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Friday, May 13, 2011

PNCIMA for Dummies (like me)

At my job interview for my current position at Living Oceans Society, I was asked if I was “familiar with PNCIMA.” As my eyes furiously glanced around the room in hopes that one of the posters on the walls might give me some tiny gleam of understanding, I realized that my window of opportunity to feign knowledge had abruptly ended. I replied in the negative. Thankfully, I was forgiven.

Now for all you accountants, bus drivers, lawyers or store clerks out there, you probably wouldn’t be asked this question in a job interview. But, on the off chance that you are, it’s probably a good idea to come up with an answer, just in case.

PNCIMA (pen-SEE-ma) – not the sound you make when you sneeze, not a skin disease, not a foreign language greeting. It’s actually a place. The Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area (least sexy location name ever created? Prove me wrong). For all you British Columbians out there, it makes up approximately half of our coastline.

Its home to every stereotypical animal you’ve ever seen in British Columbia tourism advertisements. Its home to people that wave at you whenever you walk or drive past them.
I SWEAR this is a bear not a black rock
I was born and raised in British Columbia, but in a place with a lot more Starbucks locations, and a lot less bears. I saw two my first visit to PNCIMA (pictured left), and squealed both times. During this bear-filled visit, I also found out that it’s a place where Roger’s has very little cell phone reception. It’s a place where residents have salmon in their freezer, not because they bought lots on sale at Safeway, but because they caught and cleaned them with their own two hands.

It’s a place, I have come to learn, that is worth protecting.

So I lied. PNCIMA isn’t just a place, it’s also a process. Except we can’t say process, it sounds boring. Let’s say that PNCIMA is like a keg party, but instead of beer, there are people’s interests and ideas free-flowing. I tried. The PNCIMA process was designed to allow those who live, work and play on the North coast of B.C. have a say in what happens to their home. It gives a voice to fishermen, tourism operators, first nations groups, and any concerned citizen who wants to have their voice heard.

North Coasters are fiercely proud of their home. Many of them rely on it not only as a part of their identity and culture, but as the source of their livelihoods. This process (PNCIMA) will help this place (…also PNCIMA) remain a source of jobs, food, and incredible biodiversity that it is today. This is why PNCIMA matters, even to a “latte-sucking urbanite” like me.

So, in order to nail that wild card question at your next job interview, visit our website and learn more about this amazing place.

Kimberly Irwin is the SeaChoice Communications Intern with Living Oceans Society

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