Government of Canada to better manage West Coast marine traffic congestion through the Oceans Protection Plan

News Release

February 16, 2018    Vancouver, BC

Canada has the world’s longest coastline, and our water is one of our most important resources. Canadians across the country rely on marine transportation to go about their everyday life or to deliver products to market in a safe and responsible way. That is why the Government of Canada is implementing an Interim Protocol for the use of Southern British Columbia Anchorages.

An anchorage is an area identified as suitable for a ship to anchor. The Government of Canada understands the current process for identifying and overseeing anchorages on the south coast of British Columbia is not optimal. Working with the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and others, the Interim Protocol will address immediate concerns regarding excessive use of anchorages near coastal communities.

The protocol includes temporary measures such as ensuring the equitable distribution of anchorages among the Southern Gulf Islands; implementing noise and lighting restrictions for anchored vessels; monitoring, and a monthly review of the South Coast anchorages, including overflights of the area by the National Aerial Surveillance Program.

The protocol was implemented on February 8, 2018, for an initial trial period of six months. Longer term anchorages solutions will be addressed through engagement, consultation and feedback from Indigenous peoples, coastal communities and the marine industry. The Interim Protocol will provide important lessons learned that will inform the development of the Government of Canada’s national Anchorages strategy, under the Oceans Protection Plan.

The $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan is the largest investment ever made to protect Canada’s coasts and waterways. Through this plan, the Government of Canada is creating a world-leading marine safety system that provides economic opportunities for Canadians today, while protecting our coasts and waterways for generations to come. This work is being done in close collaboration with Indigenous peoples, local stakeholders and coastal communities.


“Our West Coast ports are busy and anchorages are essential to efficient shipping and navigation in these waters. Our government has heard local public concerns about noise, marine congestion, and the environmental impact of anchorages. We are taking action. Through this Interim Protocol and the Oceans Protection Plan, we are working with Indigenous peoples, coastal communities, stakeholders, and the marine industry to improve how anchorages are selected on the south coast of British Columbia, and across Canada.”

The Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport

“The use of anchorages has a daily impact on Indigenous and coastal communities on the south coast of BC. I am pleased that the government is implementing guidelines and collecting data in the south coast of BC to start addressing these concerns, which include the impact of noise and light. Our experience with this Interim Protocol and the data we collect will help us to shape a new national anchorages framework under the Oceans Protection Plan. I appreciate the leadership and collaboration of the residents of the Gulf Islands.”

Pam Goldsmith-Jones
MP, West Vancouver - Sunshine Coast - Sea to Sky Country

Quick Facts

  • The Interim Protocol introduces a number of changes to present anchorage practices, such as ensuring anchorages are used with equal frequency and duration, and introducing noise and lighting restrictions to anchored vessels.

  • Collaboration is the cornerstone of initiatives launched under the Oceans Protection Plan. Transport Canada, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, the Chamber of Shipping, the Shipping Federation of Canada, the Pacific Pilotage Authority, and the Nanaimo Port Authority together created these interim guidelines, and the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority has agreed to assign the anchorages to ensure equitable distribution as specified by the Interim Protocol during the six-month trial period.

Associated Links


Delphine Denis
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport, Ottawa

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

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