WCVI mayors and communities united: Ottawa needs to listen to Communities To Help SRKW

CBJ Newsmakers

UCLUELET, British Columbia, Dec. 04, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Leaders from the Clayoquot regional tourism, fisheries, and stewardship sectors came together with elected officials in Ucluelet for an emergency session last week. The collective call was: Ottawa, pay attention. With MP Gord Johns, Mayor of Tofino Josie Osborne, Port Alberni Mayor Sharie Minions and the Mayor of Ucluelet Mayco Noel present, the community was united in calling on Ottawa to incorporate local knowledge and local values into any Southern Resident Killer Whales action plan.

“We’re fortunate to have a group of community and industry leaders at the table, able and willing to come together, and work together, to help shape a strong path forward for all. We’re calling on the government to let us be a part of the process,” said Minions. This echoes the call from other areas, sectors and First Nations on WCVI in demanding fair process that represents the values held by coastal communities in Ottawa’s decision making process.

Ocean Shine of Ocean Outfitters Whale Watching in Tofino stressed, “Fast approaching decisions regarding SRKW’s, critical habitat, and vessel management plans have the power to shape our futures and we would like our voices to be heard.”

“We need to learn from the mistakes made in Newfoundland around the Cod fishery. We have the opportunity to do this differently, put conservation first and maintain healthy vibrant coastal communities,” said local MP Gord Johns.

“Conservation of fish stocks is needed. A wide reaching approach that the region understands and accepts is critical. Any approach should focus on local experts input,” ­said Mayor Noel, Ucluelet.

“Coastal communities are ready and willing to work with Ottawa. They want to work collaboratively with government and deliver on the promise of Canada’s Ocean Strategy. We can have healthy oceans and thriving local economies,” ­said Josie Osborne.

West Coast Aquatic seeks to produce innovative solutions to coastal concerns, and strengthen the understanding and relationships between parties that share a common interest in the health and wealth of aquatic resources. West Coast Aquatic brings together governments, key sectors and communities including First nations to develop values­based outcomes for marine resources on the West Coast of Vancouver Island providing technical and administrative support, facilitation, process design and communications to our member communities. Our governance board was mandated under the oceans act and continue to engage in opportunities for collaboration in decision making regarding aquatic resources on WCVI.

For more information and to schedule interviews contact:

Marc LaBrie, Director of Development for West Coast Aquatic – 250.735.0702 marc@westcoastaquatic.ca

Or Josie Osborne, Mayor of Tofino and alternate director, West Coast Aquatic. 250­-266-­5229


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