Review of the Environmental and Socio-economic Impacts of Marine Pollution in the North and Central Coast Regions of British Columbia

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Marine environmental quality concerns exist around a number of human activities taking place on BC‘s North and Central Coast regions, including sewage and waste disposal, mining and smelter activities, various large industrial operations, port expansions, increased shipping, offshore oil and gas development, and tourism activities. These projects can have significant environmental and socio-economic impacts on First Nations and the region‘s communities. This report provides a preliminary review of the possible impacts, monitoring, and mitigation measures for many of the existing and potential marine pollution issues on the North and Central Coast.

This report focuses on the region defined by the Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area (PNCIMA). The PNCIMA‘s boundaries were based primarily on ecological characteristics, including oceanic currents and physiographic considerations, and encompass approximately 280,000 km2 (this includes associated watersheds; Figure 1). It extends from the outer limit of the foot of the continental slope in the west, to the coastal watersheds in the east. The Canada-US border for Alaska is the northern boundary. Brooks Peninsula on NW Vancouver Island, Quadra Island, and Bute Inlet form the southern boundary (Hillier and Gueret 2007, Lucas et al. 2007). This area is important for food, social and ceremonial fisheries for First Nations, as well as commercial fisheries and recreational fisheries. Aquaculture development is also a key issue in the area, as are tourism, transportation, and potential offshore energy development (Hillier and Gueret 2007). The information in this report is organized according to the human activities which are a source of contamination. The topics are not listed in any particular order. For each topic, the general situation on the BC coast is discussed first, followed by specifics on North and Central Coast issues, where available."

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Dakota McGovern