Wednesday, April 1, 2009

WWF Releases Results of a Planning Participation Study

Last week, the World Wildlife Fund released the results from a marine planning / community preparedness survey it took last summer and fall in the North Coast communities of Prince Rupert, Terrace, Haida Gwaii and Kitimat. While this survey was not taken in our Northern Vancouver Island communities, the questions that were asked in the survey are very relevant to our experience on the coast as well. The survey results showed that people on the coast usually have very direct linkages to the ocean environment:
"Nearly half of all respondents (48 per cent) said they depend on the marine environment for work while 53 per cent indicated that the ocean is a significant source of food and 65 per cent indicated that it is an important recreation resource. A further 58 per cent said that the marine environment plays a vital role in their cultural traditions and even more so (67 per cent) in family traditions." 1

Another interesting finding from this research is that while 65% of the respondents indicated that they have been involved in a marine planning or consultation processes in the past, only a quarter of them agreed that this involvement had been a positive experience.

While Mike Ambach of WWF in Prince Rupert says that this survey was not specifically designed to fit in with PNCIMA, I do hope that WWF will be able to find some synergy between the two. Most of the concerns brought up by coastal residents in this survey, such as declining fish stocks, climate change, and poor fisheries management could be addressed with an inclusive PNCIMA process.

Have you taken part in marine planning consultations before? Was it a positive experience? What are your suggestions for Fisheries and Oceans Canada as it begins the PNCIMA consultation and planning process?

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