Central Coast First Nations have stood witness to the mismanagement of our marine resources. We observe the results in decreasing populations of important species such as salmon and herring, the disappearance of eulachon, and a lack of fish for food, social and ceremonial purposes. While our resources are depleted resource extraction practices in our territories continue unimpeded. Our people have watched this resource extraction take place with little economic benefit to our Nations.
The Heiltsuk, Kitasoo/Xai’Xais, Nuxalk and Wuikinuxv Nations assert our rights and title to our respective territories and recognize the obligation bestowed upon us by our ancestors to manage our marine resources based on our traditional laws, knowledge and values. These values respect our balance with nature, recognize the connection between the land and sea, and understand the importance of educating our children and leaving resources for our children’s children.
Using our traditional laws and knowledge, and through a co-jurisdictional relationship with other levels of government, we will create a healthy marine environment, a strengthening of our cultural, spiritual, linguistic, political and social freedoms, and a sustainable economy that employs our people.
Ensure conservation of natural and cultural resources
Conservation of natural and cultural resources is the highest priority of the Central Coast Marine Use Plan. Natural and cultural resources must be sustained to maintain and safeguard our direct connection to our territories and their resources.
Ensure Central Coast First Nations’ priority access to resources for cultural and sustenance use
Maintaining Central Coast First Nations’ access to all areas of our territories is essential for cultural and sustenance purposes. The rights and opportunities of Central Coast First Nations to hunt, fish, harvest, trap and otherwise use the land and sea resources for cultural, spiritual, sustenance, economic and trade uses must be assured and take precedence over all other uses, except conservation.
Enable appropriate Central Coast First Nations’ commercial use of resources
For too long our communities have sat on the side-lines while others have realized economic well-being off of the resources in our territories. Central Coast First Nations’ economic development and diversification is required to create both employment and entrepreneurial opportunities.
Enable appropriate non-First Nations commercial and recreational use of resources
For non-First Nations use of land, water and other resources to be supported by the Central Coast First Nations, respect must be demonstrated for each Nation’s title and rights, culture, and the natural resources that continue to sustain that culture. Priority will be given to local non-First Nations economic development. Non-First Nations commercial interests in our territories must also commit to providing viable and sustainable economic opportunities for our people.