The Government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia and 17 First Nations are working together to develop a marine protected area network in the Northern Shelf Bioregion (NSB), which extends from the top of Vancouver Island (Quadra Island / Bute Inlet) and reaches north to the Canada – Alaska border.
The NSB is unique due to its diverse ocean ecosystems, which provide important habitat for a range of species. The NSB is characterized by adjacent rugged coastal mountains and steep valleys reflecting glacial scouring processes, abundant offshore islands, rocky shorelines with few sand and gravel beaches, and extensive, deep fjords.
The NSB also contributes an abundance of marine resources to coastal economies and communities. A wide variety of year-round and seasonal activities occur in the marine offshore and coastal near-shore areas. In the near-shore, activities include traditional fishing and food gathering, aquaculture, ecotourism, as well as infrastructure associated with marine transportation, communications, and community uses.
Protection of the marine environment is of paramount importance for coastal residents. For centuries, the diversity of life supported by coastal and marine environments has allowed complex and culturally rich societies to develop. In particular, First Nations communities have a distinct cultural and spiritual heritage and present-day practices that are intricately linked to the marine environment. This reflects their long-standing governance systems that include stewardship of marine resources for sustainable use.
The NSB Marine Protected Area Network planning process aims to build a network of marine protected areas (MPA) that will help to ensure that future generations will inherit the beauty and productivity of our Pacific Ocean.
The success of conserving and protecting special marine areas is a shared responsibility. We look forward to hearing from all coastal residents that have an interest in the NSB and its future, to complete a network of MPAs for the Pacific Coast of Canada.
Coastal First Nations-Great Bear Initiative is providing a co-ordination, leadership and governance role to the NSB-MPA Network planning process (as directed by Gitga’at, Kitasoo/Xai’Xais, Heiltsuk, Nuxalk, Metlakatla, and Wuikinuxv First Nations, and Council of the Haida Nation)
Central Coast Indigenous Resources Alliance (as directed by Kitasoo/Xai’Xais, Heiltsuk, Nuxalk and Wuikinuxv First Nations)
North Coast-Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society (as directed by Gitga’at, Gitxaala, Haisla, Kitsumkalum, Kitselas, and Metlakatla First Nations)
Council of the Haida Nation (including Old Massett Village Council and Skidegate Band Council)
Nanwakolas Council (as directed by Mamalilikulla, Tlowitsis, Da’nakda’xw-Awaetlatla, Wei Wai Kum, Kwiakah and K’ómoks First Nations)
Representatives from all three levels of government are working together through the Marine Protected Area Technical Team (MPATT) to collaboratively advance technical work on the development of a network of marine protected areas for the NSB.
In addition to the governing partners, this process also relies on engagement with those who work, live, or have an interest in the Northern Shelf Bioregion and its future.
First Nations marine knowledge
Marine transportation and shipping
Recreational fishing service providers
Commercial and non-commercial recreation and tourism