50 years on BC’s coast

Georgia Straight As viewed from the summit of Hat Mountain at 1644 meters.

To understand where we’re going and why we need a Blueprint for the Coast, we need to understand where we’ve been and where we are now.

Since time immemorial, Indigenous nations have been stewarding coastal and ocean areas in accordance with their Indigenous laws in what has now become known as British Columbia. While severely disrupted by colonization, Indigenous nations have continued to keep their laws, customs, and stewardship practices alive.

1970s

The first modern coastal marine strategies are adopted

Lightship Columbia at the Mouth of the Columbia River 05/1973
With coastal development accelerating, and pressure from a burgeoning environmental movement, states along the Pacific US coast adopt some of the first modern coastal marine strategies. These coastal plans bring together the federal government, Indigenous tribes, and local governments.
1974

Private member’s bill proposed

Here in BC, MLA Harold Steves introduces a private member’s bill to establish a Coastal Commission Act to better manage coastal areas. But unfortunately, the bill was not passed by the legislature.

1997

Oceans Act mandates national oceans strategy

East coast harbour

The federal Oceans Act comes into force and the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans & the Canadian Coast Guard is put in charge of developing a national oceans strategy in collaboration with provincial governments, Indigenous organizations and coastal communities.

2015

Marine Planning Partnership for the North Pacific Coast

Barren island with forested mountains in background

A big win for sustainable ecosystem-based ocean management occurs when a co-initiative between Indigenous nations and the Provincial government completes its marine plans for the Great Bear Sea. The initiative, called the Marine Plan Partnership (MaPP) for the North Pacific Coast, would go on to win the inaugural BC Reconciliation Award in 2021.

November, 2019

BC Enshrines UNDRIP into law

A full BC legislature stands and applauds

British Columbia enacts legislation requiring the province to bring its law and practices into harmony with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). This includes its marine management regime.

November, 2020

BC commits to developing a coastal marine strategy

The BC government commits for the first time to developing a BC coastal marine strategy in partnership with Indigenous nations and other orders of government, to better protect coastal habitat while growing coastal economies. Minister of State for Lands and Natural Resource Operations Nathan Cullen is tasked with leading the development of the BC coastal marine strategy.

Summer, 2021

Increased stress the BC coastline

Dead salmon lying on shore

Intensifying climate change impacts, record low salmon runs, and increasing demands over resources continue to negatively impact BC coastal communities and ecosystems, making the need for BC coastal marine strategy even more urgent than ever.

Today

Designing a blueprint for the coast

Blueprint for the Coast logo

As we await the creation of the BC coastal marine strategy, BC remains one of the last coastal jurisdictions in North America without a united plan and law to protect its coast. Our goal is to create a blueprint, co-designed with Indigenous nations, that ensures marine life and coastal communities get the future they deserve.