Originally published by www.mapleridgenews.com/
Written by ROBERT BARRON
Lance Underwood has come to the conclusion that the federal government’s plans for new marine protected areas are not as advertised.
Underwood, a fisherman in Cowichan Bay on Vancouver Island, sits on the advisory panel for the creation of the marine protected areas and has many concerns about the need for them on the west coast, and their implications for the fisheries.
“We are now approaching the year 2020, and after two years of engaging with government and environmental groups, we have seen a draft design of this Marine Protected Area Network,” he said.
“It is vast, running from central Vancouver Island all the way to Alaska, that will potentially remove thousands of fishermen from these productive and diverse fishing grounds. But the question is, how will it protect Canada’s oceans?”
“The federal government has been very public with their plans to protect 25 per cent of Canada’s oceans by 2025, and has touted a promise to increase protection above and beyond that 25 per cent in the next decade,” Underwood said.
“Since this promise was made, the government has been pretty shy about releasing plans to the general public about how they plan to achieve these levels of protection.”
Underwood said that when most people ponder the meaning of ocean protection, they think of preventing pollution and oil spills, encouraging habitat restoration, and combating the effects of climate change.
But he said MPAs don’t address any of these major issues and, in fact, the Marine Protected Area Network proposed for the west coast lacks any real conservation objectives that do any real protecting at all.
“Fishermen have not been properly consulted in any meaningful way in the process of creating MPAs,” Underwood said.
“We are still hoping that it’s not too late and that fishermen will be given a chance to engage in meaningful dialogue.”
To read the complete article about Marine Protected Areas on the west coast, visit mapleridgenews.com.
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