to develop an integrated management plan that includes a network of marine protected areas within PNCIMA.



Bill Wareham
, Senior Marine Conservation Specialist, David Suzuki Foundation 

(604) 740-4318

Kim Wright, Living Oceans Society

(604) 696-5044