Oil Tanker Ban: A Step Toward Sustainable Coastal Economies

After decades of fighting to protect our waters from oil tankers, CFN-GBI Nations and other coastal communities celebrated the passing of Bill C-48 in June.

The Oil Tanker Moratorium Act prohibits oil tankers carrying more than 12,500 metric tons of crude or persistent oil along BC’s North Coast. It replaces a voluntary ban that was in place since 1985.

It took almost half a century of strong and unwavering leadership and several commissions to ensure the protection of our coastal waters from oil tankers. As we fought for a permanent ban, our resolve was strengthened by one of the core principles our Elders had taught us: If we take care of the ocean, the ocean will take care of us.

First Nations have existed along the Pacific North Coast for more than 14,000 years. As always, healthy marine environments will remain economically, culturally and environmentally integral to the well-being of all coastal communities, which is why we will never waver in efforts to protect our coastal waters.

Unlike other coasts in Canada, there is no existing tanker traffic on the North Coast and formalizing the moratorium will not disrupt any existing jobs or economic activity in the region. Rather, it will help protect existing industries, including fisheries, aquaculture and eco-tourism, while preserving our cultural and spiritual way of life.

After almost five decades engaged in these seemingly endless consultations and negotiations, we can finally turn our full attention to building a healthy, sustainable coastal economy; one that recognizes the needs of all future generations.