Many threats face the coast, including biodiversity loss, intensifying impacts of climate change, and increasing conflicts over resources. To make matters worse, we’ve inherited a jumble of regulations and laws overseen by different provincial ministries and departments. 

A lack of direction, organization, and communication means that coastal issues will continue to be dealt with in an ad-hoc fashion, without anyone looking at the big picture.

The Coastal Marine Strategy will serve as a Blueprint for the Coast. It will provide the Government of BC with a long-term plan to effectively protect and manage BC’s coastal regions in coordination with Indigenous, federal, and municipal governments. 

An accompanying law will ensure the policies outlined within the Coastal Marine Strategy are prioritized and able to withstand the inevitable changes in leadership that come with electoral cycles. 

Let’s support a Coastal Marine Strategy that ensures marine life and coastal communities get the future they deserve.

An effective Coastal Marine Strategy and law has the potential to… 

  • Advance meaningful acts of reconciliation by encouraging Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) and Guardians Programs
  • Support biodiverse, resilient ecosystems that are able to mitigate the impacts of climate change and provide a respite for species at risk
  • Prepare coastal communities for the impacts of climate change
  • Establish a home for coastal marine issues within the provincial government to ensure effective work between Indigenous, federal, and municipal governments 

Want to learn more? See our frequently asked questions below.


  • Q: Why does BC need a Coastal Marine Strategy?

    Intensifying climate change impacts, record low salmon runs, and increasing demands over resources are just a few of the unprecedented challenges facing coastal communities and ecosystems. Despite the sheer importance of the coast and healthy marine environments to all, the provincial government does not have a comprehensive strategy to guide coastal decision-making.

  • Q: Who is responsible for regulating BC's coast?

    All orders of government (Indigenous, federal, provincial, and local) have jurisdiction in coastal marine areas; each has an important role to play in coastal marine planning, protection, management, and enforcement. For Indigenous nations, this jurisdiction stems from their inherent title and rights (and, in some cases, treaty rights) to marine spaces, which other governments, including the Government of BC, must respect.

    However, BC’s provincial government does not have a plan or law for the coast that sets the vision for the future of this area or to coordinate decision-making with other orders of government.

  • Q: What gives the Government of BC relatively expansive coastal jurisdiction under Canadian law?

    The waters between Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland have been interpreted to be “inland waters” within BC by the Supreme Court of Canada, following a reference case brought by the Province that was decided in 1984. This includes the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Strait of Georgia, Johnstone Strait, and Queen Charlotte Strait. Subject to unextinguished Aboriginal title, this gives the province the power to legislate over the seabed and waters in these areas, on subject matters within its jurisdiction. Crown title of the seabed further north along the coast of BC remains unresolved. In practice, the provincial and federal governments effectively share jurisdiction over the waters of Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait, and Queen Charlotte Sound subject to unextinguished Aboriginal title. In these regions, the province has designated Marine Protected Areas adjacent to terrestrial parks. On the North and Central Coast, joint federal-provincial-Indigenous ocean management and protected area planning processes are underway.

  • Q: What coastal activities does the Government of BC regulate?

    Provincially regulated activities include: environmental assessments, tourism and recreation, aquaculture (marine plants, shellfish, and finfish), marinas and yacht clubs, log handling, renewable energy projects, conservation and scientific research, commercial harvest of vegetation, ferries, and heritage conservation.

  • Q: What is the relationship between the Coastal Marine Strategy and the Marine Planned Partnership (MaPP)?

    The Marine Plan Partnership for the North Pacific Coast (MaPP) initiative is a partnership between the Province of British Columbia and 17 member First Nations that developed and is implementing marine use plans for BC’s North Pacific Coast. A province-wide coastal marine strategy could support the MaPP and enable similar partnerships in southern BC.

West Coast Environmental Law

West Coast Environmental Law is a non-profit group of lawyers and strategists working to transform environmental decision-making and strengthen legal protection for the environment, in BC and across Canada.

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is Canada’s only nationwide charity dedicated solely to the protection of public land, ocean and freshwater.