Members of the Coastal Coalition of Nova Scotia say a government report is the first step toward a sustainable coastline in the province.

The report, titled The State of Nova Scotia’s Coast, said the province will suffer physically, ecologically and economically without the co-ordinated participation of those with a stake in the future of the coastline.

Released Wednesday by the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, the document gives an overview of the condition of Nova Scotia’s coastal areas and outlines a framework that it says will “focus efforts to tackle complex coastal issues.”

The Coalition said it is pleased the public is finally seeing a status report on the health of Nova Scotia’s coastline.

“A coastal policy for Nova Scotia is long overdue,” said Ishbel Munro of the Coastal Communities Network. “We’re playing catchup with other jurisdictions, like Maine and New Brunswick.”

The report said storms, which have always affected Nova Scotia’s coast, will become more economically devastating as sea levels rise and the effects of global warming are felt.

It also noted depletion in the province’s shellfish stocks. In 2003, the shellfish catch stood at 155,000 tonnes, but dropped to 127,969 tonnes in 2006.