For Immediate Release
February 16, 2017
MEDICINE HAT, AB – Bob Zimmer, Member of Parliament for Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies and Official Critic for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, made the following statement regarding the announcement by Minister LeBlanc officially endorsing the Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area (PNCIMA) plan.
“In 2011, the Conservative government withdrew their support and funding for PNCIMA because it was clearly spearheaded by environmental groups who are determined to completely ban traffic along the entire northern shelf bioregion. This plan is extremely reckless and goes far beyond any large-scale maritime conservation or maritime spatial planning initiative; it completely ignores the economic aspect.
“PNCIMA, as it is written, threatens to handicap British Columbia’s economic potential by putting overly ambitious environmental protections ahead of economic interests.
“I wrote four letters between February and June of 2014 to then Minister Gail Shea highlighting my significant concerns with this plan and those concerns are still relevant today.
“I am also concerned that the livelihoods of the recreational and commercial fishermen have not been properly taken into account. It’s clear that our resource sector and sport fishing industry will be as adversely affected on the BC coast as they have been in California. It is unacceptable that fishing and the jobs and industry it supports have been virtually absent in the entire PNCIMA process and the Minister’s remarks
“As I looked through the document I came across the Goals, Objectives and Strategies for PNCIMA and I would like to share them.”
- Integrity of the marine ecosystems in PNCIMA, primarily with respect to their structure, function and resilience
- Human well-being supported through societal, economic, spiritual and cultural connections to marine ecosystems in PNCIMA
- Collaborative, effective, transparent and integrated governance, management and public engagement
- Improved understanding of complex marine ecosystems and changing marine environments
“This doesn’t give me much confidence that BC’s economic interests will be a priority as PNCIMA moves forward. As the Official Critic for the Asia-Pacific Gateway I will be watching this closely and doing my part to make the government aware of these significant concerns.”
The full plan can be found here:
- The planning stage of PNCIMA was partially funded by the Moore Foundation located in California, Tides Canada was given $8.3 million as a grant which “supplements the financial and human resource contributions from the federal, provincial and First Nations Collaborative Governance Parties, including over $6 million in support from Fisheries and Oceans Canada since 2002”
- Fisheries and Oceans Canada has used the highly contentious example of the California Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) process and related U.S. private foundation funding as a basis for the PNCIMA process in Canada since March, 2009.
- In Central Coast California, approximately 40% of prime fishing habitat was permanently closed to angling as a result of the MLPA process. Other coastal regions in the state have similar access restrictions.
- UNESCO calls for components of a marine spatial plan to include *Economic *Social *Ecologic, the Dutch North Sea plan calls for *Healthy Sea *Safe Sea*Profitable Sea. The PNCIMA Plan has buried the economic interests under Human well-being supported through societal, economic, spiritual and cultural connections to marine ecosystems.
- According to federal and industry statistics, over 8 million Canadians fish generating an annual national economy of $8.6 Billion
- The Canadian Sportfishing Industry Association (CSIA) is the only national organization representing manufacturers, retailers, sales agencies and related businesses. According to CSIA, there was no consideration of potential negative impacts on the recreational fishing industry or related jobs and economy in the PNCIMA process. Offers by CSIA to become involved were rejected by DFO.
- In certain cases, Marine Protected Areas may unnecessarily restrict the public’s ability to fish along our nation’s coasts.
- According to Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the PNCIMA Process is the MPA Strategy template for all other regions in Canada including the Great Lakes.
More information: 613-947-4524