Advisor Appointed for Marine Debris

MLA Sheila Malcolmson has been appointed as special advisor to Minister Heyman on marine debris protection. Her responsibilities include making recommendations for a provincial action plan to eliminate environmental threats caused by derelict vessels.

MLA Malcolmson will work under the direction of Minister Heyman to:

  • Make recommendations for a provincial action plan, in co-ordination with the federal government, to eliminate the environmental threats caused by derelict vessels including but not limited to:
    • building on existing work and partnerships, collaborate with the federal government on potential development of a boat-licensing program to aid enforcement of regulations for the management of derelict boats;
    • the feasibility of an environmental stewardship program to manage the end-of-life recycling of boats and marine infrastructure, as well as fibreglass and other elements of derelict boats;
    • the feasibility of a “cash for clunkers” program for derelict vessels or those at the end of their useful life; and
    • what lessons can be learned from the Washington state program for this problem.
  • Make recommendations for provincial action to curb the disposal of plastics in the marine environment.

The UBCM membership has consistently endorsed resolutions calling on the provincial and federal governments to develop a solution to the issue of abandoned and derelict vessels.

The federal government has also taken action to address derelict vessels by introducing Bill C64, Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act. This Act received Royal Assent in February 2019 and will seek to ensure that wrecked, abandoned or hazardous commercial and pleasure vessels are removed and remediated at the owner’s expense.

The Act is one of the six measures introduced under the federal government’s $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan to address abandoned vessels. The other five measures are:

  • Inventory and Assessments
  • Improving vessel owner identification
  • Long-term funding for the removal of wrecked and abandoned vessels
  • Abandoned Boats Program
  • Small Craft Harbours Abandoned and Wrecked Vessels Removal Program

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