West Coast Aquatic’s formation followed years of work by First Nations, local governments, and interest groups for a greater voice in decision-making. Driven by the need for interim measures to assist in treaty negotiations, a concern for declining resources, and increasing conflicts, West Coast Aquatic had its humble beginnings with community members and leaders coming together to discuss how these issues were affecting their communities. Through increased local support, forums were held at which other community members and groups joined the dialogue.
In 1997, the federal government’s Oceans Act and the provincial government’s BC Fisheries Strategy both identified the need for cooperative management approaches with affected aboriginal organizations, coastal communities, and other people and organizations. This shift in approach was accompanied by numerous calls from the private and public sectors, recommending that the federal and provincial governments engage in co-management arrangements. In 1998, negotiations started with west coast Vancouver Island representatives, and an Agreement in Principal was reached in 2000.
West Coast Aquatic (formally the West Coast Vancouver Island Aquatic Management Board) was formally established in 2001 as a Canadian national pilot program for cooperative aquatic management by Federal, Provincial, Nuu-chah-nulth, and Local governments.
WE – people from all walks of life working together.
SEA – a healthy aquatic ecosystem, including ecology, coastal communities, and businesses.
FUTURE – social and economic activities in harmony with each other and nature, based on knowledge, innovation, technology, partnerships, culture and good governance.
West Coast Aquatic believes in the power of what can be achieved when diverse people who are passionate about the west coast of BC - people who make a living from its waters, rely on its health for food, and protect its beauty - are connected with the living landscape that they are a part of.