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No boundaries are evident when you gaze out at sea, yet the ocean is a maze of jurisdictional complexities. At West Coast we are working to fully protect the ocean through the entire range of laws that cover the watery depths.

The sea provides us with oxygen, food, jobs, and an inexhaustible source of wonder. But if we don’t do more to protect it, the ocean’s health and the wealth it produces will continue to decline.

Unlike on land, where we are keenly aware of the need for protection, only a tiny fraction of the oceans has been protected. And even when marine areas are protected, all too often damaging activities are still permitted to continue.

West Coast Environmental Law works with federal, provincial and Indigenous governments, community and conservation organizations, scientists and the public to strengthen legal protections for Canada’s oceans. Our focus is on the BC coast and the surrounding Pacific Ocean, including the Great Bear Sea. We’re committed to doing our part to ensure that the legal system protects the full range of marine biodiversity, as well as the humans who depend on the oceans.

We research best practices from around the globe to inform our work. Through research and analysis, community education and engagement, communication and collaboration, we’re developing legal solutions for the oceans that span jurisdictional boundaries, stem biodiversity loss, protect culture, and support ocean-dependent communities and economies.

Our work centres on strengthening the legal framework for integrated marine planning in the amazing Great Bear Sea and for effective marine protected areas (MPAs). We identify, develop and help implement legal solutions to minimize threats to ocean health, and seek to ensure that laws affecting the ocean are well enforced.



Top photo: Tavish Campbell


Linda Nowlan
Staff Lawyer
Georgia Lloyd-Smith Staff Counsel
Staff Lawyer
Stephanie Hewson
Staff Lawyer