17 Chambers of Commerce are on board with a new initiative to put pressure on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to ensure there is solid science behind any more recreational fishing restrictions.

The Ladysmith Chamber, Chemainus and District, Duncan-Cowichan, Ladysmith, Greater Nanaimo, and Parksville and District are among those.

Mark Drysdale, of the Ladysmith Chamber said fishing restrictions can harm coastal communities, destroy thousands of businesses and jobs, and impact tourism revenue across Vancouver Island.

He said while current proposals won’t affect Ladysmith directly, marine based tourism is the lifeblood of some Vancouver Island communities.

“Certainly the fisheries out of Sooke, out of Port Renfrew, out of Port Alberni and Tofino, broken Islands, that area, Ucluelet, there’s going to be dramatic effects for all of those folks.”

The DFO is considering extending recreational fishing restrictions from Sooke up past Ucluelet and 60 kilometers out to sea and the Chambers fear that will seriously impact marine-based tourism and the associated land-based economic activities that go along with that.