Protecting the Coast and Ocean
300 pages, 6 x 9
13 charts, 3 tables, 38 text boxes
Release Date:01 Jun 2023

Protecting the Coast and Ocean

A Guide to Marine Conservation Law in British Columbia

UBC Press

Protecting the Coast and Ocean is now available as an open access PDF. Click the button on the left to download the full text, or visit the open access page.

Fish were once so abundant in BC waters that Indigenous elders recall dried salmon being stacked like firewood behind the stove, and the sound of herring at night reminiscent of rainfall. But declines on the BC coast have accelerated over the last century, with marine wildlife cut in half in just four decades. Protecting the Coast and Ocean explores how we can reverse such precipitous declines.

This meticulous work catalogues not only the laws and designations that governments in Canada can draw on – marine protected areas, Indigenous protected and conserved areas, land-use measures, and zoning bylaws – but also the international treaties and designations that shape marine conservation and support collaboration. The authors analyze the scope and applicability of each legal tool, rating its strengths and weaknesses, and assess factors such as ease of implementation and adaptive management capabilities. In-depth case studies illustrate how these instruments have been used in practice.

Although the compound impacts of climate change, overfishing, and pollution seem overwhelming, Protecting the Coast and Ocean convincingly demonstrates that Indigenous, federal, provincial, and local governments have the legal tools to protect coastal and marine ecosystems, reverse species extinction, and plan for a resilient ocean.

This comparative analysis of legal tools for coastal and ocean protection will be invaluable to a wide audience: non-government organizations; Indigenous governments and organizations; federal, provincial, and local government staff and politicians; and academics working in the field.

This compendium should be part of every wayfinder’s toolbox, helping to navigate marine jurisdictional complexities, to achieve protection of the coasts, oceans, and Ocean Peoples – the animate and inanimate beings that occupy ocean spaces. Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson, K.C., General Counsel, Haida Nation
Stephanie Hewson, Linda Nowlan, Georgia Lloyd-Smith, Deborah Carlson, and Michael Bissonnette have written the bible on B.C. marine conservation law. Protecting the Coast and Ocean is thorough, definitive and eminently readable. I highly recommend it. Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada

Stephanie Hewson is a staff lawyer in the Marine Program at West Coast Environmental Law (WCEL). Linda Nowlan is the senior director of the UBC Sustainability Initiative and an adjunct professor at the Allard School of Law. Georgia Lloyd-Smith is a staff lawyer at WCEL in both the Marine Program and the Revitalizing Indigenous Law for Land, Air, and Water Program. Deborah Carlson is the Green Communities Program lead at WCEL and an adjunct professor at the UBC Allard School of Law. Michael Bissonnette is a staff lawyer in the Marine Program at WCEL.

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