The province and 17 coastal First Nations signed implementation agreements for four Marine Planning Partnership (MaPP) marine plans, collaboratively developed for the North Pacific Coast.
“I’m pleased that we are able to formally begin implementation of these important marine plans. These plans chart a long-term vision for our northern maritime areas and provide a useful set of recommendations to help facilitate the review, assessment and referral processes for marine use applications,” said Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations in a government press release.
Completed in 2015, the plans foster a balance between stewardship and economic development using an ecosystem-based management approach that includes recommendations for marine management, uses and activities.
Plans have been completed for four sub-regions: the Central Coast, Haida Gwaii, North Coast, and North Vancouver Island.
In addition to the sub-regional marine plans, the Regional Action Framework, released this spring, outlines actions related to marine management that the Province and First Nations agree will be most effectively implemented on a regional scale. These actions are consistent with and support implementation of the sub-regional marine plans.
Taken together, these plans will inform First Nation and provincial decision-making in the respective sub-regional coastal and marine areas. The marine plans do not address management of uses and activities that the province considers to be federal government jurisdiction. First Nations and the Province commit to working with the federal government on those issues.
In signing the implementation agreements, the partners agree to co-lead implementation of the marine plans, including ongoing engagement with communities, local governments, and stakeholders. The agreements describe how the province and First Nations will work together and how implementation activities will be prioritized and managed.
Example priorities include continuing collaborative governance arrangements; implementation of marine zoning; fostering marine stewardship, monitoring and compliance; and facilitating sustainable economic development opportunities to support healthy communities.
Implementation of the four marine plans will complement related plans and planning activities, such as the Pacific North Coast Integrated Marine Area Initiative, and the development of a Marine Protected Area Network for the Northern Shelf Bioregion, in addition to other MaPP partner initiatives within the sub-regions.
According to Dallas Smith, President, Nanwakolas Council which includes the Mamalilikulla Nation, Tlowitsis Nation, Da’naxda’xw Awaetlatla First Nation, We Wai Kum First Nation, Kwiakah First Nation, and the K’ómoks First Nation, “The Nanwakolas Council is pleased to confirm an official implementation agreement with the Province that commits to our continued co-leadership in implementing the North Vancouver Island Marine Plan in our member First Nation territories. We jointly developed this marine plan with B.C. and signed it last year, on the condition of a formal implementation agreement. We now look forward to accelerating projects that will increase our governance and influence over marine uses and activities in our territories, as well as projects to achieve our goals for improved community economic health and ecosystem health.” said
Kelly Russ, chair, Coastal First Nations – Great Bear Initiative said, “The implementation of marine plans ensures strategic, forward-looking planning for regulating, managing and protecting the marine environment. These plans include addressing the multiple, cumulative, and potentially conflicting uses of the ocean. The Coastal First Nations believe the marine plans are an important tool to balance existing and new ocean uses with protection, conservation and restoration of ecologically important ocean and coastal habitats.”
Full copies of the four plans and plan overviews are available at: http://www.mappocean.org and at: https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/tasb/SLRP (scroll to Marine Planning Partnership for the North Pacific Coast)
The Central Coast Marine Plan and overview is also available: http://ccira.ca
The Haida Gwaii Marine Plan and overview is also available at: http://www.haidanation.ca
The North Coast Marine Plan and overview is also available at: http://www.northcoastskeenafirstnations.ca
The North Vancouver Island Marine Plan and overview is also available at: http://www.nanwakolas.com
Local marine planning partnership regions
North Vancouver Island Sub-Region
The North Vancouver Island plan area is home to the Kwakw’ka’wakw First Nations and lies between northern Vancouver Island and B.C.’s mainland.
There are many islands, inlets and fjords within the area, which is characterized by its natural beauty and biodiversity of species and ecosystems. Major water bodies include Queen Charlotte Sound, Queen Charlotte Strait, Johnstone Strait, Smith Inlet, Seymour Inlet, Knight
Inlet and Bute Inlet. The plan area includes the communities of Port Hardy, Port McNeill, Alert Bay, Sayward and Campbell River. Members of the Nanwakolas Council and partners in the MaPP initiative are: Mamalilikulla-Qwe’Qwa’Sot’Em, Tlowitsis, Da’nakda’xw-Awaetlatla, Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw, Wei Wai Kum, Kwiakah and the K’ómoks First Nations.
Central Coast Sub-Region:
The Central Coast plan area extends from Laredo Channel and the northern tip of Aristazabal Island in the north to the southern limit of Rivers Inlet and Calvert Island.
Moving from the west, the area includes the shelf waters of Queen Charlotte Sound, hundreds of islands, and exposed rocky headlands which meet an intricate shoreline in the eastern portion of the plan area. The shoreline is cut by narrow channels and steep-walled fjords that contain ecologically complex estuaries, calm inlets and pocket coves.
Its main communities include Bella Coola, Bella Bella, Ocean Falls, Wuikinuxv, Shearwater and Klemtu. First Nations partners participating in the Central Coast Marine Plan include the Heiltsuk, Kitasoo/Xai’Xais, Nuxalk and Wuikinuxv Nations.