Rural and resource-based coastal communities in BC are facing unprecedented challenges. Climate change is negatively impacting B.C. marine ecosystems and fish stocks while many fishermen struggle to access traditional fishing grounds as a result of complex, market-driven management regimes.
Many fishermen don't feel heard in the decision-making processes that could help them adapt to these changes and remain stewards of the sea. Coastal communities are also struggling to adapt as their economies decline, youth leave for urban centers, residents have less reliable access to healthy and culturally relevant food. Community health data shows trends consistent with these kinds of community struggles – for instance, drug use has increased in rural, coastal B.C. over the last thirty years.
We initiated the Thriving Coastal Communities Initiative with Dr. Nathan Bennett to identify areas where we could support coastal communities as they adapt to these changes. This report covers one of the project’s early planning meetings we convened with 24 experts and through-leaders to map out areas for further development.
The full report - The Thriving Coastal Communities Initiative: Towards an Action Research Agenda Focused on Well-Being in Coastal Communities in British Columbia - can be found here.