NL Coastal Planning Often Fails to Include Non-Government Ideas Says Ivany


Self-reliance, inclusion big parts of coastal management areas

Cory Hurley
Published on January 23, 2015

Don Ivany is a bit cynical of just how inclusive the effort to improve integrated coastal management is in this province.

The Atlantic Salmon Federation’s program director for Newfoundland and Labrador sat through a presentation on the issue of Coastal Management Areas by Dawn Mercer, an oceans biologist with the federal department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and Nicole Hynes, resource planning supervisor - oceans with the provincial department of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

The presentation — a part of the Coastal Matters speaker series organized by ACAP Humber Arm — highlighted the joint efforts of many different stakeholders coming together and balancing the conservation and economic aspects of the coastal regions of Newfoundland and Labrador.

During the question and answer, Ivany said the concept is great in theory and supports local involvement, but the reality is governments typically do not want to network and discuss certain issues with representatives of groups such as his. He said roundtables usually do not involve experts in academia or conservation.

“In fact, many times we have been discouraged from participating at those tables because we have our own science division, who are familiar with the issues and debate the issues,” he said.

Many times, according to Ivany, local involvement comes from those with economic interests.

Mercer said that is not the case with coastal management areas, that if the pertinent experts are not involved there is an effort to have them do presentations or somebody will consult with experts to gain more insight.

“When it comes to integrated management planning, and certainly CMAs, it is kind of the new way of doing business,” she said.

In 15 years with the federal department, she has seen the silos that exist, something which may always remain, she acknowledged.

“We are trying to change that focus of government from working within a silo over here to being a lot more integrated and bring more people from the outside in,” she said.

Both Mercer and Hynes said the most important issue facing the five coastal management areas of the province is becoming self-reliant. The funding that established these groups came from the provincial and federal governments in its initial stages, but it is more important for them to become sustainable.

“We want the local people to take ownership of their areas to help them make their decisions,” Mercer said. “There is no better way to do that than to get ownership of these coastal management areas.”

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