The blueprint for a vast network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) across the North and Central Coast and Haida Gwaii was unveiled at the Fifth International Marine Protected Areas Congress in Vancouver.
After more than a decade of work, 15 First Nations, including Central Coast Nations, along with federal and provincial governments, jointly announced the endorsement of the Marine Protected Area Network Action Plan (the Action Plan).
The Action Plan is a model of collaborative governance and provides a planned approach to establishing new MPAs in our coastal region — including a proposed design for the network, and recommendations for potential designation tools, conservation objectives and implementation timelines for the protection of future sites.
This plan is a truly collaborative partnership between First Nations, BC and Canada, and has been guided by Indigenous knowledge and robust science to inform the identification of sites and their ecological and cultural conservation objectives.
Partners are also working together to advance a sustainable conservation finance arrangement that will support long-term funding for ongoing network implementation, management and stewardship.
First Nations on the Central and North Coast and Haida Gwaii have been stewards of the lands and waters for more than 14,000 years, and are deeply committed to protecting the rich diversity of marine life as well as traditional practices and wellbeing, while supporting a healthy local economy for all. The MPAs will also support efforts to conserve 25 percent of Canada’s oceans by 2025 and 30 percent by 2030.
The Great Bear Sea MPA Network demonstrates how collaboration between First Nations, federal and provincial governments, citizens and stakeholders can achieve resilient and healthy ecosystems that are necessary to support sustainable industries, prosperous economies and healthy and communities.