The Marine Economy and the Regional District of Mt. Waddington in BC

Prepared for Living Oceans Society & Regional District of Mt. Waddington
By GSGislason & Associates Ltd. Vancouver, Canada
With support from Environment Canada
March 2011

Abbreviated Executive Summary1


  • The study identifies the economic importance of a wide range of private sector marine-based activities on the economy of the Regional District of Mount Waddington (RDMW) which is located on the Northern portion of Vancouver Island. The study demonstrates the linkages between the economic livelihoods of people, businesses and communities to the marine environment.
  • The study involved interviews with 87 individuals - 54 from a special Marine Recreation Business Survey (23 sport fishing, 31 other businesses) and 33 from targeted interviews with other business, government & First Nations - as well as review & synthesis of existing information/data.
  • The focus is the economic measures and employment accruing to individuals living in RDMW i.e., RDMW residents.


  • The marine industries generate $48 million in wages & benefits and 1,160 person-years of employment directly to RDMW residents from the following activities.

    Direct Industry Impacts*Wages & Benefits ($ million)Employment person-years or PYs
    Commercial Fisheries8.3305
    Marine Recreation
    - Sport Fishing
    - Other8.0225
    Marine Transport7.5110

  • Multiplier effects from indirect supplier impacts and from induced consumer respending impacts on the retail sector add another $7.2 million in wages & benefits and another 180 person-years of employment to the tally - total impacts therefore are $55.2 million in wages and 1,340 person years employment.
  • 2 in 7 private sector person years of employment in the RDMW is attributable to the marine sector.
  • The influence of the ocean on the lives and livelihoods of RDMW residents is more pervasive than indicated by these market-based economic measures. The ocean is integral not just to the economy, but also to the culture, way of life, and collective identity of the region. The ocean environment provides significant benefits to First Nations through seafood harvesting activities. The ocean also provides key ecosystem services that underpin many of the identified industries and make coastal life as we know it possible.


  • Clearly the influence of the marine environment on the lives and livelihoods of residents of the RDMW is profound.
  • This is an important study as, for the first time, the wages & employment accruing to local residents alone from the marine environment are identified for a particular region in British Columbia.


1 This report is the sole work of its authors, GSGislason & Associates, and reflects their analysis alone. It does not represent the official views Environment Canada or the Federal, Provincial, and Territorial governments participating in the Value of Nature to Canadians Study.