Today, 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.
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.
Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations –
“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.”
John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation –
“The implementation of these plans signals an important step forward in our efforts to improve relationships with First Nations on governance and management issues.”
kil tlaats ‘gaa, Peter Lantin, President of the Haida Nation –
“The Haida Gwaii Marine Plan is an important addition to the work the Haida Nation has completed on the land, working collaboratively with the Province for the well-being of Haida Gwaii. We look forward to working on the implementation of shared priorities that will sustain healthy oceans and an abundance of marine life for generations to come.”
Don Roberts, Chief Kitsumkalum Nation, chair of the North Coast-Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society –
“Implementation of the recommendations in the MaPP North Coast Marine Plan is a priority to the member and partner Nations of the North Coast-Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society. Signing this agreement means we will have a stronger working relationship with the Province of B.C. This will result in the protection of our resources and a healthy marine ecosystem.”
Doug Neasloss, governance representative, Central Coast Indigenous Resource Alliance –
“The Heiltsuk, Kitasoo/Xai’Xais, Nuxalk and Wuikinuxv Nations take responsibility for all the resources in our territories. While there is still much work to do to ensure our indigenous laws are reflected in all marine management decisions, working with the Province to implement the Central Coast Marine Plan represents an important step in our continued effort to ensure responsible stewardship and management in these areas.”
Dallas Smith, President, Nanwakolas Council –
“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.”
Kelly Russ, chair, Coastal First Nations – Great Bear Initiative –
“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 at: 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
A backgrounder follows.