Marine spatial planning

Existing, new and emerging marine industries and activities are competing for coastal and ocean space, producing varying levels of impacts that may infringe on other users and increase the potential for conflicts.

As concerns are raised about cumulative impacts and overlapping areas of incompatible uses, recognition is growing that the current sector-by-sector approach to marine resource management is not working. A more integrated and comprehensive approach is needed to effectively manage all activities and uses in a way that ensures ecosystem health and the well-being of coastal communities.

Marine spatial planning is the modern term for describing a place-based approach to management that mirrors our traditional management systems. First Nation family and clan relationships hold strong connections to place, and specific locations had primary purposes like seaweed picking or salmon fishing. This traditional way offers new solutions to achieving sustainable management of our marine environment by providing a means to implement ecosystem-based management and decision-making.

Goal of the Central Coast First Nations’ marine spatial plan

Central Coast First Nations selected 7 marine zone types to facilitate sustainable resource use in our territories.

  1. Marine Sanctuaries protect the most sensitive habitats from all extractive human impacts. They may allow for limited impact scientific research and non-extractive First Nations’ cultural uses.
  2. Marine Conservancies ensure that the natural integrity and values of an area are protected, while providing access to marine resources for First Nations FSC purposes and non-extractive tourism use.
  3. Habitat Management Areas provide protection for sensitive habitats, while allowing for commercial, recreational and First Nation uses that have limited negative impacts on habitat.
  4. Aquaculture Management Areas ensure that high opportunity areas for aquaculture are available as the industry expands in the Central Coast.
  5. Transportation Corridors provide for the safe and efficient movement of marine vessels, while protecting important species and sensitive habitats from the anthropogenic effects of shipping.
  6. Alternative Energy Areas ensure that high opportunity areas for wind, tidal and wave energy are available as the industry expands on the Central Coast.
  7. Integrated Management Areas provide space for all reasonable marine uses.

The Central Coast marine spatial plan was created using extensive knowledge from community and traditional knowledge studies, provincial and federal datasets, and First Nations’ community input. To review the spatial plan, the Central Coast First Nations are conducting a technical review and cost benefit analysis. Once this review is complete we will seek stakeholder support and understanding.

A marine environment where the ecological integrity of important habitats is restored or maintained, where access to and protection of cultural and FSC resources for the Central Coast First Nations is ensured, and where a sustainable economy, which benefits local people, is created.

A table showing allowable activities in each marine use zone
Proposed allowable activities by zone type
A map showing potential spatial planning inputs in Heiltsuk territory, Bella Bella Area, BC