Managing Small Craft Harbours on Canada`s Pacific Coast

Managing Small Craft Harbours on Canada`s Pacific Coast Canada`s Small Craft Harbours Directorate was created as a branch of the Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans in 1974 to provide safe working harbours for commercial fishing vessels and to encourage recreational marina development to assist community level economies. Small Craft Harbours Branch (SCH) now administers…

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Managing Small Craft Harbours on Canada`s Pacific Coast Canada`s Small Craft Harbours Directorate was created as a branch of the Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans in 1974 to provide safe working harbours for commercial fishing vessels and to encourage recreational marina development to assist community level economies. Small Craft Harbours Branch (SCH) now administers facilities across Canada from the Atlantic Ocean, through the Great Lakes to the Pacific. This paper describes the circumstances of the Pacific Region, which operates and maintains more than 200 harbours and facilities, valued in excess of $500 million on Canada`s West Coast. The paper first outlines the current SCH program. The second part of the paper describes typical harbour design features and issues. The variety of marine facilities in British Columbia reflects a diverse and rugged geography. Several mountain ranges run north to south from the Coast Range to the Rocky Mountain range, 900 kilometres to the east. BC harbours may be tucked into rugged saltwater coastline or situated on deep lakes found in interior valleys. While coastal climates are moderate and wet, inland, lakes freeze and temperatures range from minus 40 degrees Celsius in winter to plus 30 degrees Celsius during summer. The cities of Vancouver and Victoria in the southwestern area of the province are centers of commerce and population. Harbours in this area are often mirror the higher intensity of demand and of economic activity by integrating recreational and commercial fishing interests. Many SCH fishing harbours find that revenue from the non-fishing sector is a key part of preserving their financial viability. For instance, since many fishing vessels depart for Prince Rupert and the North Coast in summer, their vacant berths in southern harbours can be sublet to pleasure craft. It helps that in SCH fishing harbours, pleasure craft pay a premium rate which in turn supports reduced moorage rates for working fishing vessels. In the more remote North Coast harbours are dominated by commercial fishing. Many SCH facilities also provide access and an economic base for remote Aboriginal communities. Northern harbours range from several large (1200 berth) facilities in Prince Rupert to collections of isolated mooring buoys in the rocky inlets of the Queen Charlotte Islands, also known as Haida G`wai.

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