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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Seaspace use and control : a case in the Gulf of Georgia Nelson, Christopher Douglas


This study analyzes the development and growth of commercial, industrial, and recreational water-oriented activities in the Gulf of Georgia from the traditional pre-European roots of the eighteenth century through to the present. At the same time the development and implementation of legal and administrative measures invoked to manage this coastal sea and regulate maritime functional users is examined chronologically, and in relation to the effect on patterns of water use. On the strength of this investigation, it was found that the Gulf of Georgia is a dynamic seascape which has, over the years, performed as a geographical bond rather than a barrier to the development of the British Columbia coastland. Whereas in the traditional seascape economically motivated water use practices predominated, more recently the Gulf of Georgia has exhibited almost equal use as a cultural and recreational area. Correspondingly, administrative controls and maritime regulations which followed closely on the heels of political partitioning have from the outset tended to compliment economic uses of the marine environment. The development of domestic legislation geared to the dynamic maritime situations, to effective multiple use, and to the protection of more aesthetic individual activities or to sensitive ecological-oceanographic areas has been slow to materialize. It was found that future demand for sea space by a wide range of users dictates legal controls and management practices which cater to cultural as well as economic concerns. To attain this goal more stringent management programs must be applied to the Gulf of Georgia which would effectively provide a range of alternatives for each functional activity while protecting and maintaining the quality of the marine environment at acceptable levels for all users. Seaspace zoning, marine traffic control systems, and marine parks are suggested as techniques which may be usefully applied to successfully manage the Gulf of Georgia coastland environment.

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