S. Hermann & F. Richter, PIxabay

Canada -Shoreline projects tackling marine debris, abandoned boats

Up to 1,200 kilometres of B.C. coastlines and more than 100 derelict vessels are the targets of new marine debris clean-up projects.

It’s being done in partnership with coastal Indigenous Nations.

This summer, more than $9.5 million from the Clean Coast, Clean Waters Initiative Fund will be used to tackle the cleanups and/or derelict vessel removals from the north coast down to southern Vancouver Island.

The funding is being distributed to four agencies: the Songhees Development Corporation, Small Ship Tour Operators Association – Wilderness Tourism Association, Coastal Restoration Society and Ocean Legacy Foundation.

“The scale of the problem is massive, and we need to do much more to address ocean debris and its devastating impacts on marine life and food sources,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

“The enthusiastic response to our call for project applications shows how deeply British Columbians care about our marine ecosystems and the strong desire to be part of restoring and protecting these waters.”

The CCCW responds directly to the strong public call to action on marine debris heard from coastal communities during a consultation in summer 2019.

The main concerns raised by local governments and people included abandoned vessels, mooring buoys, polystyrene foam, aquaculture debris and single-use plastics.

“I am pleased to see the involvement of so many coastal Indigenous communities that are undertaking their own projects or partnering with others,” said Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.
“The marine environment lies at the heart of coastal First Nations’ culture, traditions and livelihoods, and these projects will help protect those values.”

The province says the CCCW initiative “is an important part” of the CleanBC Plastics Action Plan and its goal to address plastic pollution.

The projects will create a range of employment opportunities from seasonal shoreline cleanup and community education to specialized positions in the logistics, waste management, transportation and tourism sectors.

The following projects will receive funds from the program:

Small Ship Tour Operators Association (SSTOA) – Wilderness Tourism Association (WTA)

The SSTOA is an association of tour boat operators that, responding to the downturn in tourism due to COVID-19, partnered with the WTA to turn their resources and skills to cleaning B.C.’s remote shorelines.

Last summer, the SSTOA undertook the biggest shoreline cleanup in B.C.’s history. This year’s project will see the ships travel to the outer coast of the Great Bear Rainforest and partner with four Indigenous Nations to clean more than 400 kilometres of shoreline.

“Everyone in the SSTOA and WTA involved in the 2020 project were so proud of the contribution they were able to make with the marine debris removal initiative,” said Scott Benton, executive director, WTA. “You saw the spark in people’s eyes, not only because it provided employment in a really tough year, but because we got to actively protect our beautiful coast and make it better. We are grateful to the CCCW initiative to be able to go out and finish the job this year.”

Shoreline cleanup: $3.5 million

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