The BC Seafood Alliance agrees in principle with
the formation of both Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s) and Marine
Conservation Areas (MCA’s). They can be part of an overall strategy
to conserve marine ecosystems and can include, within their borders,
sustainable seafood harvesting and farming opportunities. We are
concerned, however, about the apparent lack of balance in considering
the needs of the seafood business in planning the policies, legislation,
and programs to manage the marine environment..
This document outlines recommendations of the
B.C. Seafood Alliance with respect to MPA’s and MCA’s.
1. The strategies for developing Marine Protected
Areas should explicitly recognize the importance of the objective
of promoting and enhancing seafood production through strategic
use of MPA’s.
The Seafood Alliance is fully prepared to work
with both the federal and provincial governments to ensure that
the objectives of MPA’s and MCA’s are met while still providing
for a strong environmentally sustainable commercial seafood harvesting
and farming industry. There is no an organization who’s membership
has collectively spent more time on and under the Pacific Coast
waters of British Columbia than the BC Seafood Alliance.
We believe that Marine Protected Areas are not
only part of an overall strategy to conserve marine ecosystems,
but that they should also be used as part of a strategy to promote
sustainable seafood harvesting and farming opportunities. Unfortunately,
this does not seem to have been recognized by governments as the
Pacific coast MPA strategy documentation does not recognize the
economic importance of the seafood industry in Canada and the potential
for MPA’s to make a positive contribution to the industry.
2. Marine Protected Areas and Marine Conservation
Areas are not necessarily "no take" or "no production"
The fundamental objectives for MPA’s as outlined
by government are the objectives for good fisheries management.
Given the general application of the MPA strategy vision and objectives,
it may be more productive to identify the entire west coast of B.C.
as a Marine Protected Area. This would be followed by identifying,
classifying and designating zones within the coast-wide MPA. This
is more in line with the approach used for the Great Barrier Reef
in Australia, where the MPA covers an enormous area, but there are
differing designations throughout the range of the MPA which still
allow 95% of the area to be accessible to commercial fishing of
some form or other.
We would like to see governments ensure the public
understands that MPA’s and MCA’s are not necessarily going to be
"no take" and "no production" zones a wide
variety of objectives and thus a wide variety of zoning designations
is preferable (for example if bio-diversity is an objective for
a particular area, and that area has a growing sea urchin population
which is taking over, it may be prudent to harvest urchins from
the area). We must develop reasons and scientifically defensible
criteria for any and all levels of "no take zones" in
the marine environment which are over and above the regular management
measures taken by DFO.
3. The seafood industry must be compensated for
any exclusion from licensed harvesting or tenured seafood production
resulting from "no take" zones.
When Parks Canada creates a terrestrial park,
there is no question that any private owners or crown tenure holders
on the land are compensated, either a fee simple purchase of land
or buying out the value associated with tenures such as trapping
or timber tenures. Just because marine resources are considered
common property (as are trees on crown land), does not mean that
those who have licences to harvest or tenures to utilize marine
areas do not experience an economic loss and are not entitled to
compensation for that loss.
The seafood industry should be compensated for
any exclusion from licensed harvesting or tenured seafood production
resulting from "no take" zones. A requirement for compensating
for losses is not formally addressed anywhere in the legislation
or policies for MPA’s or MCA’s. This would be unthinkable in a terrestrial
environment why has it not been considered in the marine environment
where the licensed authority to harvest or utilize "crown resources"
is no different from timber harvest rights on crown land?
4. The stewardship and sustainable management
of the marine environment in Canada should be the responsibility
of one agency.
There is a great deal of confusion about the various
responsibilities of various agencies and their planning processes
for the marine environment. There is an enormous amount of overlap
and duplication of effort in this area with a corresponding waste
of tax payers dollars.
Under the Oceans Act, DFO has announced a number
of pilot MPA sites and public consultation on each one of these
areas. DFO also has public information out about Integrated Coastal
Zone Management. Theoretically, the Oceans Act sets the framework
for an all inclusive ecosystem approach to the management of Canada’s
oceans and oceans resources. We do not see this happening.
Parks Canada has proposals and plans for Marine
Conservation Areas. They have identified four locations in the Central
Coast, a large area surrounding South Moresby Island, a large area
off Pacific Rim National Park, and a large area in the Southern
Gulf Islands as potential Marine Conservation Areas. The proposed
legislation requires Management Advisory Committees in each Marine
Conservation Area to advise the Minister on the development and
implementation of management plans for the area, while the policy
allows fishing to be managed by DFO or where appropriate, by provincial
Environment Canada is in charge of implementing
the new Species At Risk Act that will potentially manage and set
aside "residences" of threatened or endangered species.
This legislation, which is largely thought of and written around
terrestrial species, applies to species in the marine environment.
Recovery plans could very well include management measures and zoning
similar to MPA’s and MCA’s. This is being done despite the fact
that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has the authority and
the expertise to manage marine species at risk.
The provincial Ministry of Sustainable Resource
Management is developing coastal zone plans (click here for more
provincial government also has a network of areas that they call
MPA’s - marine parks, marine heritage sites, and marine ecological
and public stakeholders are confused and do not have the time or
money to participate in all of the consultation processes on all
of the initiatives. The federal government needs to put one federal
agency in charge of the stewardship and sustainable management of
the marine environment in Canada that agency should be the Department
of Fisheries and Oceans. Using words like cooperation and coordination
is not good enough because despite these good words, each agency
continues to set its own agenda, process, priorities, and activities.
Columbia has the opportunity to be a world leader in sustainable
marine resource management and seafood production at the same time.
are concerned, however, about the apparent lack of balance in considering
the needs of the seafood business in the policies, legislation,
programs, and processes around the plethora of initiatives to plan
and manage the marine environment.
the participants in the seafood business in B.C., from the harvester
and farmer, to the processors and marketers, need: