The Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area (PNCIMA) is one of five national large ocean management areas identified in Canada’s 2005 Oceans Action Plan. The PNCIMA plan is the product of a collaborative process led through an oceans governance agreement between federal, provincial and First Nations governments, and is contributed to by a diverse group of organizations, stakeholders and interested parties. The plan is high level and strategic, and provides direction on, and commitment to, integrated, ecosystem-based and adaptive management of marine activities and resources in the planning area.

The plan outlines a framework for ecosystem-based management (EBM) for PNCIMA. This EBM framework has been developed to be broadly applicable to managers, decision-makers, regulators, community members and resource users alike, as federal, provincial and First Nations governments, along with stakeholders, move together towards a more holistic and integrated approach to ocean management in the planning area.

PNCIMA’s EBM goals are interconnected and cannot be taken as separate from one another. The purpose of the PNCIMA EBM framework is to achieve:

  • Integrity of the marine ecosystems in PNCIMA, primarily with respect to their structure, function and resilience
  • Human well-being supported through societal, economic, spiritual and cultural connections to marine ecosystems in PNCIMA
  • Collaborative, effective, transparent and integrated governance management and public engagement
  • Improved understanding of complex marine ecosystems and changing marine environments

The plan also provides an information base and a number of management tools that can be used by others to apply EBM at a variety of scales in PNCIMA. The footprint of the PNCIMA plan is the same as that of the Northern Shelf.

The PNCIMA plan was endorsed in February 2017 by all parties.


The Marine Plan Partnership initiative (MaPP) is a partnership between the Province of British Columbia and many First Nations that developed marine use plans for B.C.’s North Pacific Coast. The MaPP region is divided into four sub-regions: Haida Gwaii, North Coast, Central Coast and North Vancouver Island.

The initiative used the best available science and local and First Nations knowledge to develop four sub-regional plans, which were completed in April 2015. A regional action framework, completed in 2016, identifies actions that benefit from regional co-ordination such as climate change, cumulative effects, ecosystem-based monitoring and marine protection.

The MaPP plans provide recommendations for key areas of marine management, including uses, activities and protection. The plans inform decisions regarding the sustainable economic development and stewardship of British Columbia’s coastal marine environment. The plan area was zoned into one of three categories: General Management Zone, Special Management Zone and Protection Management Zone. Each zone is accompanied by recommendations for uses and activities under provincial and/or First Nations management authority.

Haida Gwaii

Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida Heritage Site

The Gwaii Haanas area, both land and sea, was first protected in 1985 by the Haida Nation as a Haida Heritage Site. The Archipelago Management Board (AMB) was established in 1993 through the Gwaii Haanas Agreement, which describes how the terrestrial area of Gwaii Haanas is managed co-operatively by the Haida Nation and the Government of Canada. Most recently, in 2010, the Gwaii Haanas Marine Agreement was signed. This agreement expanded the AMB’s role to include management of the Gwaii Haanas marine area. Through the AMB, the Haida Nation and the Government of Canada (represented by Parks Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada) recently announced the completion of the Gwaii Haanas Gina ‘Waadluxan KilGulhGa Land-Sea-People Management Plan (2018).

Council of the Haida Nation-British Columbia Protected Areas

The 2007 Haida Gwaii Strategic Land Use Agreement identified new protected areas for ecological and cultural conservation, spiritual and recreational purposes. These areas were jointly designated under Haida law as “Heritage Sites” and under provincial legislation as “Conservancies” and are jointly referred to as “CHN-BC protected areas.” Marine boundaries for each protected area were established and management plans approved prior to the MaPP planning process. During development of the MaPP Haida Gwaii Marine Plan zoning direction in the CHN-BC protected areas management plans were considered along with updated and more detailed data. Zoning in the marine plan is generally consistent with direction in the management plans for the marine portions of the CHN-BC protected areas. These protected area management plans are being updated to reflect any changes to zoning, allowable uses, and enhancements to marine protection made within the boundaries of the CHN-BC protected areas in the marine plan.

Shipping and Marine Response Initiatives

Discussions between the Council of Haida Nation and other governments regarding existing shipping and vessel traffic in Haida Gwaii waters are currently taking place through a number of different processes with different levels of First Nations, federal and provincial engagement. These initiatives include development of a Haida Gwaii Geographic Response Plan and associated area-specific strategies, development of a Marine Awareness Office designed to enhance maritime awareness, including access to real-time vessel traffic information, as part of Transport Canada’s Enhanced Maritime Awareness Information System (MAIS) and development of a safe distance offshore for marine traffic to avoid risk of groundings.

First Nations Marine Planning

Central Coast

The Heiltsuk, Kitasoo/Xai’Xais, Nuxalk and Wuikinuxv Nations have each developed territory-scale marine use plans that address their Nations’ values and community-level planning priorities.

These territory-specific marine use plans are developed at a finer scale and include issues such as jurisdiction, resource management, economic development and capacity.

The territory specific marine use plans were used to develop the regional Central Coast First Nations Marine Use Plan (completed in December 2010). The Central Coast First Nations Marine Use Plan is a harmonized reflection of the goals, objectives and strategies of the Heiltsuk, Kitasoo/Xai’Xais, Nuxalk and Wuikinuxv Nations.

The Central Coast First Nations Marine Use Plan contributed to the development of the MaPP Central Coast Marine Plan.

North Coast

Some North Coast Nations began community-based marine planning in 2006. The Gitga’at, Gitxaala, Haisla, Kitselas, Kitsumkalum and Metlakatla First Nations have each completed and approved community-level strategic marine use plans. These plans provide strategic direction regarding the management, use and protection of each Nation’s traditional territories.

In order to co-ordinate and integrate community-level planning priorities identified in the First Nations’ strategic marine use plans, the Gitga’at, Gitxaala, Haisla, Kitselas, Kitsumkalum and Metlakatla First Nations have collaborated on sub-regional (North Coast) level planning.

First Nations’ community marine use plans have informed the development of the MaPP North Coast Marine Plan.

In partnership with the Province, Nations on the North Coast are currently engaged in collaborative monitoring and assessment of cumulative effects with the intention of managing these effects on core coastal and marine values. Increasing development in the marine and coastal environment creates direct and indirect pressures that increasingly interact with the marine features that MPAs are designed to protect. As pressures increase, understanding cumulative effects will help to inform and determine the effectiveness of MPA designations by providing guidance on specific areas that may be susceptible to cumulative effects. Ongoing cumulative effects assessments will also help inform decisions on MPA planning such as providing insights into both effects and mitigative actions that can support an MPA in fulfilling its conservation targets.

North Vancouver Island

The Nanwakolas member First Nations completed draft marine plans that contain important background information, protocols and key policies and strategies for marine resource management and marine uses, including spatial zoning designations.

These plans were aggregated into a sub-regional Ha-ma-yas Marine Plan, which was endorsed by the Nanwakolas Chief’s Board in October 2012 as the basis for joint technical planning with the provincial government.

The Ha-ma-yas Marine Plan summarizes important background information and identifies common policy, protocol, strategies and management direction in the individual First Nations marine plans.

MPA Network of the Northern Shelf Bioregion is a collaborative partnership between the Government of Canada, the Province of BC and many First Nations

MPA Network Government of Canada Province of BC Haida-Nation Coastal First Nations Central Coast Indigenous Resource Alliance Nanwakolas Counsil North Coast-Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society

Signatory First Nations

Gitxaala Nation, Metlakatla First Nation, Gitga’at First Nation, Kitasoo/Xaixais First Nation, Heiltsuk Nation, Nuxalk First Nation, Wuikinuxv First Nation, Mamalilikulla Nation, Tlowitsis Nation, Da'naxda'xw Awetlala First Nation, Wei Wai Kum First Nation, and K'ómoks First Nation