Our province is often ground zero for new ideas and policies that can help protect the ocean. That tradition continues this week at Coastal Zone Canada 2023, an important conference taking place in Victoria, where scientists, First Nations, and tech and policy experts have come together to discuss how to ensure our coasts stay healthy and prosperous for decades to come.
“The natural environment shows it can be resilient, but we have to act before we let it get too far.”Phil Osbourne
The conference’s goal is “promoting an understanding and better management of all the inter-related parts of the coastal environment: the human activities, the natural environment, the physical processes,” according to Conference chair Phil Osborne, a senior coastal geomorphologist based in B.C.
This event is taking place under the banner of the “United Nations’ Decade of the Ocean,” which seeks to ensure healthy oceans across the planet and “reverse the decline” of crucial marine ecosystems.
“We’ve got to take better care of it if we want it to take care of us,” said Osborne about the ocean in a new podcast released by Coastal Conservation and Sustainable Development. “The natural environment shows it can be resilient, but we have to act before we let it get too far.”
“It’s become clearer to people like fishermen why we’re protecting the coast, and it’s not just for us that we’re doing it.”Coastal First Nations CEO Christine Martin Smith
Coastal Zone Canada 2023 follows a major oceans conference that took place in Vancouver in February, the Fifth International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC5). West Coast Now was there and reported on several historic announcements.
These announcements included Canada promising to create a new Marine Protected Area to protect a whopping 30,500 square kilometres of B.C.’s coast from threats like mining, dragging, industrial fishing, and poaching.
Indigenous communities have been the driving force of conservation in these areas. In an exclusive interview, West Coast Now spoke with Coastal First Nations CEO Christine Martin Smith, who said, “It’s actually for everybody. It’s become clearer to people like fishermen why we’re protecting the coast, and it’s not just for us that we’re doing it.”