West Coast Aquatic is founded upon the principle of collaborative management with coastal communities on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Collaborative management is a time-tested, effective process that consists of several interconnected concepts including:
The governments, coastal communities, and other persons and bodies affected by aquatic resource use are together responsible and accountable for integrated aquatic resource management. The responsibility for integrated management decisions should coincide with the ecological unit, nature of the issue, the scale of impact, the ability to collect relevant information, and management capacity. There should be effective communication, information flow and linkages between various levels.
Shared Decision Making
Coastal communities and other persons and bodies affected by aquatic resource management should have an opportunity to participate in the formulation and implementation of integrated aquatic resource management decisions, while respecting statutory authorities. The participation of coastal communities and other persons and bodies affected by aquatic resource management will promote improved decisions.
Information to Action
Shared decision making and shared responsibility mean nothing unless action is taken as a result. Once knowledge has been shared and consensus has been reached, collaborative management's final stage is to put knowledge into action. Outcomes vary depending upon the group and the project, and may include outreach events, dissemination of information, shared learning spaces, and hands-on activities.
Collaborative Management at Work
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, businesses, and communities. West Coast Aquatic is comprised of: a collaborative governance board that brings together governments, key sectors and communities to develop consensus-based outcomes for marine resources on the West Coast of Vancouver Island; a management association that provides technical and administrative support to the activities of the governance board; and a charitable organization that administers stewardship activities.