According to a survey of Clayoquot Sound-Pacific Rim communities, the most important resource within the entire region—fisheries—is believed to be the most poorly managed.

Clayoquot Community Survey

Ecotrust Canada commissioned McAllister Opinion Research to conduct a survey of Clayoquot Sound-Pacific Rim residents in late 2008/early 2009. The main purpose of the research is to gain a richer understanding of local communities to better inform our efforts and outreach in the region. The random sample survey of 303  residents has a margin of error of ±5.1%, 19 times out of 20.



The survey, conducted by McAllister Opinion Research and commissioned by Ecotrust Canada, mapped local residents’ attitudes about the importance of various resources and economic sectors, and how well they are managed.

A chart in the Clayoquot Community Survey plots the importance of various aspects of the economy along the vertical axis and how well each is managed along the horizontal axis. Fisheries fall in the top right-hand corner of the chart, meaning they are viewed by residents as the most important, but also most poorly managed resource on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. The survey also maps residents’ attitudes toward forestry, transportation, energy, conventional and eco-tourism, population and development, and Aboriginal relations.

Eco-tourism is seen as very important and as one of the best managed economic sectors.  Interestingly, conventional tourism is also seen as well managed but is not viewed as important as eco-tourism.

Energy development, transportation and Aboriginal relations all fall somewhere in the middle along the importance spectrum, with energy development viewed as the least well managed of these three items.  Population, development and forestry are regarded as less important to the future of the region than other resources and are also rated as among the worst managed.

The random sample survey of 303 residents has a margin of error of 5.1 percent, 19 times out of 20. Interviews were conducted with residents in Tofino, Ucluelet, Ahousat, Itatsoo, Hot Springs Cove, Esowista and Opitsat. The survey was conducted between December 2008 and March 2009.

Ecotrust Canada is releasing results of the survey, which focuses on the region’s sustainability and liveability, in a ten-part series of articles and blog postings over the next several weeks. Ecotrust Canada’s purpose is to build the conservation economy in BC’s coastal bioregion. The organization has offices in Tofino and Vancouver, and has been working in Clayoquot Sound for more than a decade.

According to the survey, people living in either Tofino or Ucluelet have the most positive view toward sustainable approaches to resource management compared to those who live in a First Nations community.

In Ucluelet, 72 percent have a positive view of sustainably-harvested seafood as an economic approach, followed by developing a conservation economy (70 percent), community-based resource management (64 percent) and ecosystem-based forestry management (62 percent).

In Tofino, 56 percent have a positive view of sustainably-harvested seafood as an economic approach, followed by developing a conservation economy (53 percent), ecosystem-based forestry management (50 percent) and community-based resource management (50 percent).

When asked about marine eco-certification labels, residents demonstrated a fairly low level of awareness. Only 26 percent of Tofino residents know of both SeaChoice and Ocean Wise. Twenty-four percent are familiar with the Marine Stewardship Council.  A similar pattern can be seen in Ucluelet where 15 percent have heard of the Marine Stewardship Council and SeaChoice, and eight percent have heard of Ocean Wise.

First Nations in both Ahousat and outside of Ahousat are by far the least likely to have heard of eco-certification labels for fisheries.  In every case, at least three in four First Nations have not heard of any of the eco-certification brands.

According to the survey, 52 percent of Clayoquot-Pacific Rim residents claim that they would pay 10 percent more for locally-harvested seafood to support the local economy, while 19 percent disagree. Tofino (64 percent) and Ucluelet (62 percent) residents are the most willing to make this adjustment.

Ecotrust Canada commissioned the Clayoquot Community Survey to gain a richer understanding of the concerns and issues of local communities regarding the region’s sustainable development. Next week, Ecotrust Canada will be releasing results about how local residents rate the importance and sustainability of forestry resources in Clayoquot Sound.