One of the biggest reasons that people flock to Malcolm Island is the chance to get a taste of British Columbia’s incredible wilderness. The region is one of the largest areas of untouched wilderness on the continent. In fact, the Great Bear Rainforest of British Columbia is one of the largest temperate rainforests left in the world.

But the fact that the region still enjoys so much of its natural beauty isn’t an accident. Many different organizations are continuously working to protect it from development, as well as damage from outside influences. One organization that not only works to protect Malcolm Island but is also headquartered on the island is the Living Oceans Society. Keep reading to learn more about this unique organization and the work that it’s doing to preserve coastal British Columbia.

The Living Oceans Society

Living Oceans Society is a leader in the efforts to protect Canada’s waters. The organization was first formed in 1998 in the town of Sointula. It continues to operate there today, with a satellite office in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The Living Oceans Society focused on six primary initiatives; ocean acidification, sustainable seafood, tanks, ocean planning, ocean ecosystems, and salmon farming.

Ocean Acidification

Ocean acidification is an often-overlooked danger facing our world’s oceans and the delicate ecosystems that they contain.

The term ocean acidification refers to the lowering of the pH levels of the ocean over time. This is caused by the ocean absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The rate of carbon dioxide being absorbed has been steadily increasing for more than 200 years. This is largely a result of burning fossil fuels and cutting down forests with trees that could help to absorb CO2. 

Our world’s oceans absorb around 30 percent of all carbon dioxide produced. When CO2 is absorbed by seawater, it sets off a series of chain reactions. The number of hydrogen ions in the water is increased. This in turn makes the water more acidic and decreases the carbonate ions. These ions are an essential building block that helps coral skeletons and sea shells grow and thrive. When carbonate ions are decreased, it can be difficult for organisms like clams, sea urchins, corals, and oysters to calcify or form their hard shell structures. 

But it isn’t just shellfish and corals that are impacted. When seawater becomes more acidic, certain fish struggle to detect predators. This can disrupt the entire food chain. 

Ocean Planning and Ecosystems

Another initiative that the Living Oceans Society focused on is ocean planning. This includes establishing EBM, or ecosystem-based management, in Canada’s Northern Pacific waters. The Society works with a variety of other organizations to improve the overall health of Canada’s oceans. Part of this includes researching and analyzing the socio-economics and management practices in places in coastal communities like Sointula.

The other part of this initiative is to protect ocean ecosystems. The Living Oceans Society participates in efforts to improve the science and research of protecting reefs and corals. They help to study the cold water corals of coastal British Columbia. They work to monitor their health and make a plan to protect them in the future.

Sustainable Seafood and Salmon Farming

In addition to helping keep our oceans clean and healthy, the Living Oceans Society also works to promote sustainable fishing, farming, and seafood purchasing. 

Living Oceans Society is a member of SeaChoice. This program helps businesses and customers alike to make smart seafood purchases. They also work with the Coastal Alliance for Aquiculture Reform, or CAAR, to promote sustainable salmon farming in British Columbia.


The final initiative of the Living Oceans Society is tankers. Under this initiative, the Society participates in efforts to prevent oil tankers from using the North and Central coast of British Columbia as a part of their routes. Using these routes increases the risk of a spill. A single spill could be devastating to the ecosystems of British Columbia. A single spill can ruin coral reefs, kill a variety of marine life, and have an impact on mammals and birds on the shorelines. 

Doing Your Part to Protect British Columbia’s Waters

As a visitor to Malcolm Island, you can do your part to help conserve and protect the area’s waters by making smart decisions during your stay. When you book your Sointula accommodation, if you’re planning to do any fishing, opt to work with a local charter that prioritizes safe and sustainable practices. This includes following all British Columbia tidal water limits, which control the number of fish each individual can catch and keep to protect the species. 

Sointula Lodge, the island’s luxury fishing resort, for instance, is committed to ensuring that future generations get to fish in and enjoy the beautiful waters that surround Malcolm Island.

Many of the other fishing charters located on Malcolm Island practice similar initiatives. Check out some of the other local fishing charter companies, as well as other Sointula accommodation options, to start planning your own fishing adventure on Malcolm Island.